No. 14 USC Stays Perfect With 3-1 Win Over No. 11 Tennessee
Sept. 3, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Junior opposite hitter/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (Wroclaw, Poland/College of Southern Idaho) recorded a season-high 24 kills Sunday as the No. 14 USC Women of Troy defeated the No. 11 Tennessee Lady Vols, 3-1 (30-11, 30-21, 28-30, 30-22). It was the final match of the USC/LMU Classic as USC finished as the only undefeated team in the tournament.
USC remained perfect on the season at 6-0 while handing Tennessee (5-1) its first loss of the season.
With 21 digs this afternoon, USC senior All-America libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Colegio Ponceno) passed Kelly Kuebler (1992-95) for third place on USC's all-time list for digs. Seilhamer now has 1,484 career digs, needing 52 digs to tie Nancy (Hillman) Somera for second place. Ironically, USC will face Somera, the head coach at South Carolina, next weekend for the Gamecock Invitational.
Kaczor used eight of her kills in the fourth game while hitting .413 (24-5-46) for the match. Junior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) added 18 kills for USC while junior middle blocker Bethany Johansen (San Jose/UC Santa Barbara) was efficient again with 11 kills for a .429 day (11-2-21).
Tennessee got strong performances from senior middle blocker Sarah Blum, who led the Lady Vols with 12 kills and hit .393 (12-1-28), and sophomore middle blocker Mindy Flynn, who had 11 kills and a .391 match (11-2-23).
Freshman Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) put up big numbers again as USC's top setter, recording 58 assists with six kills and 10 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Gysin energized the Lyon Center crowd early with the first kill of the match, followed by a solo block as the Women of Troy started with eight straight points before Tennessee used its first timeout of the game. After Tennessee's Kelsey Fautsch ended the streak, USC went on a 15-7 run to dominate the first game. The Women of Troy hit a blistering .560 in the game against Tennessee's -.034 as Gysin and Kaczor had five kills each.
Blum used a couple of kills to keep the Lady Vols on pace in game two, but Kaczor and Copenhagen put the pressure on as USC worked its way to a 9-5 lead. Mindy Flynn hammered an overpass to bring Tennessee within three at 14-11, but Copenhagen and sophomore Kelli Tennant collected back-to-back kills as USC remained up by five. USC was awarded a point on a delay of game violation called against Tennessee, which propelled the Women of Troy to a 2-0 match advantage. Kaczor finished with two more kills as the game finished when USC received another free point after Tennessee was called for an illegal substitution. With another strong game, USC was hitting .533 after the first two games.
The Lady Vols closed the deficit to 11-9 in the third game before a 4-1 run gave USC the 15-10 lead. A 7-4 run by the visitors from Knoxville forced USC head coach Mick Haley to call his first timeout of the match. After the timeout, the Lady Vols added three more points to take the lead, 20-19. Both teams batted in the homestretch with the key point coming when Yuliya Stoyanova and Blum stuffed a Bethany Johansen attempt for a 28-26 Tennessee lead. USC was called for a net violation, handing Tennessee the 30-28 win.
Kaczor opened the fourth game with a kill as USC raced out to a 7-2 lead. It was a setter's paradise for Carico, who recorded back-to-back kills on a dump and second ball slam, making it 10-4. Tennessee closed the gap to 15-11, but Kaczor came to the rescue with another kill after the USC timeout. Later, a few WOT errors put Tennessee back in the game with a tie at 21 apiece. Haley called his second timeout, which seemed to spark his team as USC scored five straight on Gysin's serve. A service error and two straight Tennessee hitting errors gave match point to the Women of Troy when Copenhagen put the match winner down.
USC travels to the Gamecock Invitational next weekend in Columbia, S.C. The Women of Troy will face Florida State and host South Carolina on Friday (Sept. 8) and St. John's on Saturday (Sept. 9) before returning home for a nonconference match at Pepperdine on Thursday (Sept. 14). The Pepperdine match will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
UT 11-21-30-22 USC 30-30-28-30