No. 1 Stanford Defeats No. 5 USC, 3-2, In NCAA National Semifinal Match

Dec. 13, 2007

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Foluke Akinradewo had 26 kills, hitting .523 and adding a team-high nine blocks Thursday as the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal defeated the No. 5 USC Trojans, 3-2 (23-30, 30-20, 30-25, 20-30, 16-14), in an NCAA national semifinal at Arco Arena. Stanford (32-2) advances to Saturday's national championship match to face the winner of tonight's Cal/Penn State contest.

USC finishes the season with a 29-5 record as the Trojans reached the national semifinals for the fourth time in the past six seasons.

Senior two-time All-America opposite Asia Kaczor (Wroclaw, Poland/College of Southern Idaho) led USC with 29 kills and nine digs while senior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) had 19 kills and a career-high 33 digs. Sophomore All-America setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) finished with five kills, 56 assists and 11 digs.

Cynthia Barboza had 17 kills and 15 digs for the Cardinal while freshman Alix Klineman had 14 kills and 30 digs. Setter Bryn Kehoe had 70 assists in the match with two kills and 12 digs.

Stanford outblocked USC by an 11.0 to 8.0 margin with the Cardinal handing the Trojans their first loss in a five-game match this season. USC played in the fifth game in a match for the ninth time this season, a new school record. The Trojans had six aces in the match while the Cardinal did not record a single ace against 10 service errors.

In game one, Kaczor scored two kills for an early 4-1 USC lead. Barboza put three down later as Stanford closed the gap to 7-6. Zoe Garrett recorded a kill and Kaczor put three more in her kill total for an 11-8 USC margin. Akinradewo put down a crowd pleasing kill and a USC attack error made it 11-10 in favor of the Trojans. After both teams sided out, Kaczor scored from the back row to start a streak of five straight with sophomore libero Alli Hillgren registered back-to-back service aces. Garrett added two more kills mixed in with a Carico '310' kills as USC led, 20-15. Two straight terminations by Kaczor kept the Trojans ahead and Copenhagen later served up an ace for the 26-18 score. Stanford had a 4-1 run late with Erin Waller and Akinradewo combining on a block as the Trojans held game point at 29-23. Gysin finished off the game for USC as Kaczor finished the game with nine kills.

Akinradewo put two down for the Cardinal as Stanford forged a 6-3 lead as USC called a timeout. Girard extended it to a 10-5 lead before the Trojans scored three straight. A 4-1 run kept the Cardinal ahead with Barboza capping it for a 14-9 advantage. The Trojans were able to get it down to two at 18-16 after Carico and Garrett combined for a block but the Cardinal stayed up as a 6-2 run kept them ahead at 24-18. Klineman tied the match for Stanford with three more kills at the end.

Stanford kept the momentum going in the third game, taking advantage of several USC errors. After jumping out to the 9-3 lead, Barboza and Akinradewo stuffed a Kaczor attempt and Barboza tallied two more points for the commanding 13-5 margin. Copenhagen tried to bring the Trojans back as a 5-2 run cut it to a six-point deficit, 16-10. Akinradewo held off the Trojans again with two more kills as USC burned its final timeout of the game, trailing 22-15. Back-to-back Cardinal errors put the Trojans down at 24-20, but Stanford was able to hold off USC and take the lead in the match.

Game four started in reverse fashion as the previous game as the Trojans took at 7-2 lead after costly Cardinal errors. Stanford reeled off a 6-1 run to tie at 8-8. Barboza's kill on the overpass gave Stanford its first lead of the game at 11-10, but Kaczor started a 4-1 run as USC took a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. Copenhagen then hammered a kill from the back row for the 18-13 USC lead. Kaczor on the following play, hit a freeball crosscourt and Carico snuck a kill in the middle of the Cardinal defense to finish a 9-1 run for the Trojans to lead, 20-13. Girard wowed the crowd with a hard kill off a Trojan defender, but USC responded with a 4-1 run as senior middle blocker Bethany Johansen used a block for a 24-15 score in favor of the Trojans. Three late errors by the Cardinal sent the match into the fifth game.

Kaczor went back-to-back in game five as the Trojans sprinted to a 4-1 lead. Akinradewo brought the Cardinal back with two kills to tie it at 4-4. After two sideouts, Kaczor and Copenhagen used kills to give USC the 7-5 lead. Two more sideouts and a key kill from Klineman tied the game again at 8-8. Copenhagen and Erin Waller traded kills for a 9-9 score. Kaczor delivered from the back row and added another for the 11-9 USC advantaged, but Stanford tied it again on a Waller kill and a block from Klineman and Akinradewo. Gysin and Katelyn Bishop blocked a Stanford attempt before Akinradewo tied it at 12-12. Kaczor put the Trojans ahead again with a kill, but a ball-handling error against the Trojans tied it at 13-13. Kaczor put her seventh kill down for match point, but her following jump serve just missed the back line. After Barboza and Girard blocked Kaczor for Stanford's first match point, Barboza gave the Cardinal the win with her final kill of the evening.

Notes: Asia Kaczor finishes the season with USC single-season records for kills (658), attempts (1,542), points (745.5) and points per game (5.82)...Kaczor now has two career school records for kills per game (5.05) and points per game (5.74) while hitting .300 in two seasons...Taylor Carico finishes the season with a school-record 1,596 assists...Carico's 12.67 season assists-per-game average places her seventh on USC's single-season list...Kaczor and freshman Geena Urango's 40 service aces place them in a tie for seventh place on USC's single-season list...Sophomore libero Alli Hillgren (Rancho Santa Fe/Francis Parker HS) finished the season with 508 digs, good for fourth on USC's single-season list while her 4.38 digs-per-game average put her fifth on the school list...Freshman middle blocker Zoe Garrett (Laguna Beach/Laguna Beach HS) played in the first two games before being out for the remainder of the match due to flu-like symptoms.

USC	30-20-25-30-14STAN	23-30-30-20-16

Records: USC (29-5), Stanford (32-2)Kills: Asia Kaczor 29 (USC), Foluke Akinradewo 26 (STAN)

Team: USC STAN1 .341 .2952 .270 .4423 .155 .2464 .268 .1365 .226 .194Match .246 .265

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