On Wednesday night, USC's hopes for a Pac-12 Women's Volleyball title came to an end, as Washington defeated Oregon State in four sets to preserve their two game lead over SC in the standings. USC held the lead in the conference earlier in the season and looked to be on their way to a first place finish, but two defeats to Washington combined with a pair of shocking road defeats to Arizona and Washington State did them in.
But while the Women Of Troy have not conquered the Pac-12 this year, they have certainly conquered California. After sweeping both Stanford and Cal for the first time in ten years, USC defeated UCLA on Wednesday night to go 6-0 against their in-state rivals this season. The Bruins fell in straight sets, the first time that has happened in the rivalry since 2004, as USC improved their record to 25-5 (15-4).
The first set was the closest, with UCLA getting off to a strong start to build a pair of three-point leads early in the match. USC responded with some point runs of their own to keep up.
Then, down 18-16, USC would unleash a six-point run that would give them a lead they would not relinquish, even when UCLA attempted to tie the game at 22. Nwanebu made the set-winning kill, and USC dominated their rivals in the subsequent sets to win 25-22, 25-11, 25-13.
Natalie Hagglund, who will compete in her final regular-season match at the Galen Center on Friday, made 16 digs in the match. This is her 25th consecutive match with a double-digit dig total. Freshman Ebony Nwanebu continued a streak of her own, scoring 12 kills to reach double-digits in that category for the ninth straight match.
Samantha Bricio continued to be a dominant force at the serve line, scoring two aces to increase her season total to an NCAA-leading 72. She averages 0.69 aces per set and has scored at least one ace in all but two matches in 2013.
Senior Day is on Friday, with USC closing the season against Colorado. Hagglund, Alexis Olgard, and Sara Shaw will be honored before the game. First serve is at 2 PM. After that game, the Women Of Troy will await news of their first opponent in the NCAA tournament. The bracket unveiling will be broadcast on ESPNU on Sunday.