No. 8 USC Takes Wrecking Ball to Wildcats for 3-0 Sweep

    Freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu had 16 kills and a .432 hitting percentage in USC's 3-0 win over Arizona.

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    Nov. 22, 2013

    Final Stats |  Notes | Box Score (PDF) Get Acrobat Reader

    LOS ANGELES - Behind a match-high 16 kills from freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu, the eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (23-5, 13-4 Pac-12) took out Arizona (19-10, 9-8) in three sets (25-22, 25-14, 25-21) on Friday, Nov. 22, at Galen Center. Nwanebu went error free to post a .432 hitting percentage and had six blocks (one solo) for 19.5 points against the Wildcats.

    Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio added 10 kills (3e, 37att, .189) with three service aces, and a solo block for 14.0 points to go with six digs. It was the 11th time this season that Bricio has recorded three aces or more in a single match. In doing so, she moved into fifth at USC in career aces (111) and now has 68 in one season which is the fourth most in Pac-12 history.

    Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw was also error free with five kills (0e) on 14 swings for a .357 hitting percentage. Shaw collected a service ace, a solo block, and also dug up 14 balls. Senior libero Natalie Hagglund led the team with 19 digs.

    The Trojans hit .314 in the match with 53 kills (10e) on 137 swings as setters Hayley Crone (27 assists, eight digs) and Alice Pizzasegola (16 assists, eight digs) kept the offense moving. Senior middle Alexis Olgard (7k, 2e, 17att, .294) junior middle Hannah Schraer (7k, 1e, 10att, .600), and freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins (7k, 4e, 21att, .143) each had seven kills apiece. Schraer also had four blocks and Olgard had three.

    For the Wildcats, Madi Kingdon led the way with 13 kills (3e, 40att, .250) and posted a double-double with 20 digs. Penina Snuka contributed from all parts of the court as she dished out 31 assists and put up 14 digs for a double-double to go with three kills and two service aces. Candace Nicholson had 17 digs.

    Arizona opened up the match with three straight kills, but Bricio cut a shot off the Wildcat block to help the Trojans climb within two points at 6-4. Bricio then went back and served a pair of aces to power USC to a 4-0 run and a 7-6 lead. Back-to-back kills by Schraer put the Trojans up by three, 12-9, but the Cats had one more push in them and tied the score for the third time at 12-all. USC broke the tie and claimed the last lead it would need when Bricio's crosscourt kill ended the set's longest rally to give the Trojans a 14-12 advantage before Nwanebu bounced a ball off the floor for a 16-13 USC lead. The Wildcats clawed back to get within a point at 17-16, but Bricio took a pipe set from Pizzasegola to push the Trojans in front, 19-16. Arizona wouldn't go quietly and mounted one more comeback on a pair of kills from Kingdon, but Bricio crushed one for the final kill and a 25-22 win. USC hit .327 in the opening frame with 19 kills (3e, 49att). The Wildcats posted a .341 with 17 kills (2e) on 44 swings.

    The Wildcats scored first in the second set, but USC made short work of Arizona with a 25-14 win which started with an 8-0 run on Shaw's serves. Nwanebu scored on three straight kills before Schraer picked up a pair of kills on quick sets from Crone. The Cats picked up the slack and began to fight back to get within three thanks to back-to-back service aces by Snuka, but the Trojans were unrelenting and ran in front by eight points, 20-12, with another 5-0 run topped by a crosscourt terminator from Nwanebu. Olgard and Ruddins grabbed USC's last four points with kills to complete the Trojans' dominant win. USC hit .395 in the second set with 18 kills (3e) on 38 attacks and held the Wildcat attack to a .061 hitting rate (8k, 6e) on 33 attempts.

    USC came out firing on all cylinders to take a quick 6-2 lead in the third set as Bricio put a shot down the line for a point, but the Cats responded with three straight points topped off by a kill from Snuka as she dumped her pass. Arizona came within a point before the Trojans put together a 5-0 run to lead, 12-6, as Ruddins and Schraer teamed to reject a shot from Kingdon. The Cats stayed within striking distance and got a trio of kills from Jane Croson to pull within one at 15-14. A USC error and a kill by Taylor Arizobal helped Arizona knot the score at 16-all, and another Wildcat kill tied things at 17, but Pizzasegola went quick to Olgard who found the ground to put the Trojans in front once again. Olgard and Ruddins got a block and then Bricio served up her third ace to spark a short Trojan run. Pizzasegola's pipe set to Bricio yielded another point and a Wildcat error put USC on top, 22-17. Bricio came out of the back row again to score and gave the Trojans match point. Arizona saved one with a kill by Kingdon, but Nwanebu blasted her last swing off the Wildcat block for the final point to a 25-21 win. USC hit .240 in the third set with 16 kills (4e) on 50 attacks while Arizona was .170 with 15 kills (7e, 47att).

    The Trojans host Arizona State (18-11, 7-10 Pac-12) at the Galen Center in a Sunday-morning bout, Nov. 24. USC and the Sun Devils get going at 11 a.m. PT. Fans are invited to come early for a special pre-match brunch served in the Galen Center Founders' Room. For more information, please visit and a complete schedule.


    • With tonight’s win, USC leads its series with Arizona, 59-18, and is 31-5 in matches in Los Angeles. USC has won eight of its last nine meetings with Arizona.
    • Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio had three service aces in a single match for the 11th time this season. She pushed her season total for aces to 68 to move into fourth place in Pac-12 history, ahead of Logan Tom (Stanford, 2001) and Daiva Tomkus (UCLA, 1988) who each had 66 in their respective seasons. It is Bricio’s 26th match (out of 28) with at least one service ace and helped her move into fifth place at USC for career aces now with 111.
    • Senior libero Natalie Hagglund had her 23rd straight match in double digits for digs.
    • Hagglund’s 529 digs this season put her alone for the sixth-highest single-season mark by a Trojan. She now owns four of the top ten single-season records for digs in USC history.