USC Women’s Volleyball Knocks Off No. 13 UCLA in Five-Set Thriller
LOS ANGELES – The USC women's volleyball team (15-15, 10-10 Pac-12) concluded the regular season with a thrilling five-set win (22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10) over crosstown rival No. 13 UCLA (23-5, 16-4 Pac-12) at Galen Center on Friday, Nov. 26.
- Gr. OH Paige Hammons posted her first double-double as a Trojan (ninth of her career) with a season-high 16 kills (4e, 46att, .261) to go with 11 digs and two blocks.
- Gr. OH Brooke Botkin recorded her eighth double-double of the season (47th career) with 16 kills (5e, 38att) and a .289 hitting percentage with 10 digs, one block, and a season-high three service aces. She becomes only the 11th USC player to cross the 1,500 career kills plateau and now has 1,506.
- Jr. OPP Emilia Weske led the Trojans with 21.0 points scored on 13 kills (6e, 43att) seven blocks (one solo), and a season-high tying four service aces. Weske also had nine digs, just one shy of logging a double-double.
- Gr. MB Sabrina Smith led all players with a career-high eight blocks (one solo) and added two kills.
- Fr. S Mia Tuaniga put up 43 assists with 11 digs for her eighth-career double-double and tallied two service aces.
- Gr. LIB Shannon Scully led the Trojans with 21 digs and added four assists and two service aces.
- Sr. S Raquel Lázaro served three aces and picked up three digs as the Trojans' service specialist.
- For UCLA, Mac May led with 21 kills (10e, 62att, .177) and had 19 digs with four blocks and three service aces. élan McCall had 10 kills, 14 digs, and three service aces. Shelby Martin had 43 assists and 10 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Trojans came on strong in the final two sets to out-hit UCLA, .194 to .184. The Women of Troy also had the slight edge in kills (54-53) and dominated from the service line by a 14-6 count in service aces and held strong at the net for an 11.5 to six advantage in blocks.
- The Bruins led by as many as seven points several times in the first set, but the Trojans closed to within two at 23-21 and 24-22 before UCLA sealed the win. Both Botkin and May had five kills apiece to lead their teams in the first.
- USC never trailed in the second and ripped open a big eight-point lead at 20-12 before closing out a nine-point win, 25-16. The Trojans had three blocks and held UCLA to a .000 hitting percentage to get the job done. USC scored four aces and got four kills from Hammons to hold the scoring down while Scully dug up six balls.
- With the third-set score tied for a fourth time at 11-all, the Bruins made a push and used a 7-3 run to take control of momentum. UCLA led by as many as six, but the Trojans made another push down the stretch before the Bruins closed out a 25-21 win to lead, 2-1. Both May and Hammons went toe-to-toe with seven kills apiece in the third.
- The teams went back and forth in the fourth and were tied for the eighth time at 18-all before Scully served the Trojans to a 22-19 lead. Back-to-back kills from Gr. MB Candice Denny gave USC set point. UCLA saved one, but the Trojans held on for the 25-20 win. USC hit .303 in the fourth with 14 kills (4e) on 33 attacks and added three more aces.
- UCLA scored the first three points of the fifth. USC responded and went in front, 8-7, at the side change. Botkin had five kills and a service ace to power the Women of Troy who held the Bruins to just two kills and a .000 hitting percentage in the final frame. The Trojan defense dug up 13 balls with four by Scully alone.
- The win solidifies USC's seventh-place finish in the Pac-12 standings and makes the Women of Troy eligible to be selected into the NCAA tournament with an at-large berth. The NCAA's selection show will be aired live on ESPNU on Sunday (Nov. 28) at 5:30 p.m. PT.
- USC split the season series with UCLA and improves to 61-57 all-time against the Bruins; 23-24 at home.
- Playing the spoiler role, the Trojans' win prevented the Bruins from claiming their first conference title since 1999 (shared with Stanford) and their first outright championship since 1993. UCLA can split this season's title with Washington should the Huskies lose to WSU on Saturday (Nov. 27).
- The Women of Troy improved to 8-7 in home matches this season and to 179-52 all-time at Galen Center.
- USC—playing in its seventh five-set match of the season—improved to 2-5 in those matches. The win makes the Trojans 144-99 all-time in five-setters with a 57-37 mark at home.
- Against UCLA in five set matches, USC improved to 22-13 with a 7-6 mark when played at home. It was the Trojans' first home five-set win over the Bruins since 2008. USC has now won four of the last five five-set matches with the Bruins.
- Now eligible to be chosen for the NCAA tournament, USC seeks to make its 38th appearance in the national postseason tourney and its 30th consecutive.
- Prior to the match, USC celebrated its nine-woman graduating senior and graduate class of Brooklyn Schirmer, Candice Denny, Brooke Botkin, Sabrina Smith, Paige Hammons, Raquel Lázaro, Sarah Nelson, Kylie Baumert, and Shannon Scully.
For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/WVB. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.