Women of Troy Defeat UCLA in Pac-12 Opener


Fourth-ranked USC claimed its first conference win over 11th-ranked UCLA on Wednesday night on the Trojans’ home court. The Women of Troy defeated the Bruins in four sets (25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 25-16) in the 100th meeting between the rival universities.

Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu had a career-best 17 kills (4e, 31 att, 18.0 points) and hit .419. Nwanebu led a 9-1 run during the fourth set, ultimately clinching the victory for the Women of Troy. Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard also posted career-high numbers against the Bruins. Olgard set a personal record with 13 kills and 16 points. She also added six blocks during the match.

“I feel that we played great as a team,” Olgard said. “We were all confident in how we were playing. We prepared really well and came out with a quiet intensity that really helped.”

The Trojan victory over the Bruins was an all-around effort. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio added nine kills, two service aces and six digs. Sara Shaw had seven kills, two service aces and three blocks. While Hannah Schraer contributed seven kills and three blocks.

USC women’s volleyball head coach Mick Haley credits the performance to the necessary adjustments that were made before the conference opener.

“We got better in a couple ways. We’re trying to be able to attack our opponents in the middle and that’s what they have been doing to us the past couple of years,”  Haley said. “We were able to give them some serious problems there, tonight. Part of that had to do with our passing. We passed pretty well tonight. They were serving us pretty tough but when they started serving short to try to mess with our rhythm, we were able to stick the ball quick and that’s when we beat that short serve.”

The Women of Troy (11-1, 1-0) will travel to Salt Lake City for the first conference road match of the season against Utah (12-1, 1-0) and hope to continue the momentum from their victory.

“There are two things we want to take away from this. One is protecting the ball. We had too many unforced hitting errors in the third and fourth set. When we hit shots and we hit out of bounds, on the line, we can’t do that. We are going to work on that so we’ll take that away from the game and work on that,” Haley said. “We will want to continue serving tough. I think that is the best we have served the Bruins, maybe since we’ve been here. We really caused them some serious trouble and normally we don’t serve them tough and I don’t know why that is. So that is what I want to improve on.”