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USC Women's Volleyball Sweeps Utah

Samantha Solomon |
November 9, 2015 | 12:54 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The USC women’s volleyball team glided past the Utah Utes in three straight sets, led by senior captain Samantha Bricio. 

With the 25-13, 25-22, 25-20 win, the Trojans improved to a 25-1 record (13-1 Pac-12), earning them a number one ranking in the country. Junior libero Taylor Whittingham attributes the team’s success to the strong camaraderie between the girls.

“We’re all really close we all get along, which is really rare in a group of 15 girls. We have a lot of fun together, which I think carries onto the court,” Whittingham said. 

Yet despite the team’s success, the Women of Troy are trying to keep their eyes on the task in front of them.

“We don’t want to think too far ahead, obviously that’s the main goal,” Whittingham said. “Just one game at a time is really all that we’re focusing on.”  

The Women of Troy started out strong right off the bat, jumping to a 5-1 lead with kills from Bricio, Alicia Ogoms and Alyse Ford. Continuing to pour it on, sophomore Brittany Abercrombie took charge for the Women of Troy, notching three kills in a row to increase the USC lead to 10 points at 18-8. With a Baylee Johnson kill, the second-ranked team in the country was able to close out the first set by a 12-point margin. 

USC faced some adversity in the second set when the Utes gained their first lead of the game at 18-17, prompting the Women of Troy to refocus and maintain composure. After two key kills from Bricio, they were able to regain a 19-18 lead, and with the help of Ogoms, USC claimed the second set 25-22. 

Up two sets to none, the third set was largely a back-and-forth affair, as the game was tied at 10 and again at 14. At 19-17, the Women of Troy executed strong defense with blocks by Bricio and Johnson, ultimately claiming the set 25-20. 

Bricio commanded the court throughout the match, recording 22.5 points. She now has 1897 career kills, which is just 21 kills shy of the program’s record holder, Alex Jupiter. 

Coach Haley notes that Bricio has been experimenting with new things to take her game to the next level. 

“[Sam’s] managing the game now. I’m so proud of her, she hit nice shots to the corner, she’s changing speeds on her serve now, which makes her serve even more effective,” a visibly excited Haley said. “So, she’s doing some major-league growing here as an athlete and as a volleyball player.”

Johnson and Whittingham also played integral roles in maintaining a strong foundation for the team. Johnson contributed 25 assists and 10 digs, and Whittingham added 17 digs of her own.

Johnson noted that the environment and energy from the crowd factored into the team’s win today. 

“The crowd was really supportive, we love when we’re able to pack Galen like that, especially on a Sunday morning,” Johnson pointed out.  “We appreciate the crowd. Every time we can fill it up, it really helps us.”  

The Women of Troy are now entering a busy portion of their schedule, playing four games in just seven days as they face both Oregon and Oregon State at home on Wednesday and Thursday night. Coach Haley believes that the back-to-back play will be a positive for the team. 

“I like back to back. It really is better for the players,” Haley said. “They play it up until they go to sleep, they play it in their dreams, they play it up until the next morning. They’re ready to play the next night.”

For this one-loss team, Haley says discipline will be the name of the game.  

“[The girls were] very disciplined – that was one of the best things I saw today in what we’ve been working on – being more disciplined and getting that stuff right and if we just keep working on it in that way, I think we’re going to get better.” 

You can reach Samantha Solomon here.



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