No. 1 Women Of Troy Earn 3-2 Win Over Defending NCAA Champion Cardinal
Oct. 4, 2002
STANFORD, Calif. - In a match-up of what some consider the top two teams in the country, No. 1 USC women's volleyball and defending NCAA champion Stanford took it to the limit on Friday night, as the Women of Troy walked away with a 3-2 (23-30, 30-27, 28-30, 30-25, 24-22) win in front of 3,937 at Maples Pavilion.
The two-hour, 37-minute match left the rowdy home crowd exhausted as the Women of Troy and Cardinal engaged in long rallies and a thrilling fifth-game effort that finally ended 24-22 in USC's favor.
With the win, the Trojans (11-0, 5-0) kept their undefeated record in tact and took sole possession of first place in the Pac-10. Stanford dropped to 12-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The USC win also snapped the Cardinal's 26-match home win streak.
Stanford out-played USC at the start of the match, holding the Trojans to their lowest single-game hitting percentage of the season (.143) en route to a 30-23 win to start the match. But after chasing the Cardinal in the opening game, the Women of Troy matched Stanford's effort in game two. With 10 tie scores, USC eventually earned a 30-27 win to even the match at one game each.
The Trojans suffered from a barrage of errors in game three and found themselves at an eight-point deficit twice in the contest (18-10, 20-12). Despite 6-2 and 5-0 runs to knot the score at 27 and 28, the Trojans lost the game, 30-28. Again, USC bounced back and easily took game four, 30-25, with a much-improved .364 attack effort.
Tied at two games apiece, the tie-breaking fifth game was a battle til the end. The Women of Troy earned the first two-point advantage (5-3), but watched it slip away as Stanford used a 9-4 run to take a commanding five-point lead and reach game point, 14-9. On the brink of elimination, USC used a timeout, and, upon returning to the court, managed to hold the Cardinal at game point by scoring the next five-consecutive to tie the game, 14-14.
But the game was far from over as USC and Stanford reached a tie score eight more times and shared nine game-point opportunities. To add to the emotion of the deciding game, at 19-18 the Cardinal thought they had clinched the match when a USC attack went long, but the referees called Ogonna Nnamani in the net and play resumed at 19-19.
Despite struggling for most of the night, USC sophomore Alicia Robinson contributed the Trojan's three most important points of the match. Down 22-21, two straight Robinson cross-court kills put the Women of Troy ahead, 23-22. The final point was scored as Robinson and junior Katie Olsovsky blocked Logan Tom's final attack.
Neither team played a flawless match. USC out-did the Cardinal in kills (89 to 77) and services aces (8 to 2), but Stanford out-hit (.305 to .218) and out-blocked (19.0 to 12.0) the Women of Troy. Six USC players finished with double-digit kills, including outside hitter Keao Burdine who led with 18 in addition to posting 14 digs. Libero Nicole Davis contributed a career-high 24 digs, Olsovsky led with six blocks, setter Toni Anderson tallied 46 assists and blocker Emily Adams hit a team-best .400 for the match.
Stanford was led by Tom who collected 29 kills off of 69 attacks (.319) and 20 digs in the match.
USC next travels to Berkeley on Saturday, Oct. 5, to face Cal at 7 p.m.
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