Women's Volleyball Advances To NCAA Final Four!
Dec. 8, 2000
LOS ANGELES -- Junior middle blocker Jennifer Pahl had a match-high 16 kills and the No. 2 USC Trojans registered a three-game sweep Thursday over the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions, 15-11, 15-9, 15-4, in the NCAA Pacific Regional Final at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. With the victory, the Trojans will make their first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1985.
USC (29-2) will face the winner of the Mideast Regional, either UCLA or the Wisconsin/Kansas State winner, in the national semifinal on Thursday (Dec. 14) in Richmond, Virginia. The national championship will be played on Saturday (Dec. 16).
'I'm really proud of how we executed,' said USC Interim Head Coach Jerritt Elliott. 'We wanted to push our tempo at them tonight with a fast attack. It definitely was a team effort and a well-balanced attack. We are going to enjoy the win this weekend and refocus for the Final Four.'
'I'm still sort of in shock, but we are really excited,' said Pahl. 'We were expecting a drawn-out match, but we really came out with a lot of fire.'
USC dominated as the Trojans outhit the Nittany Lions by a .425 to .159 margin. Freshman middle blocker Katie Olsovsky recorded the highest hitting percentage of the season by a Trojan with a .750 effort (12 kills on 16 attempts with no errors) and Pahl hit .583 (16-2-24).
Mishka Levy and Katie Schumacher led Penn State (30-6) with 15 kills each.
'I thought we got throttled by a USC team that was more ready to play,' said Penn State Head Coach Russ Rose. 'We had some players who were out of synch and unable to get into the match.''USC has a terrific squad. Their freshmen class is exceptional and very tough to defend,' said Rose.
In the first game, USC had difficulty closing out Penn State, similar to last night's match against Florida. The Trojans had a 14-4 lead before the Nittany Lions roared back with seven straight points. After several game points, Antoinette Polk delivered a block to record the game-winner for the Trojans. USC hit .500 for the game.
Down 3-2 in the second game, Penn State put the pressure on with a 5-0 run to take a 7-3 lead. The Trojans, however, used their own run by reeling off 10 straight points for a 14-7 advantage.
Once again, the 15th point proved to be difficult for USC as Penn State battled against several game points and recorded a couple of points. USC senior Janae Henry hit a kill off a Penn State block to wrap up the second game.
Penn State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third game, but USC answered with another impressive run of 14 consecutive points. The Women of Troy saved their best effort for the final game with a .567 hitting percentage.
USC has not lost a single game so far in four post-season matches.
NCAA PACIFIC REGIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
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