Oct. 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES -

Courtesy of USC Athletics

The No. 8 USC Women of Troy handed the No. 7 California Golden Bears their first loss of the season with a thrilling five-set win in front of 3,324 at the Galen Center (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15). USC rallied from a 14-12 deficit in the fifth set with a 5-1 run for the victory.

Junior All-America outside hitter Alex Jupiter (Paris, France/Redondo Union HS) had a season-high 26 kills and 32.0 points with 18 digs, three aces and four blocks for USC (14-2, 3-2). Falyn Fonoimoana added 15 kills while Alexis Olgard had a strong performance for her second straight match with a season-high 12 kills and a .500 hitting clip (12-1-22). Junior setter Kendall Bateman posted 64 assists with 12 digs.

Tarah Murrey led all players for Cal (15-1, 5-1) with 34 kills while hitting .394 (34-6-71), adding nine digs. Correy Johnson had 12 kills and seven blocks with Kat Brown adding 11 kills and seven blocks. Senior setter Carli Lloyd had 58 assists, 10 digs and seven blocks for the Golden Bears while Robin Rostratter had a match-high 21 digs.

Olgard had three kills followed by three straight from Jupiter as USC built a 10-4 lead in the first set. Murrey answered for the Golden Bears with three of her own as a 5-2 run later brought Cal within two at 15-13. After USC's first timeout, Fonoimoana hit hard off the Cal block to start four straight points as the Trojans got back to a six-point lead, 19-13. Bateman tipped off the block on a broken play and Jupiter registered a key solo block as the Women of Troy would take the opening set. USC hit .400 in the first set (14-2-30).

Cal raced to a 7-2 lead to open the second set, but Olgard's kill sparked a key stretch of six straight points as the Trojans took the 8-7 lead. USC led by three at 12-9, but two hitting errors tied the score at 13-13. Murrey put Cal ahead at 16-15, but Jupiter came back with two straight kills and a solo block for the 20-18 USC advantage. Two blocks from the Golden Bears kept them in the set, but Fonoimoana figured for two kills as the host Trojans took the 2-0 lead in the match.

USC looked to salt the match away by opening the third set with a 7-0 run, thanks to strong serving by Jupiter. Adrienne Gehan brought the Golden Bears back as they chipped away at the deficit and used five straight points to take the 14-13 lead. With the score at 18-18, Murrey took charge and accounted for the next five points for the 23-20 score. An attack error made it 24-23 for Cal and the clincher came when Johnson and Kat Brown combined for the block to stay alive in the match.

Brown showed what she could do for Cal with four kills to spur an 11-5 run in set four. USC got within one through the middle portion of the set, but Cal still held on to the 21-18 lead. Gehan and Murrey went back-to-back for three straight and Murrey put one down to send the match into the fifth set.

Both teams battled to a 4-4 tie in the deciding set. Fonoimoana served up an ace and a Cal attack error put USC up, 6-4. After a timeout by the Golden Bears, Cal turned the tables with a 5-1 run as back-to-back blocks made it 9-7. USC called a timeout, but both teams continued to trade points. Fonoimoana made it 13-12 for Cal, but Murrey delivered from the back row for match point at 14-12. Jupiter and Olgard came up with a huge block and another Cal hitting error tied it at 14 apiece as the Golden Bears burned their final timeout. Johnson came out of the break with a kill to hand Cal another match point, but Jupiter tied it with a kill and stuffed Brown on a one-on-one situation to give USC its first match point at 16-15. Brown's next attempt sailed wide as USC completed the exciting victory.