Huskies Fall Short At No. 4 USC
Nov. 5, 2011
LOS ANGELES - The Husky volleyball team played progressively better throughout the night, but late runs in each set by fourth-ranked USC helped the Trojans to the 25-15, 25-16, 25-21 victory in front of 2,612 fans at the Galen Center. 10th-ranked Washington (18-6, 10-6 Pac-12) was led by senior Bianca Rowland for the second straight night, as she had eight kills and hit .368, but UW hit a season-low .106 on offense.
For the second straight night in SoCal, Washington's opponent was on fire on offense, as the Trojans (20-4, 15-2 Pac-12) hit .343 after UCLA had hit .390 last night. A senior laden team with several All-Americans which made the Final Four last year, this is the first time USC has swept the season series from UW since 2003. Despite leading the NCAA in blocks entering the weekend, the Huskies were out-blocked, 6.0-4.0 by USC, the same totals as last night. The Huskies also had zero service aces for the first time all season.
USC was led by All-Americans Alex Jupiter and Lauren Williams, who had 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Sophomore Gabbi Parker was another bright spot for the Dawgs, as she had six kills and hit .278.
The Huskies were right with the Trojans midway through the first set, but USC went on a big run late to take control. Muñoz had the first kill of the night for the Huskies and Barfield and Ross blocked Jupiter for a 6-6 tie. USC hit several service errors early but were connecting on offense. Consecutive kills by Muñoz and Rowland made it 9-all, but the Trojans then had a 3-0 run to force a Husky timeout. Vansant notched back-to-back kills to cut the USC lead to 12-14, but USC stretched the lead to five on a block of Ross. Barfield put one away in the middle to make it 14-18, but from there the Trojans ran off on a 7-1 streak to end the set. Jupiter had three kills and the Trojans got a block on freshman Kaleigh Nelson who had subbed in during the run. Katie Fuller converted on set point as the Trojans closed it out, 25-15. They hit a staggering .484 in the set while the Huskies were at .027. Jupiter had seven kills and Lauren Williams killed all four of her swings for USC.
The Trojans took a quick 4-1 lead in the second set after an ace from Natalie Hagglund, but the Huskies would stabilize as Rowland went to work again. Gabbi Parker recorded a kill to cut it to 5-7, but USC bounced back with two straight until Barfield put down the Sanders set for 6-9. Vansant's arm made it 9-12, and UW then found Rowland twice and Barfield once in the middle to keep cutting the deficit to three. But after a Jupiter kill and an attack error from Sanders, the Huskies called time trailing 12-17. Parker broke the run out of the break with a kill, and Ross and Barfield put up a roof against Jupiter for 14-18, but another three-point push by the Trojans made it 22-15 and forced another Washington timeout. Vansant broke the run but UW was unable to close the gap, and the freshman made a couple errors late as USC again closed hard to take the set, 25-16. This time it was a 7-2 USC run to end the set. The Huskies hit .176 in the set but USC was still more efficient at .387. Rowland had four kills on nine swings but UW had just eight digs to 17 for USC.
Kills from Vansant and Rowland gave the Huskies an early lead in the third set. Washington used their best sustained run of the match, a four-point push, to take a 7-3 lead and force a USC timeout. Parker started the run with a kill, followed by a block by Barfield and Ross and an attack error by the Trojans, then another kill by Parker to finish it. But USC came back out of the break with three points to force the Dawgs into a timeout. Again it was Parker with the finish to stop the run, and then Ross and Rowland put away consecutive kills to get the Huskies back out to a three-point edge at 10-7. Vansant killed an overpass for a 12-8 UW lead. But the Trojans came right back with five of the next six points to tie it up at 13 and force a Husky timeout. Vansant killed an overdig of her first swing out of the break to keep the lead. USC though killed the next two to take its first lead at 15-14, until a ball-handling error made it 15-all. After a Sanders kill tied it at 16, USC went on a late run for the third straight set, running off four straight with a block error and two missed swings from UW. Down 16-20, Ross got a kill and Muñoz finished following a USC miscue to force a Trojans timeout. Muñoz finished again to tie it up at 20-all, but Jupiter put USC back ahead with a finish and then Rowland made her first attack error of the weekend for 20-22. She came back with a block along with Muñoz to trim the lead to one, but then USC blocked Vansant, and the Trojans closed it out with consecutive kills for the 25-21 victory. The Huskies slowed USC's offense to .209 in the third set but still hit just .119 themselves, despite three kills on seven swings from Parker, who hit .429. UW had more kills, 14-13, in the third set but made five more errors and USC had two aces to none for UW.
Washington will look to regroup against more Top-10 opposition, as Stanford comes to Seattle next Friday night for a 7 p.m. match, followed by California on Saturday night.