No. 5 USC Advances In Another Five-Game Thriller Over No. 25 Long Beach State
Dec. 1, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Senior All-America right-side hitter Asia Kaczor (Wroclaw, Poland/College of Southern Idaho) led with a team-high 34 kills and tied a season best with 17 digs Saturday as the No. 5 USC Trojans defeated the No. 25 Long Beach State 49ers, 3-2 (28-30, 30-24, 30-25, 21-30, 15-11), in second-round action of the 2007 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. With the win, USC finishes the season with a perfect 19-0 record at the Galen Center as the Trojans won their 25th straight match at home.
USC (27-4) also remains perfect in five-game matches this season at 7-0 with five of them coming against Top 25 opponents. The Trojans are now 2-1 all-time in postseason play against the 49ers. It is the seventh time in the past eight seasons that the USC program has advanced to a regional semifinal.
Kaczor hit .305 (34-9-82) on the evening with three assists and three block assists. In the process, she set a new USC single-season record for kills. Her 11th kill on the evening broke her own record of 563 set last season. She now 587 on the season and is hitting .301 on the year with a 5.10 kills-per-game average.
With 35.5 points, Kaczor now has 670.0 on the season which is also a new school record to beat her own record of 642.5 set last year.
Freshman Zoe Garrett (Laguna Beach/Laguna Beach HS) had 12 kills in the match for USC, hitting .526 (12-2-19) and leading the Trojans with eight blocks (one solo, seven assisted). Sophomore setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) had 60 assists with seven kills, 10 digs, one ace and four block assists. Senior Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) had 11 kills and a season-high 18 digs while junior Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos/St. Francis HS) added 16 kills.
Alexis Crimes led Long Beach State (26-7) with 24 kills, 14 digs and seven block assists. Ashley Lee also had a huge double-double with 17 kills and 20 digs for the 49ers while Naomi Washington had 10 kills while hitting .348 (10-2-23) with five block assists. Setter Nicole Vargas had 64 assists for Long Beach State with five kills (no errors), seven digs and two block assists.
It was all Long Beach State in the first game at the start. Washington and Crimes stuffed a USC attempt for a 7-2 lead and the Trojan timeout. Two attack errors by USC pushed the Long Beach State advantage to a 13-3 score. After USC burned its final timeout, the Trojans responded with an 8-1 run out of the gate, but the 49ers still led, 14-11. Zoe Garrett had three kills to bring the Trojans to a deficit of just one at 16-15, but that is as close as USC would get in the game. Crimes put down two straight to push the lead back to three. Later in the game, Crimes would chalk up another kill to give the 49ers game point at 29-25. A 49er service error led to three straight points for USC and a 29-28 score. Long Beach State called timeout and after the break, Lee closed the game out with a shot down the left side as the 49ers took the lead, 1-0, in the match.
In game two, it was USC's turn to take a quick lead at 9-5. Verdin's solo block capped three straight for the 49ers for a 9-8 score in favor of USC and it would stay that close through the middle of the game. Up 22-19, USC scored four straight to take charge. After Garrett scored a kill sandwiched between two kills by Crimes, the Trojans held off a late run by the 49ers to tie the match.
USC took an 8-3 lead in game three before Long Beach State scored three straight. With an 11-8 advantage, the Trojans reeled off eight straight points to lead, 19-8. Two overpass kills by Washington and four kills by Lee helped the 49ers get back within five at 25-20. Long Beach State got as close as four, but USC held on to take a 2-1 lead.
At 5-5 in game four, the 49ers took it to the Trojans with a 15-6 run. Sarah Hudson registered back-to-back aces in the early part of the streak as Crimes added two more kills and assisted on a block with Washington. Long Beach State had a 25-15 lead at one point and a USC service error sent the match into the fifth game.
For the deciding game, it was the 'Crimes and Kaczor Show' as both had three kills each in six straight sideouts for a 4-3 Long Beach State lead. After a LBSU service error to tie the game at four apiece, the key momentum swing came on a Carico/Garrett block, followed by a Copenhagen kill for a 6-4 USC lead. Lee hit a kill, followed by a Copenhagen kill as USC led, 7-5. Washington made it a 7-6 margin, but Carico's '310' kill started a streak of three straight points as Gysin recorded a solo block for a 10-6 USC score. Crimes made it 11-8 for the 49ers, but USC again used a solo block, this time from senior Bethany Johansen for the 13-8 lead. The 49ers scored two straight, followed by another kill from Kaczor and Crimes. Carico tallied her final kill with a crosscourt shot from the right side as USC advanced.
USC travels to the Gainesville (Fla.) Regional next weekend to face St. John's in the third round on Friday (Dec. 7) with the winner facing the Florida/Texas winner on Saturday (Dec. 8) for the right to advance to the NCAA Final Four in Sacramento.
LBSU 30-24-25-30-11USC 28-30-30-21-15
Records: USC (27-4), Long Beach State (26-7)Kills: Asia Kaczor 34 (USC), Alexis Crimes 24 (LBSU)
Team: LBSU USC1 .254 .2042 .204 .3483 .170 .2604 .349 .2865 .143 .269Match .228 .271