Wildcats Fall to USC, 3-1

Nov. 28, 2009

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LOS ANGELES – After kicking off conference play against USC way back in September, it seemed only fitting that the No. 19 Arizona volleyball team would conclude its regular season vs. the Trojans.  The Wildcats could not pull the season sweep though and were topped by No. 16 USC, 3-1.  Overall set scores were 23-25, 25-22, 36-34 and 25-23.


The Wildcats got off to a comparably better start against USC on Saturday afternoon, avoiding falling into an early deficit as it did each set vs. UCLA on Friday.  Arizona won the first set on a Paige Weber assist to Tiffany Owens, who notched a kill to make it 25-23 UA. Owens led Arizona in set one with five kills followed by Stephanie Snow with four.  Weber handed out 13 assists as the Wildcats led for most of the opening set.


In set two, USC opened up with an early 6-4 advantage, but Arizona ripped off a 4-0 run to lead and necessitate a USC timeout.  Trailing 11-10, USC’s Lauren Williams recorded a kill to tie things up.   Arizona then rallied four straight points by way of two Trojan errors, a block from Snow and a kill from Courtney Karst. USC would comeback however and eventually tie play at 17. With the score still tied at 20, USC earned the next two points on kills from Jupiter.


The Trojans won set two on a miscommunication at the net by Arizona which resulted in a point for USC to make the score 25-22.  Owens and Whitney Dosty both had four kills for Arizona while Snow had one solo block and two assists.  Although the Cats managed to hit .255 in the second set, compared to just .184 in the first, USC went for .293 and picked up big points down the stretch from hitter Jupiter. 


Tied at one set apiece, both teams went back-and-forth opening the third set, each countering the other’s attempt to pull ahead. UA managed to grasp a two-point advantage at 10-8, but that was quickly erased by a 2-0 run from USC to tie things up again.  Arizona would finally persevere behind a 5-1 run to lead 17-14.  The Trojans then came back to tie the score at 19 behind a kill from Kendall Bateman.


Leading 23-21 in the third, Arizona gave up the next two points as USC’s Jessica Gysin slammed both kills to make it 23 all.  As they did early in the set, both USC and UA would trade attacks through extended points. After an extensive rally, USC went ahead 35-34 on a kill from Alex Jupiter.  Then Jupiter killed another set to hand the Trojans the set win and a 2-1 lead. Dosty recorded a season-high 10 kills in the set followed by Owens with nine.


After an exhausting third set, the teams again remained tie early through the fourth set. Southern California took a three-point lead at 16-13 midway through on a kill from Gysin. The Trojans looked to be in control at 22-19 in the fourth, but the Wildcats would comeback and close the gap at 23-22. Then USC won two big points to win the set at 25-23 and the match overall at 3-1.


A number of season-highs were set Saturday afternoon as Weber recorded 59 assists and Dosty notched 20 kills, both highs for 2009.  Owens led Arizona with 22 kills on 64 swings as Arizona hit .224 over the four sets.


Tomorrow Arizona will await its NCAA fate.  ESPN News will broadcast “Selection Sunday” at 1 p.m. MST as the Wildcats hope to earn an at-large bid.


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