USC tops Hawaii in five-set thriller
Trojans overcome deficit to advance to national quarterfinals
HONOLULU – No. 3 Hawaii saw its postseason run come to end on Friday, falling in five sets to Southern California, 19-25, 29-27, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12. The Rainbow Wahine close the season at 31-2 while USC (28-4) moves on to Saturday’s regional final.
Jane Croson and Kanani Danielson carried the Bows throughout the match, both recording over 20 kills and digs. Croson, who posted her third double-double of the postseason, had career-highs in both (25 kills, 23 digs) and Kanani Danielson had 21 kills and 23 digs. Brittany Hewitt recorded a match-high 11 blocks.
Alex Jupiter had a match-high 33 kills for the Trojans.
In front of a sold out crowd, UH struck first with a 25-19 set one win. The Bows held early leads of 7-3 and 13-6 before USC rallied to cut the lead 17-14. Katie Fuller (12 kills, 8 digs) and Sara Shaw (8 kills, 11 digs) each posted a kill in the run. Hawai‘i returned the favor, as Croson nailed consecutive kills to push UH’s lead up to 23-18. Hewitt and Kaela Goodman recorded block assists to clinch the win.
The second set saw USC even the match with an epic 29-27 win. Fuller and Alexis Olgard each had a pair of early kills for the Trojans, but Croson and Chanteal Satele (12 kills) responded with two kills to give UH a 12-9 lead. The Bows staved off four set points before a Fuller kill won the set and evened the match for USC.
Undaunted, UH returned from the break to capture a 25-19 set three win, inching one set closer to a trip to the NCAA Final Four, but could not seal the win in set four. Satele gave the Bows a 19-17 lead, but USC rallied with three consecutive points. Danielson later posted a kill to give UH a 23-22 lead, but the Women of Troy again scored three consecutive to earn the win.
The fifth set saw USC take an early lead and hold on to the win. The Bows trailed by as many as four points before storming back to cut the lead to 13-12, but Jupiter and Shaw put down kills to win the match.