TUCSON, Ariz. ?- For the first time since the 2001 season, the No. 6 Arizona volleyball team defeated No. 12 USC, doing so in five games (30-26, 23-30, 34-32, 18-30, 15-13) at McKale Center tonight. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 19-5 overall and 11-4 in Pac-10 play.
Arizona was out-hit .207 to .178 on the match, but finished with three more kills ?- 70 to 67 ?- than the Women of Troy.
“The best thing to take away from tonight was that it was a victory, but it was a struggle,” Head Coach David Rubio said. “I can tell when my team is energized and full of life. Tonight we were a little flat.”
“We are not passing the ball very well, but the amazing thing is that when we have nights like this we are still able to win,” he continued. “We were so amped to beat USC. We couldn’t play our game because we wanted to beat them so badly. You play your best when you can be relaxed and get into a grove but tonight we couldn’t do that. It’s nice to win a close match like tonight’s.”
Senior Kim Glass led all players with a career-high 37 kills. She also added 10 digs for her 16th double-double of the season. Senior Jennifer Abernathy also notched a double-double, her 12th of the year, finishing with 17 kills and a team-high 20 digs. She also had a career-high six service aces.
Sophomore setter Amy Dyck dished out 55 assists to go with eight digs. Sophomore Katie Jackels finished with 19 digs.
Game one was played close throughout, with neither team leading by more than two points until the Women of Troy scored five in a row to take a 25-20 lead, forcing Rubio to use his second time out. Arizona came out of the time out with five straight points, including three Abernathy aces, to tie it at 25. The Wildcats went on to win 30-26.
Arizona hit .205 on the game, compared to the .073 of USC, but was out-blocked 4-1. Glass paced the Wildcats with 11 kills.
USC jumped out to a 9-1 lead in game two, forcing Rubio to burn both of his time outs. The Trojans led by as many as 12 and went on to win 30-23. Arizona was out-hit .216 to .114 on the game. Glass led the Wildcats with five kills, followed by Abernathy with four.
The Trojans took a 6-2 lead in game three, but Arizona battled back and took its first lead of the game at 10-9. It was part of a 6-0 Wildcat run that gave Arizona a 14-9 lead. The Women of Troy answered with four straight points to make it a one-point game, but the Wildcats quickly extended the lead back to five. Arizona later led 27-22, but USC went on a 6-1 run to tie it at 28. Both teams then battled back and forth, with four ties before the Wildcats finally pulled out the 34-32 win.
Arizona hit .233 on the game, compared to the .224 of USC. Glass led all players with 12 kills, while Abernathy had six.
The Wildcats scored the first point in the fourth game, but USC then went on a 9-3 run to take a 9-4 lead. Arizona fought back and cut it to two (13-11), but the Trojans scored four in a row to go up 17-11, forcing Rubio to use his second time out. USC went on to win 30-18. Arizona was out-hit .323 to .079 on the game. Abernathy paced the Wildcats with five kills, followed by Glass with four.
In the fifth and final game, Arizona jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but the Women of Troy scored three unanswered points to make it a 7-5 game, forcing Rubio to use a time out. The Wildcats scored the first point out of the time out, but USC answered with three straight points to tie it at eight and force Rubio to use his last time out. Arizona then took a 10-8 lead, but the Trojans quickly tied it at 11. A tie followed at 12, but the Wildcats then scored two straight for match point and won 15-13 on a Trojan service error.
Arizona plays its final regular season home match against No. 14 UCLA at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 19. It’s Senior Night, and the Wildcats’ four seniors will be honored prior to the match.
“Tomorrow night will be an easier match for us in a sense,” Rubio explained. “I think it will be much better to watch because UCLA plays at a faster tempo. The Bruins are a completely different team since the last time we saw them. They are very good and it will be a good match.”