USC Women's Volleyball entered the 2012 NCAA tournament last night at the Galen Center and took advantage of the early-round home cookin' to sweep the Fairfield Stags and Saint Mary's Gaels. The team is now 29-5 and will advance to the regional semifinals for the fifth time in the last seven years.
The opening round game against Fairfield was an absolute blowout, as the Women of Troy hit a season-high hitting percentage of .518 while holding the Stags to .049. The final score was 25-8, 25-11, 25-10, with USC racking up 47 kills to Fairfield's 19.
USC had a bit of a tougher time against Saint Mary's, who pulled off a five-set upset of San Diego State to reach the second round. The first set went to extra points as SMC denied USC's first three attempts at set point. However, on the third try, a shot by the Gaels' Gabby Jolly was blocked by SC middle blocker Alexis Olgard to get the 28-26 victory. Olgard had a fantastic night, scoring ten blocks and six kills in the match. In the subsequent sets, USC never looked back as the team easily rolled to victory with a 25-16 victory in the second set and 25-19 in the third.
USC's outside hitters made some serious damage, as senior Katie Fuller scored 24 kills in the two matches. Freshman Samantha Bricio was even better, landing 30 kills and getting her 11th double-double of the season against Saint Mary's, with 14 kills and 12 digs.
Next week, USC will travel to Austin, TX to play in the regional semifinals against the winner of Saturday's second round match between #11 Kansas and Wichita State. If USC wins that match, they will likely face a tough regional final against #2 Texas, who is hosting the regional rounds. Still, if USC finds itself playing in a tough road environment, it has history on its side. USC is 10-1 in postseason matches in the state of Texas, and last year's team defeated Hawaii in the regional semifinals in front of a sell-out crowd of Rainbow fans in Honolulu.
The game will be streamed next Friday at 5 PM PT on ESPN3.com and NCAA.com