Volleyball Falls Short To No. 1 USC, 3-1

Oct. 25, 2002

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The Washington volleyball team (12-7, 4-6) lost to No. 1 USC (17-0, 10-0) in four games (30-27, 30-17, 25-30, 32-30) this evening at the Bank of America Arena. The Huskies battled back from a two game deficit to win game three but dropped game four in heartbreaking style, 32-30. The match marked just the fourth time this season that the Women of Troy failed to sweep their opponent in three games.

USC jumped out to the 30-27 victory in game one, despite Washington holding the advantage in hitting percentage (.317-.220) and blocks (4.5-3.0). The difference was in the Huskies' sporadic serving as they botched six serves.

The Huskies led the match by four at 9-5 before the Women of Troy chipped at their lead to knot the score at 11-11. USC took its first lead of the game at 17-16 on a kill by Emily Adams and never looked back, pushing its lead to 28-23. The Huskies wouldn't go quietly, however, as back-to-back kills by freshman Darla Myhre (Victoria, British Columbia) and sophomore Sanja Tomasevic (Uzice, Yugoslavia) brought the Huskies within two at 29-27. Washington couldn't stop the potent USC offense, however, and a kill by Lauren Killian gave the Women of Troy game one.

USC cruised to the 30-17 victory in game two, quickly grabbing the 10-point lead at 17-7 and again at 22-12 behind a .333 hitting percentage. The Women of Troy pushed its lead to 14 at 27-15 on a kill by April Ross and three consecutive kills by USC earned the game two victory. The Huskies hit -.025 in the game as their 10 kills were overshadowed by 11 attack errors.

The Huskies battled their way back in game three behind the six-kill performance of senior Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.). Kills by Myhre and Benjamin, combined with three USC errors broke a 12-12 lock and gave UW the 17-12 advantage. The Huskies extended their lead to eight at 29-21 on three Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif.) kills and two kills by Benjamin to force match point. USC wasn't going down without a fight, however, as it reeled off the next four points. A ball handling error by Adams finally lifted the Huskies to the 30-25 win.

The Women of Troy gained momentum early in game four, jumping out to a 16-10 lead. Washington utilized three Benjamin kills and two kills apiece by Tomasevic and Kara Bjorklund (Olympia, Wash.) to come within one point at 17-18. USC reached match point at 29-24 with four straight kills but the Huskies fought off defeat five times to tie the score at 29-29 and again at 30-30. Back-to-back kills by Adams and Keao Burdine, however, gave USC the match victory and improved its record to 17-0.

Benjamin finished the match with 19 kills and 16 digs. Tomasevic added 14 kills and 14 digs. Freshman libero Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.) collected a career-high 21 digs on the night and McDonald recorded eight kills, one solo block and six block assists.

Washington returns to action tomorrow night as it hosts No. 13 UCLA. The Bruins are fresh off a loss to WSU this evening, 3-2, in Pullman, Wash. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.

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