AUSTIN, Texas – USC (30-5) will make its fourth appearance in the NCAA quarterfinal match in six seasons following a 3-0 win (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) against Wichita State (24-10) in a regional semifinal match on Friday.
The Trojans put together a complete match to earn USC’s eighth 30-win season in program history, the third under Haley’s guidance. Troy remained undefeated in nine sets of play in the 2012 postseason.
After a slow start in the first set, freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio settled in and finished the night with 13 kills to lead all players. Bricio hit .323 (3e, 31att) and added two service aces, two solo blocks and eight digs to finish with a match-high 17.0 points.
The Trojans also got 11 kills from senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller (5e, 22att, .273) and eight kills from junior outside Sara Shaw (2e, 18att, .333) who also added nine digs.
Junior libero Natalie Hagglund led all players with 15 digs and is now just one dig shy of her 600th this season. Her 599 digs is the third-best single-season performance in program history just behind Debora Seilhamer’s 721 digs in 2006 and 696 in 2005.
Sophomore setter Hayley Crone delivered 39 assists to help the Trojans to a .291 hitting percentage (45k, 15e, 103att). Crone’s connection with her middles helped junior Alexis Olgard log six kills (.250) and freshman Alicia Ogoms earn seven (.286). Olgard had four blocks (two solo) to lead all players while Ogoms had three blocks (two solo).
For Wichita State, freshman outside hitter Ashlyn Driskill led her team with seven kills (2e, 19att, .263). Junior middle blocker Elizabeth Field had six kills (.176) and a pair of blocks. Senior libero Jackie Church had eight digs to tie with sophomore defensive specialist Kelsey Banwart.
The Trojans went up 5-3 in the first set when Bricio won the one-on-one battle with Driskill at the net for a solo block, but the Shockers flipped the script and went in front by two 9-7 on a kill from Sam Sanders on an overpassed ball. Bricio went cross-court for a kill and Fuller went down the line for a point to tie the set score at nine.
Wichita State went ahead once more, but the Trojans scored three kills in a row to lead 13-11 as Fuller went cross-court for a point. USC led by as many as five points at 18-13, but Trojan errors and a Shocker ace helped WSU tie the score for a 10th time at 19. Ogoms turning things around on a kill on a quick set from Crone before the Trojans ran away with a three-point streak that ended with a Shaw service ace for set point at 24-19. The Shocks got one more point before Crone and Ogoms teamed up to send back Emily Adney’s offering for a 25-20 USC win. The Trojans hit .189 (15k, 8e, 37att) but held the Shockers to a .000 hitting rate (8k, 8e, 33att).
The Trojans never trailed in the second set and posted a .310 hitting percentage (14k, 5e, 29att) on their way to a 25-19 win. USC scored the first five points of the set and forced a Wichita State timeout after Bricio terminated a rally with just her third kill of the night. The Shocks fought back, but the Trojans went up by six 10-4 on a quick-set kill by Ogoms.
Wichita State couldn’t cut into the lead as Bricio maintained USC’s gap with a cross-court kill for a 15-10 lead. The Trojans led by as many as seven points at 20-13 on three consecutive points on Crone serves. First, Bricio had a kill out of the back row before Crone served an ace; then Fuller crushed a shot down the line for a point to give the Trojans their biggest lead. The Shocks tried to rally, but it wasn’t enough as Fuller closed out the set and put USC up 2-0 with a kill out of the back row. The Trojans’ 12 digs and three blocks held the Wichita State attack to a .219 hitting rate (13k, 6e, 32att).
The third set opened up in a tug-of-war as the teams traded leads three times. USC broke the sixth tie of the set when Shaw earned a kill down the left sideline and went up 9-6 two plays later as Shaw terminated with a cross-court kill. Wichita State rallied, but USC held the Shockers at bay to lead 13-9 on an off-speed shot by Bricio. The Trojans didn’t let up and pulled out to a 17-10 advantage to force a WSU timeout.
A pair of quick-set kills by Ogoms helped get USC out to another seven-point lead at 19-12. Though the Shockers fought back, Bricio flew out of the back row to earn a kill for a 22-15 lead. Wichita State got within five points at 22-17, but a service ace by Olgard set USC up with set point 24-17 before Fuller ended things on a kill. USC had an 82-percent sideout rate in the third set and posted a .378 hitting percentage (16k, 2e, 37att) to win the dig-to-kill game against the Shocks. The Trojans earned three more blocks to hold WSU to a .125 hitting rate (9k, 5e) on 32 swings.