No. 1 USC Drops Five-Set Heartbreaker to No. 13 UCLA|
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Nov. 26, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The No. 1-ranked USC women's volleyball team (29-2, 17-2 Pac-12) suffered its first home loss of the season and had a seven-match winning streak halted by crosstown rival No. 13 UCLA (23-6, 14-5) in a heart-pounding five-set upset (25-18, 17-25, 25-19, 12-25, 15-12) on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at the Galen Center. The Women of Troy set a new program record for home attendance with 6,346 in attendance.
The Trojans got 23 kills (4e, 60att, .317) and 13 digs from senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio who recorded her 15th double-double of the season; the 55th of her career. Bricio also had two service aces and three blocks (one solo) for a total of 27.0 points. Senior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms tallied 11 kills without an error (21att) and hit .524. She led all players with seven blocks (one solo) to collect 15.0 points.
Sophomore opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie added eight kills and had 10 digs and five blocks. Freshman setter Baylee Johnson picked up her 16th double-double of the season with 29 assists and 15 digs. Johnson also had two kills, a service ace, and two blocks. The Trojans had five players in double-digit digs including Bricio, Abercrombie, and Johnson. Junior libero Taylor Whittingham led the team with 17 digs and freshman defender Victoria Garrick had 14.
The Bruins put up a well-balanced attack which had four players in double-digit kills led by Jordan Anderson who finished with 14 (8e, 45att) while hitting .133. Jessyka Ngauamo had 13 kills (10e, 42att) and hit .071 while Reily Buechler tallied 12 kills (7e, 52att) for a .096 hitting rate. Middle blocker Claire Felix feasted on the slide and finished with 10 kills without an error (15att) for a .667 hitting percentage. Setter Zana Muno had 40 assists and delivered a double-double with 19 digs. Taylor Formico led all players with 28 digs.
The Trojans controlled the opening set to take a 9-2 lead on a kill by Ogoms, but Buechler took over for the Bruins and earned four kills (three in a row) to put UCLA on top, 11-10. The Bruins used a 16-3 run to walk out to a six-point lead of their own at 18-12. The Trojans fought back to score points on kills by Ogoms and Abercrombie, but it wasn't enough as Ngauamo completed the 25-18 UCLA win with her service ace.
An early see-saw battle to open the second set quickly turned into a lopsided affair when USC's 3-1 run opened up a 13-9 lead culminating in a block by Abercrombie and Ogoms. Bricio earned a point out of the pipe and then Abercrombie served an ace to put USC up by six, 18-12. Bricio's cut-shot kill extended the Trojans to a seven-point lead at 22-15, and Ogoms went quick for the point for a 23-16 lead. Bricio and Ogoms then combined for blocks to earn the final two points of the frame and sewed up a 25-17 win for the Women of Troy.
The teams went back and forth for six ties at seven-all before Anderson took over and kick-started a UCLA run that would give the Bruins a 13-9 lead. The Trojans could get no closer than five points of UCLA from that point and fell behind by seven when the Bruins took set point at 24-17. Bricio swooped in to save a pair of points with her kill and a service ace, but couldn't bring the Women of Troy all the way back in a 25-19 third-set loss.
In the only set without a tie or a lead change, the Trojans left little breathing room for the Bruins and took a 25-12 win to force the decisive fifth set. USC led by three several times early on and was up, 9-6, on a knuckle-ball by Johnson that found the floor. Ogoms put USC up, 10-7, on her kill, but Anderson responded to make it 10-8. From there, the Trojans slammed the door with a 15-4 run to close the set. Ford earned a kill and then Ruddins and Johnson teamed to reject Buechler for a 10-point lead at 19-9. Bricio went off high hands to tool the Bruin block and got a 23-11 lead on the board, but Johnson's ace of Rachel Inouye sealed the fourth for the Trojans.
USC held a brief two-point lead over UCLA, 4-2, in the fifth, and then inched back ahead by a point at 5-4 on an Abercrombie kill, but consecutive Trojan hitting errors put the Bruins on top for good at 7-5. UCLA opened up a three-point lead at 9-6 on a kill by Anderson, but the Women of Troy fought to within a point at 10-11, and again at 11-12 when Bricio tooled the Bruin block for a point. Another attack error gave the Bruins their 13th point before Muno dumped her pass for a kill to put UCLA at match point. The Bruins missed on their next attack, but Felix stepped out on a slide and closed the books with her kill to make the final score 15-12 for UCLA.
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