Women of Troy take care of business against mountain schools

Brian Ji | Daily Trojan

Brian Ji | Daily Trojan

It was a successful homecoming Weekend for the No. 2-ranked women’s volleyball team, which came away victorious against Colorado (3-1) and Utah (3-0) at the Galen Center to push their record to 25-1 on the season. The Women of Troy also remain atop the Pac-12 standings with a 13-1 mark in conference play.

Neither of the mountain schools could keep up with USC’s quick pace over the weekend, as the Women of Troy bested the Buffs in four sets on Friday night, (25-12, 25-14, 25-27, 25-23) before going on to sweep the Utes (25-13, 25-22, 25-20) on Sunday morning. USC remained undefeated all-time against Colorado, while upping their record against Utah to 15-2 overall. The Women of Troy also remained undefeated in matches played at the Galen Center this season at 13-0.

It was another impressive string of matches for the leading National Player of the Year candidate in senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio, who averaged 25.75 points on the weekend in just seven total sets of play. The senior recorded 42 kills (6 kills per set) with only 7 combined errors for a .422 hitting percentage overall. She also tallied 14 digs, seven service aces and five blocks against the Mountain schools to bolster her numbers as the nation’s top scorer.

Head coach Mick Haley was not surprised at his senior captain’s impressive numbers.

“If you look at the teams that have gone to the Final Four in the last 6 or 7 years, everybody’s had a go-to person…somebody that makes it okay for everybody else and takes the team on their back when they need to,” Haley said. “Samantha’s been a good player for us for three years, and she is leading this team, not only by example but [also] encouragement.”

Bricio also had some strong support from her teammates over the weekend. Fellow senior Alicia Ogoms tallied 15 total kills and just one error on 25 swings in the middle to go along with a team-high 9 blocks, while sophomore opposite Brittany Abercrombie recorded 18 kills and just 4 errors for a .378 hitting clip. Furthermore, freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford added 17 total kills, while junior middle blocker Elise Ruddins recorded 8 blocks overall.

The setting tandem of junior Alice Pizzasegola and freshman Baylee Johnson also put up strong all-around numbers, with Pizzasegola dishing out 35 assists, 12 digs and a service ace on the weekend, while Johnson had a combined 53 assists, 21 digs, six kills and five total blocks. The backcourt duo of junior libero Taylor Whittingham and freshman defensive specialist Victoria Garrick once again remained steady, picking up 35 and 19 digs, respectively, to anchor USC’s defense.

The Women of Troy will now remain at home to prepare for two more matches in the middle of the week. USC hosts the Oregon schools back-to-back, facing the Oregon Ducks on Wednesday and the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday. Both matches will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Galen Center.

In addition, Bricio is now just 22 kills away from setting USC’s all-time record for career kills. She trails current record holder Alex Jupiter (1,918; 2008-11) and will more than likely move into 10th place in Pac-12 history for career kills within the next two matches.