No. 2 USC defeats Huskies in four-set thriller

first_imgMaya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanTwo undefeated teams went into the Galen Center Sunday afternoon, and the No. 2 Women of Troy (16-0, 4-0 Pac-12) came out on top with a 3-1 victory over No. 5 Washington (13-1, 3-1 Pac-12).USC came out on fire early and won the first set 25-16. The Huskies battled back and took the second set 25-22. The Women of Troy then found their momentum and came back 25-21 in the third set.The fourth set was by far the most intense and competitive set of the night, and arguably USC’s season. With a total of 27 tie scores and 15 lead changes, the Women of Troy pulled out a 33-31 victory.Senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio led the team with 27 kills, three aces and 16 digs. Head coach Mick Haley gave Bricio credit for maintaining her composure throughout the match and keeping the team motivated, especially in the final set.Maya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan“When you’ve got one go-to that just doesn’t let you down,” Haley said. “That gives you hope.”Bricio was set a total of 72 times in the match, and with over 30 serves, that puts her over 100 swings in the match. Haley likened that to baseball pitchers and how they won’t last if they’re always pitching 80, 90, 100 pitches per game.The Huskies also targeted Bricio with their serves. Bricio felt the pressure from their serves, but she didn’t let it affect her at all. Haley noted that with all the weightlifting and training she’s been doing, if the Huskies knew that they probably wouldn’t have targeted her as much.Maya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan“I heard some football players say ‘holy cow, do you see what she’s lifting, and she’s in season!’” Haley said.Haley noted that the team remained in the match because they just don’t quit. He pointed out that there wasn’t just one person who was going to win the match for them, they had to do it together.Senior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms was second on the team with 12 kills. She dominated defensively at the net with a total of six blocks. Haley emphasized how her overall presence at the net tonight was giving Washington fits and that they even tried to set away from her because she shut down senior middle blocker Melanie Wade.“Ogoms was putting her hands over the net like nobody’s business,” Haley said. “She is a big-time blocker.”Haley had high praise for the freshmen: setter Baylee Johnson, outside hitter Alyse Ford and walk-on defensive specialist Victoria Garrick. He credits their resilience to the team’s continued success.Another key to the team’s success is their overall mentality. Both Bricio and Ogoms emphasized that the team not only looks at each set one at a time, but also each point at a time.Maya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanThat focus has given them the ability to have fun while still playing to the best of their ability. Haley credits the team’s overall personality and mentality to their continuing success.“You’ve got to have fun,” Haley said.In that final set, Bricio and Ogoms mentioned that the team was joking about how the game felt like their “favorite drill” they always do.“We were just trying to stay relaxed,” Ogoms said. “We do this every day in practice.”Maya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanThis hard-fought match proved that the Women of Troy have the ability to compete, especially against one of their top opponents in the Pac-12.On Friday night, the Women of Troy defeated Washington State in three sets. Though it may seem like it was an easy match, Haley mentioned that the team worked hard and battled for the victory.Through both matches, Haley was impressed with the improvement that the team showed, especially on defense. He was happy with how his team stayed in sets by utilizing their defensive strengths.Next weekend, the Women of Troy hit the road to face No. 6 Arizona State (15-0, 4-0 Pac-12), the only other undefeated team in the conference, and No. 14 Arizona (12-4, 2-2 Pac-12). Haley emphasized the team’s resilience and competitive nature.“Every night you just have to take one at a time,” Haley said.last_img

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