Trojans Trample Toreros in Three For NCAA Regional Semifinal Berth|
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Dec. 4, 2015
LOS ANGELES -- Behind a 24.5-point performance from senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio, the top-seeded USC women's volleyball team (32-2) swept San Diego (22-10) in three sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-13) in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship at Galen Center on Friday, Dec. 4. The Women of Troy advance to the San Diego regional championship rounds and will face either North Carolina or Creighton in the semifinals on Friday, Dec. 11, at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
The Trojans advance to their 11th NCAA regional semifinal match under head coach Mick Haley; the team's first since it hosted the 2013 Los Angeles Regional at Galen Center.
Bricio produced her 24.5 points on 21 kills (3e, 39att, .462), three service aces, and a block. She also had eight digs in the match. Bricio's three aces marked the 43rd time in her career that she has served three or more aces in a single match. Senior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms scored 13.5 points with 11 kills (1e, 20att, .500) and five blocks. Junior middle blocker Elise Ruddins was flawless on the night as she put up seven kills (0e, .700) on 10 swings and added five blocks.
Sophomore opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie had six kills (2e, 20att, .200) to go with three digs and a block while freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford added five kills (0e, 15att, .333) to go with a career-high tying five blocks. The Trojans had just one hitting error in the first set (.366) and went without an error in the third (.516) to hit .396 in the match (51k, 7e, 111att) thanks to the setting of junior Alice Pizzasegola (22 assists) and freshman Baylee Johnson (20 assists). Johnson added nine digs, two blocks, and a kill and Pizzasegola tallied one of the Trojans' six service aces.
Defensively, the Women of Troy got a match-high 13 digs from junior libero Taylor Whittingham who also put up four assists. Freshman defender Victoria Garrick had eight digs and served two aces. In all, the Trojans out-blocked the Toreros, 10-3, but were out-dug for just the second time this season, 46-44.
For San Diego, Lauren Fuller had 13 kills (3e, 35att, .286) and four digs. Lisa Kramer added nine kills (5e, 22att, .182), and Canace Finley had eight kills (4e, 21att, .190). Hunter Jennings put up 14 digs.
The Toreros fired the first shots and stunned the Trojans as they moved ahead by four points, 7-3, in the opening frame. The Women of Troy stayed patient and scored a 5-2 run which included three kills by Bricio to pull within a point at 9-8. USC earned back-to-back blocks to pull even at 10-all and broke away from the Toreros on back-to-back kills by Bricio and Abercombie for an 18-16 lead. Fuller scored a kill to get USD back within one at 18-17, but Bricio and Ogoms teamed up for a block and then Bricio went to the back line to complete a 5-0 run which included a pair of aces to put the Trojans up by six, 23-17. Abercrombie tooled the Torero block for set point at 24-19 before Bricio rose up to crush a pipe shot for a kill and a 25-20 USC win in the first set. The Trojans hit .366 in the first set and had just one hitting error (16k, 1e, 41att). USD was turned away by five USC blocks and finished with a .233 hitting rate (15k, 5e) on 43 swings.
Like in the first set, the lead changed only once but the one time was all the Trojans needed to come away with a 25-23 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match. USC seemed to have steady control of the second set but was caught at seven-all. Ruddins came to life to put up a pair of blocks and earned a pair of kills before Bricio went off high hands for a kill and a 15-9 USC lead. The Toreros never gave up and chipped away until they were down just one at 19-18. The Trojans fought off that charge but found themselves in a precarious position once more when Jayden Kennedy earned a kill to get USD within a point again at 24-23. Bricio came to the rescue and finished off the Toreros with her crosscourt kill.
USC left little doubt that it should move on as the Trojans completed a 25-13 win in the third set to wrap up the sweep. The Women of Troy scored 16 kills without an error on 31 swings for a .516 hitting percentage in the third and snuffed out any USD comeback bids to hold the Toreros to a .156 hitting rate (5e, 32att) with just 10 kills. Bricio earned four kills in five rallies to push USC in front, 5-2, but the Trojans followed up back-to-back kills from Ruddins with an ace from Pizzasegola and a block by Ruddins and Ford for a five-point lead at 11-6. The Toreros reeled off three straight kills, but USC fought back and climbed out to a six-point lead at 16-10. The Trojans stepped on the gas at that point and had seven kills and an ace to quickly seize match point at 24-13. Ford and Ruddins laid the Toreros to rest as they converged for the final block of the match and a 25-13 Trojan victory.
The Trojans will meet either North Carolina or Creighton for the second time this season in the semifinals of the NCAA's San Diego regional championship. USC faced both foes in pre-conference tournaments. For more information on the NCAA tournament and a complete bracket, please visit NCAA.com. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.