No. 1 USC Wins In Four Sets At No. 4 UCLA In Regular-Season Finale
Nov. 25, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Senior All-America setter Kendall Bateman (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) became the all-time USC career assists leader Friday as the No. 1 Women of Troy defeated the host No. 4 UCLA Bruins in four sets (24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20). Bateman needed 41 assists tonight to break the mark, held by Janice Mounts (1995-98), and now has 4,264 career assists.
USC finishes the regular season with a 25-4 record and 20-2 mark in the Pac-12 Conference while UCLA falls to 24-6 overall, 17-5 in conference. Since the conference-opening loss to the Bruins on Sept. 9 at the Galen Center, USC has won 20 of its last 21 matches.
Senior All-America outside hitter Alex Jupiter posted 18 kills and 23.5 points for the Women of Troy, adding five digs, an ace and a season-high five blocks (four solo). Junior outside hitter Katie Fuller had a season-high 16 kills while hitting .314 with eight digs and four blocks. Lauren Williams added 10 kills and four blocks while Alexis Olgard posted a season-high six blocks (one solo, five assisted).
Rachael Kidder led the Bruins with 18 kills and four blocks, but hit just .119 for the match with 13 hitting errors. Sara Sage had nine kills with six blocks in the middle while Karsta Lowe had 12 kills for the Bruins.
Jupiter hit one from the back row, followed by Olgard's kill on the overpass as USC took the 14-9 lead in the first set. Jupiter garnered another back-row kill with Fuller acing the Bruins as USC led by eight, 18-10. Down 22-16, Kelly Reeves started the comeback for UCLA as the Bruins would stun the Trojans with a 10-2 run to take an early lead in the match. USC accounted for five hitting errors during the UCLA stretch.
Similar to the first set, USC led out midway through the second set by a 17-12 score. Williams had two kills, but two service errors by the Trojans kept the Bruins in it with a 22-19 USC advantage. Fuller gave set point at 24-22, but Kidder and Katie Camp got the Wooden Center crowd of 2,087 on its feet with back-to-back kills for the 24-24 tie. After a USC timeout, Sara Shaw answered with a key kill and Jupiter followed by tooling a kill off the UCLA block to tie the match.
After Sage's ace in the third set made it 10-7 in favor of USC, Olgard started four in a row as the Women of Troy for the 14-7 lead. Three straight blocks by the Trojans made it an 8-1 run for another big lead, 18-8. With USC leading, 23-14, UCLA again responded. Sage and Lowe stuffed a USC attempt to cap five straight points, but still trailed by four at 23-19. Jupiter delivered from the back row again for set point before Bojana Todorovic recorded two straight kills. USC caught a break when Sage served into the net out of a Trojan timeout for set point.
For the first time in the match, UCLA took the lead early on in the fourth set at 10-7. Olgard sparked a 7-1 run as USC took the lead, 14-11. Two Bruin blocks tied the set at 15-15. At 17-17, Shaw gave the Women of Troy the lead that they would not relinquish. Jupiter used her last solo block on the night to give USC the four-point lead and a net violation later called against the Bruins helped USC to win the match and even the season series.
USC now awaits the release of the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket pairings on Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. The Women of Troy will make their 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Pac-12 Conference automatic bid by earning the conference regular-season title last weekend.
Notes: Alex Jupiter now has 118 career solo blocks and needs two to tie Emily Adams (2001-04) for fourth place on USC's all-time list...Katie Fuller's previous season high for kills was 15, set twice...Natalie Hagglund is now in ninth place on USC's single-season list with 478 digs...Hagglund needs 11 digs to tie Katie Haller (1991) for eighth place...Alexis Olgard beat her season best for blocks by one tonight (5 at California, 10/29).
USC 24-26-25-25 UCLA 26-24-21-20