USC sweeps past Wi­chita St.

Bri­cio helps Tro­jans over­come slow start, earn match with UT.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By Steve Ha­bel amer­i­can-states­man cor­re­spon­dent Kam­ran Je­breili / ap

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.”

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