USC sweeps past Wichita St.
Bricio helps Trojans overcome slow start, earn match with UT.
Southern California burst away from a sluggish start and dominated the attack on both sides of the net while posting a 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 win Friday at Gregory Gymnasium against upstart Wichita State in the Austin Regional semifinals at the NCAA Women’s Volleyball tournament.
“Wichita State has been beating people with their transition game, but we were able to limit those opportunities and that was the key to this win for us,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “We were very strong with our first balls and our servicing took away some of the other things they had been able to do earlier in the tournament.”
The Trojans (30-5) advance to play Texas, a winner over Florida in three sets in the late game Friday, in the Austin Regional final beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. The winner earns a berth in the Final Four in Louisville.
USC was led by Samantha Bricio’s 13 kills and two aces, while Katie Fuller added 11 kills and Sara Shaw, a Westlake product, had eight kills for USC.
Wichita State, which ends its season at 24-10, was led by Ashlyn Driskill’s seven kills. Elizabeth Field added six kills for the Shockers.
The first set was tied 1919 before Bricio took command. After a kill by Alicia Ogoms produced a side out, Bricio took the serve and the Trojans ran off four straight points. Included in the run were a kill and a service ace by Bricio and a kill by Shaw. When Ogoms and Hayley Crone combined for a block on set point, USC had a 25-20 first-set victory.
The Trojans dominated the second set from the start, winning the first five points and then moving to a 6-1 lead on a kill by Bricio. An attack error by Driskill moved the score to 24-18, and Fuller finished the set with a kill as USC won 25-19.
Wichita State tried to fight back in the third set, but after tying the score at 6-6, it was never again within reach. Alexis Olgard pounded a service ace to move the Trojans to set point, and Fuller finished things with a responding kill, giving USC a 25-17 win in the set and a sweep of the match.
“We were able to dictate some things with our serve and by keeping them off the net,” Shaw said. “It felt really good to be back in Austin with so many friends and all my family, but I am working hard to stay focused on what’s ahead. We didn’t come here to win just one match.”