3rd-Ranked Volleyball Rallies To Beat Bruins, 3-2

Oct. 20, 2001

WESTWOOD, Calif. - The third-ranked USC women's volleyball team battled back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the fifth-ranked UCLA Bruins 3-2 (25-30, 28-30, 30-21, 30-22, 15-11) in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,452 at Pauley Pavilion on Friday (Oct. 19) night. The Women of Troy improve to 14-1 overall and 8-0 in the Pac-10 with their 13th-consecutive win. The Bruins fall to 10-4, 5-3 in conference play.

The victory completed a two-match sweep over the Bruins this season and marked USC's first win in Westwood since 1998. The two victories also give USC its first 10 points (five points for each match) in the Lexus Gauntlet Challenge which tallies points for each Trojan-Bruin head-to-head competition and will determine a winner at the end of the 2001-02 season.

Despite a slow start, the Trojans posted impressive numbers against the Bruins. USC out-did UCLA in kills (80 to 70), attack percentage (.296 to .179), digs (72 to 70) and blocks (15.0 to 11.0). The team saw career-best performances from freshman Alicia Robinson with 20 kills (.244) and eight blocks, and sophomore Katie Olsovsky who tied her personal best with nine blocks in addition to 10 kills (.391) and 10 digs. April Ross and UCLA's Ashley Bowles led all with 21 kills apiece.

Jennifer Pahl also shined in her final match at Pauley Pavilion. The senior middle blocker hit at a team-leading .524 clip with 12 kills and five blocks.

'I was not about to leave here losing this time,' said Pahl who is the only player on this year's squad who played in 1998 when USC last won at UCLA. 'After the second game we came back out onto the court with a different mentality. We told ourselves that we were not going to lose.'

UCLA opened the match with a 4-0 run, and held the lead throughout the first game. The two teams posted nearly identical statistics. USC had 14 kills to UCLA's 13, the Women of Troy had nine errors to UCLA's eight, both teams had 45 attacks and an identical .111 attack percentage and 20 digs. The Bruins capitalized on nine USC attack errors for the 30-25 win.

Game two was closely fought throughout, as the teams were tied as late as 28-28, and neither team held a lead greater than two points at any time. UCLA prevailed 30-28, thanks to the efforts of Bowles who served for five-straight points at one time.

The third game of the match started much like game two, but at 9-7 the Trojans built an eight-point lead (21-13) with a 12-6 run thanks to six UCLA errors. USC increased the lead to 10 before earning its first game win, 30-21.

For the first time, the Trojans came out firing in game four and quickly took an 8-2 lead while Rossl served for six of the seven points. The Bruins never came close and USC cruised to a 30-22 win.

The fifth and final game was decided on the service of Olsovsky, who served five straight points to turn a 3-3 tie into an 8-3 Trojan lead when the teams switched sides. UCLA closed within 14-10 before the match was decided with a 15-11 USC victory.

UCLA played this match without Kristee Porter, who has been declared ineligible by UCLA pending a decision from the NCAA regarding possible 'extra benefits.'

The Women of Troy will face Arizona and Arizona State this Thursday (Oct. 25) and Friday (Oct. 26) on the road.

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