Third-Ranked Women Of Troy Tested In Three-Game Sweep Of Devils

Oct. 26, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State Sun Devil volleyball team held tough against the third-ranked University of Southern California Women of Troy, but in the end, they were just too tough, racking up a 30-24, 30-34, 32-30 three-game sweep in Pac-10 volleyball action Friday evening in front of a season-high crowd of 1,561 at Wells Fargo Arena.

Behind 14 kills from two-time reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week Katie Olsovsky and 11 kills from freshman Keao Burdine, the Trojans improved to 15-2 on the year and improved on their Pac-10 lead with a 9-1 record. Facing their 12th consecutive loss to the Women of Troy, the Sun Devils dropped to 7-12 on the year and are now 2-9 in conference action. Phoenix native Alicia Robinson (Central High School) returned home to record nine kills and contribute one block.

The Sun Devils were led by three players with double-digits in the kill department. Junior middle blocker Julia Leddy (Mesa) shrugged off a recent string of sub-par matches to record 12 kills, hitting .455 (12-2-22). Senior outside hitter Jami Coughlin (Glendale) recorded her 16th match this year with 10 or more kills, logging 10 in the defeat. Sophomore outside hitter Kim Mehlhorn (Tempe) extended her string alive of consecutive matches with at least 10 kills to eight, recording 10 Friday evening. Sophomore middle blocker Jodi Smith (St. Johns) tallied a career-high six total blocks as well.

The Women of Troy came out firing in the first frame, trying to rid themselves of the 3-0 loss to Arizona on Thursday. Despite not lighting the court on fire, defense was the name of their game, limiting ASU to a .070 hitting percentage to pick up the 30-24 win. USC was led with three kills each from Robinson and Olsovsky. The Women of Troy out-blocked ASU 7-3. Coughlin led the Devils offense with five kills and Mehlhorn tallied three.

The Sun Devils played USC tough in game two, but couldn't hold on down the stretch to fall 30-24. A see-saw battle from the beginning, ASU tied the game early at 7-7, fell behind in the middle 17-11, and made a stellar comeback to knot the game at 22-22. Two key blocks by USC down the stretch and consecutive hitting errors from Coughlin and freshman Alicia Akporiaye (Tucson) gave the Women of Troy the spark they needed.

In one of ASU's best performances of the year, the Sun Devils nearly pushed the match to a fourth game. Fending off 10 ties, the Trojans fought to the end to pick up the 32-30 win. ASU led by as much as two late in the match (25-23), with a crucial block and service ace from Smith fueling the rally. USC battled back to tie the match at 30 and capitalized on a key block from Olsovsky and ended the match when Olsovsky tallied her 14th kill of the match to give the Trojans the victory. USC has now won 14 of its last 15 matches.

The Sun Devils will take a week off from Pac-10 action, returning to the court next Saturday (Nov. 3) against rival Arizona. Counting the in-state rivalry next weekend, ASU has three remaining home matches and seven total matches left in the 2001 season.

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