Volleyball Falls Three Points Short Of NCAA Final Four

Dec. 7, 2001

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Senior opposite hitter Jill Talbot had a match-high 18 kills Friday to propel Arizona to its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Final Four with a dramatic 25-30, 30-24, 30-24, 28-30, 15-12 win over USC in the Pacific Regional final at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The No. 5-seeded Wildcats went on an 8-1 run to close out the match on junior outside hitter Shannon Torregrosa's kill. The No. 4-seeded Women of Troy held leads of 11-7 and 12-9 in the fifth game, but Arizona rattled off six straight points to win the match.

Arizona improves to 25-4 overall while USC - which advanced to last year's Final Four - finishes the season with an equal 25-4 mark.

Arizona won the rubber match of the season series between these Pac-10 Conference rivals. USC swept Arizona in Los Angeles on Sept. 29 while the Wildcats returned the favor with a sweep in Tucson on Oct. 25.

A key point of the match came late in the second game with Arizona up 25-21. USC sophomore outside hitter April Ross, a two-time All-Pac-10 first teamer and last year's National Freshman of the Year, suffered an ankle injury when colliding with Talbot at the net. Ross did not return to the match.

'I'm excited about getting to the first Final Four in school history,' said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio, in his 10th season with the Wildcats. 'It means so much to our program. I am proud and it is well deserved on the seniors' part.'

Arizona hit .232 for the match while USC hit .199. Arizona held a 21-12 advantage in blocks. Torregrosa had 16 kills and seven blocks while Talbot had a match-high 17 digs. Teammate Erin Sebbas, a senior middle blocker, had a match-best 10 blocks.

Freshman outside hitter Keao Burdine led the Women of Troy with 16 kills and 14 digs while senior middle blocker Jennifer Pahl had 15 kills.

'We have practiced for Murphy's Law and we thought we could overcome anything,' said USC head coach Mick Haley, in reference to the injury to Ross. 'Tonight, you saw an effort. I'm sorry we didn't win.'

Arizona faces Long Beach State this Thursday (Dec. 13) at San Diego State's Cox Arena in an NCAA semifinal match. The other two teams will be determined in action tomorrow.

NCAA Pacific Regional All-Tournament Team

Dana Burkholder, Arizona - Most Outstanding Player
Jennifer Pahl, USC
Jill Talbot, Arizona
Katie Olsovsky, USC
Courtney Miller, Pacific
Stacey Gordon, Ohio State

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