No. 4 Washington Battles Back To Overcome No. 16 USC, 3-2
Oct. 18, 2009
Courtesy of Washington Athletics
SEATTLE - Trailing 2-1, the No. 4 Washington volleyball team dug in its heels and rallied back for a thrilling 3-2 victory over the 16th-ranked Trojans, sending 2,686 fans home happy from Bank of America Arena tonight. It was the first time this year that the Huskies (17-1, 7-1 Pac-10) have trailed after a non-deciding set, but they were able to get their first comeback win of the year, 25-21, 22-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-10. The Trojans fall to 13-6 overall and 2-5 in the Pac-10.
Washington's middle blockers did a number on the Trojans tonight, as sophomores Bianca Rowland and Lauren Barfield had a number of clutch kills. Rowland was error-free on 24 swings, racking up 15 kills for a .625 hitting percentage. Barfield also had a career-high eight kills and four blocks. Junior Kindra Carlson (18 kills, 15 digs), senior Airial Salvo (13 kills, 10 digs), senior Jill Collymore (16 kills, 17 digs), and junior Jenna Hagglund (57 assists, 12 digs) all registered double-doubles for UW. Alex Jupiter had a match-high 25 kills to lead USC.
After falling behind 2-1, UW's defense locked down, holding the Trojans to .071 and .077 hitting in the fourth and fifth sets, respectively. Senior Tamari Miyashiro, the two-time National Defensive Player of the Year, posted a season-high 30 digs to keep UW in point after point.
"I think this match will end up serving us well down the road. I thought we played well with our backs against the wall, but we sure hit a lull in games two and three," said head coach Jim McLaughlin. "We played well when we had to, we just have to do that from start to finish, and we haven't done that. (Miyashiro), she dug some rockets. She passed, and she kept talking to our team and kept us in it even when it was tough. And it hasn't always been tough on us, so we need some matches like this to play under those types of situations."
For the 18th time in 18 matches this year, the Huskies jumped on top after the first set. Collymore had three of the first five kills for the Dawgs, as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead and USC had to take its first timeout. Her fourth kill screamed to the floor, and then she took over serving duties and hit an ace followed by another liner that USC misplayed without a return which made it 8-2. Carlson earned consecutive kills to stretch the lead to 11-4. Bianca Rowland banged down her first point to make it 16-9 Dawgs. USC made a run to cut it to 17-14, but Lauren Barfield fired one down to stop the bleeding. Still the Trojans got to 18-16, but Alex Jupiter hit long and Airial Salvo sent in an ace and the Trojans took another timeout. Coming out of the break, Barfield and Collymore banged down UW's first block of the night for a five-point lead. On set point, Salvo found a gap in the block and her first kill gave the Dawgs the 25-21 set win. Washington hit .333 for the set, led by Carlson and Collymore who combined for 11 kills without an error on 26 attempts.
A Rowland serve got passed over the net by the Trojans and Barfield pounced on it to tie the set at 5-5. But the Trojans recorded the next three points and UW needed time to think things over. The run reached five points before Barfield stopped the run with her fourth kill. Washington began to battle back, and a save by Collymore off a missed connection was followed by a great Miyashiro dig, and USC sent its next shot long and then called time with its lead having shrunk to 12-11. A seeing-eye Collymore shot on the next point tied it, and Carlson grabbed the lead for the Dawgs with a big finish on the next point. USC needed another time after Carlson painted the back line for an ace to make it 15-13 UW. USC retook the lead out of the break with three-straight, before Rowland hammered one into the corner to tie it at 16. The set continued to see-saw, but USC opened a 22-19 lead after errors from Carlson and Salvo with a USC block from Jupiter. Junior Becky Perry checked in and saved a set point with her first kill, then Rowland and Collymore combined for a block to pull it to 24-22. Jupiter's fired home a kill on the next point however to win it for the Trojans, 25-22.
USC got out to an early three-point lead in the third set. Kelly Holford checked in with USC up 8-6, and had a pair of excellent serves that brought the Huskies back even. USC took a 12-10 lead and Washington took time. Collymore earned a much-needed kill to pull UW to 14-12. A long rally followed and Rowland got a roar with her seventh finish to cut the deficit to one, but USC bounced back with two-straight. The Huskies got within one on several occasions, until a Salvo ace finally brought the two teams together at 20. The teams traded sideouts until 23-all, when a Collymore serve landed just long. Rowland tied it at 24 with her 10th kill, but the Trojans got the final two points to claim the set, 26-24.
Washington came out aggressive in the fourth set, picking up the first four points with stellar defense and a block by Rowland and Collymore that prompted an early USC timeout. Washington continued to take it to the Trojans, and another disruptive Holford serve followed by a Salvo put-away made it 9-2 Dawgs. USC cut the gap down to three points at 12-9 at which point Washington took time. Collymore gave the serve back to the Dawgs with a kill down the line. Rowland and Collymore teamed up to reject a Jupiter attempt and get UW back up 15-10. A textbook Carlson dig on the next point then led to another Collymore kill. But the Trojans would not go away, and crept to within 18-16, forcing the Dawgs to call their last timeout. Salvo created some breathing room with a kill off the block on the next point, then replicated the feat off a bump set by Collymore and USC needed time of its own. Carlson swooped in for a kill off the block to bring about set point, and a blast from Collymore was blocked with for the 25-20 win for the home team. UW's defense told the story in the fourth, as USC was held to .071 hitting and committed 10 errors.
The Huskies misfired on a couple attacks to let USC out to a 3-1 lead, but Trojan miscues followed by a Salvo put-away gave the Dawgs the 4-3 lead. A tough Salvo serve was passed too near the net and the attack was blocked by Collymore, with USC taking time down 6-4. USC got back to 7-all, but Rowland answered with her 14th kill and the teams traded sides with UW up 8-7. A Salvo back-row attack opened a slim 9-7 edge. UW was on the defensive much of the next point, but eventually Collymore got a good lead from Hagglund and powered it off the block for the kill and USC took its last stoppage. Jupiter bailed out USC after the Dawgs had several great chances at 11-8, but Rowland responded with a rocket that made it 12-9. Salvo banged one down to bring up match point at 14-10 as the crowd rose to its feet. USC's Gysin attacked the next ball but was greeted by Barfield and Carlson, who blocked it back off the Trojan to end the night with a 15-10 win for Washington. The Huskies were superior in every category in the fifth, hitting .375 to .077, digging 17 balls to USC's 10, and earning two blocks to zero for the visitors. Salvo, who had struggled in the early going, was terrific in the final frame with five of UW's 11 kills.
The last time UW was down 2-1 in a victory was against these same Trojans, last year in Los Angeles. Washington will now wrap up the first half of Pac-10 play in Pullman, against a talented Washington State team. That match is set for Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.