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USC Women's Volleyball Beats No. 1 UCLA 3-1 To Remain Undefeated

Elisa Ting |
September 19, 2012 | 11:47 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The Women of Troy will likely be the new No. 1 team in the nation. (James Santelli/NT)
The Women of Troy will likely be the new No. 1 team in the nation. (James Santelli/NT)

The defending NCAA-champion UCLA Bruins women's volleyball team came in to Galen Center hungry to repeat last year's victory over USC. But with two Women of Troy players marking career highs in kills, the No. 1 Bruins fell to No. 2 USC on Wednesday night three sets to one (28-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17) in their Pac-12 opener.

The first set started off with ties back and forth between the Trojans and Bruins, totaling to nine times overall. The set started off slowly for the Trojans offensively and defensively, which put the Bruins at an advantage. USC freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio started off shaky by hitting out of bounds and shanking passes early in the game.

"In the beginning, I was nervous, but I just started to play," Bricio said. And play is exactly what she did — setting a career high of 19 kills.

The Bruins led 6-2 early on, but USC junior libero Natalie Hagglund kept the ball alive for sophomore setter Hayley Crone.

"I think we played awesome defense and dug the majority of the balls," said Crone. "I think Natalie did a great job digging all the line jobs,"

Along with Hagglund’s solid defense, Crone actively looked for holes in the blocks for strategic dumps, pushing the Trojans to a tie at 6-6. After a timeout was called at 15-12, the Trojans finished the set with Hagglund’s impressive defense that kept the ball off the ground while freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms dominated the net. While the Bruins led in points throughout the first set, USC was able to finish off with a win at 28-26.

The Bruins seemed to be stuck in a rut as they started off the second set by making unforced errors, letting the Trojans get out to a 6-1 lead. Ogoms was key in the Trojans’ defense by setting up high, strong blocks at the net that forced the tall Bruins to make hitting errors. Ogoms earned the team back-to-back points by looking for holes in the blocks and tipping to spots on the court where UCLA's defense lacked, boosing USC's confidence. The second set ended in the Trojans favor at 25-20, without much of a battle.

Freshman Samantha Bricio picked up 19 kills for USC. (James Santelli/NT)
Freshman Samantha Bricio picked up 19 kills for USC. (James Santelli/NT)
The third set came as an upset for USC as the Bruins played a well-fought battle. USC had three service errors, and UCLA was ready to come back with its undeniably strong offense and defense. The third set, like the first, saw USC and UCLA neck-to-neck all the way until 24-24, fighting for the lead at almost every point.

USC senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller changed the pace of the game at the end by bouncing the ball at the 10-foot line, followed by cheers from the USC crowd that shook the gym. However, the unforced errors earlier in the game dug the Trojans into a hole too deep to crawl out of, and UCLA won the third game at 26-24.

The fourth and final set truly showed the power of Fuller and Bricio as the dynamic duo dominated the offensive line. With the impenetrable defense by Hagglund in the back row and Ogoms at the net, the Trojans defeated the Bruins with a score of 25-17. A double-block by junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard and sophomore opposite hitter Emily Young shut down the Bruins' offense completely, and officially ended the match for the night.

Fuller ended the match by tying her career high of 21 kills, and Bricio marked a career high of 19 kills. The Trojans continue a perfect record of 13-0 and the Bruins fell to 8-2.

After a long night, the Trojans are ready to face the undefeated Oregon State (10-0, 1-0 Pac-12) on Friday night, 6 p.m. PDT at Galen Center.

"I think the Bruins are very good," said head coach Mick Haley. "I think the Pac-12 is loaded this year, and Oregon is absolutely a top-notch team."




Reach Staff Reporter Elisa Ting here. Follow her here.



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