No. 2 Washington Edges No. 20 USC at Galen Center|
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Sophomore outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu logged 11 kills (5e, 36att, .167) to go with eight digs. Bricio contributed nine digs, but was held without a service ace for the second straight match. Junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms added seven kills (2e, 12att) and hit .417 with two blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Elise Ruddins also had seven kills (2e, 25att, .200) and posted 11 digs and a block. Sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham averaged eight digs per set and finished with 24.
The Trojans hit .234 in the match with 45 kills (15e, 128att) and got 21 assists from sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola. Senior setter/hitter Emily Young had 16 assists to go with four digs, and four kills (2e, 8att, .250).
Washington finished with a .280 hitting percentage (53k, 16e, 132att) and was led by Krista Vansant's 17 kills (4e, 40att, .325) and 10 digs. Cassie Strickland had 25 digs while freshman Tia Scambray had nine kills (3e, 27att, .222) with five digs. Setters Bailey Tanner and Katy Beals each had 23 assists. Beals added eight digs. Lianna Sybeldon had eight kills (3e, 21att, .238) and Kaleigh Nelson added eight kills (2e, 21att, .286).
In as tight as match as they come, the Trojans and the Huskies went through a first set that saw 12 ties and three lead changes before UW came up with a 26-24 win. The Huskies had set point at 24-23, but the Trojans knotted the score one last time before back-to-back hitting errors did USC in. Washington never led by more than two while the Women of Troy once held a six-point lead and started the match with 11 kills without an error on 21 swings. The Huskies never stopped fighting and went on a 6-1 run to tie the score at 15-all in the first set. The Trojans kept on inching ahead and took a two-point lead at 21-19 when Vansant's shot went wide, but the Huskies got two in a row to lead 23-22, and ultimately finished off the victory. USC hit .239 in the first frame with 16 kills (5e, 46att) but Washington had 19 kills (6e, 48att) to hit .271.
It appeared the Huskies had turned the tables on USC in the second set as Washington rolled out to a seven-point lead, 11-4, on back-to-back kills by Vansant. The Trojans never wavered but couldn't crack the Husky offense as Vansant scored two straight to put up a 17-10 lead for Washington. Still, USC stayed its course and cut the lead to four at 18-14 and then scored three straight on kills by Ogoms and Young to force the Huskies to burn their second timeout with a slim one-point lead at 19-18. Washington's error knotted the score at 19-all but the Huskies stayed ahead until Pizzasegola aced Strickland for a 21-all tie. Bricio then went back-to-back for put a 23-21 lead on the Trojans' side of the scoreboard. It wasn't enough though. Despite holding set point at 24-23 on a kill by Nwanebu, Vansant came through once more with back-to-back points for a 25-24 UW lead. Jones put the final ball down to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead in the match. USC hit .186 in the second set with 14 kills (6e, 43att) but Washington stayed above 300 at .310 (18k, 5e) on 42 swings.
The third was the most hotly contested of the three sets. The Trojans started strong and went up by three, twice, including at 5-2 when Bricio went down the pipe for a kill off a Pizzasegola set. The Huskies tied the score at six on an ace by Melanie Wade, but USC scored three straight to lead, 9-8. The teams tussled and went though 10 ties before Bricio created some separation with two straight kills for an 18-16 USC lead. Out of a timeout, Washington tied the score for an 11th time at 18s before Nwanebu went high-hands for a kill and Bricio tattooed Tanner with a shot down the line for a kill and a 20-18 lead. This time, Scambray pulled the Huskies out of their funk and scored two straight points for the 12th tie at 20-all. USC went ahead twice, but an attack error tied the score one last time at 23-all. Nelson's kill gave Washington match point at 24-23 before Vansant's let serve trickled off the net and scored an ace for the Huskies. USC had its best hitting set in the third with 15 kills (4e, 39att) and a .282 rate. Washington hit .262 in the third with 16 kills (5e, 42att).
The Trojans have a day between before they face Washington State (10-12, 1-9 Pac-12) on Friday (Oct. 31) at 6 p.m. PT. The match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks and features the Monster Match promotion, which includes a pre-match Halloween Fan Fest with free face painting, a photo booth, and more. Post-match, fans can trick-or-treat with the Women of Troy. Fans can purchase tickets at GetTrojanTix.com or by calling 213-740-GOSC. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.