USC Women of Troy Eliminated In Regional Final

The Women of Troy huddle together one last time this season. (Jen Mac Ramos / Annenberg Media)

The crowd stood in stunned silence. The USC Women of Troy were down 2–0 sets, but came back to tie it 2–2. They were up 13–9 in the fifth set. Momentum was on their side, until it wasn’t.

The University of Kansas volleyball team dogpiled on each other after a 6–0 run. They were advancing to the Final Four.

Afterward, Coach Mick Haley called the 2015 team one of the most fun teams he’s ever been associated with and was proud of them for the way the season played out.

“I told the team I thought they fought like Trojans and I really meant that,” Coach Haley said. “We weren’t good tonight, but we competed and we did everything we could to win. We came up short in the end and I have no answers for that. You’ll have to write what you saw and I guess that will be the way it will be.”
Samantha Bricio gears up to serve. (Jen Mac Ramos / Annenberg Media)

Senior Samantha Bricio lead the way with 25 kills on the night, scoring 27 points, and notching 12 digs.

“They played an amazing game,” Bricio said, crediting Kansas.

Alicia Ogoms, senior middle blocker, had five block assists and eight kills.

“We didn’t want the season to end, 3–0 loss kind of thing,” Ogoms said. “We wanted, definitely, to compete.”

Bricio said that the level of comfort in the first two sets just wasn’t there.

“I think we got a little bit more comfortable after the first two sets,” Bricio said. “It took us a while.”

USC lost the first two sets, 18–25 and 21–25. They made a run for it and won the next two, 25–22 and 25–19. Sophomore opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford both had 10 kills each.

One thing the team took away from this loss is their ability to compete.

“We’re down 2–0,” Ogoms said, “we should’ve probably lost the game in three sets. But we were able to fight, we were able to come back and we were right there. Honestly. I think this will motivate the freshmen, all the underclassmen, for sure. They’ll remember this game and finish when they have the chance.”
The team gathers after a rally. (Jen Mac Ramos / Annenberg Media)

Coach Haley said he isn’t sure that this level of resiliency will carry over to next year’s team, though.

“That’s what I’m really worried about,” Coach Haley said. “I would hope that it would, but we’ve shown, from year to year, completely different teams.”

Coach Haley recalls how the team spend a whole year trying to correct what happened after losing in the regional finals in 2013 before the team lead by Bricio and Ogoms decided to take it to the next level.

“In some cases, I felt like our five game loss with Washington two years ago in the regional finals damaged the team for the whole next year. I could only find that to put my finger on that seemed to take the heart out of everybody and we didn’t have anybody stand up and say let’s correct that,” Coach Haley said. “I had a couple kids in the locker room say, we were having a little talk after the game, and they said, ‘never in my wildest dream thought we could turn this around after last year.’ There are far more worse things that have happened from a bad season than a good season where you come up a little bit short.”

But Coach Haley said that he is proud of this team, especially after being ranked so low before the season began.

“These guys earned a lot of respect this year,” Coach Haley said. “I think everybody appreciated the way they played and the heart that they put out on the court. It’s a really special game. You could love it, and then when it does this to you, you want to beat it to death. We’ll get over it and we’ll come back for more.”

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