USC advances to national semifinal
Jupiter tallied 17 kills and added 29 digs to lead the Trojans
HONOLULU -- USC defeated Pepperdine 3-2 on Saturday night.
Alex Jupiter, who tagged down 33 kills versus Hawaii on Friday night, led the Trojans (29-4) with 17 kills and 29 digs tonight. Jupiter was ultimately named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Libero Natalie Hagglund paced the floor with 32 digs.
Both teams had a hard time putting the ball away in set one, thanks to phenomenal defense on both sides of the net. The Trojans built a seven point lead, but the Waves fought back. Frederick put the exclamation point on a 6-2 run to bring the Waves within two and force USC to call a time out The break seemed to work for the Women of Troy, who scored three unanswered points out of the break and went on to take the opening frame 25-16.Kim Hill and Stevi Robinson were voted to the Honolulu Regional All-Tournament team.
Senior Hill, who paced the Waves with a match-high 21 kills, echoed the sentiment.
The Waves (25-7) saw four hitters reach doubles digits in addition to Hill. Samantha Cash set a career high with 17 kills. Lilla Frederick and Victoria Adelhelm followed with 13 and 10 kills, respectively.
Defense was the real star of the match, as both teams eclipsed 100 digs. Robinson picked up 29 and Kellie Woolever extended her career-best to 26 digs. Frederick added 21, while Michaela Christiaansen did her part with 14.
Pepperdine founds its rhythm in set two, taking advantage of several free balls that Southern California sent over the net. Although the Waves led most of the set, USC would not go away quietly and tied the match up 21-all. After head coach Nina Matthies asked for a timeout, Hill tipped over a kill to put her team back on top.
The teams traded sideouts to send the set past the 25-point mark.
With USC up 26-25, Adelhelm was left wide open and the middle blocker took advantage with a kill. An attack error gave the Waves set point and a tandem block by Hill and Adelhelm knotted the score at one heading into the locker room.
Cash carried the offensive effort with seven kills on 11 swings. Woolever helped the defense with eight digs, while Robinson added seven in the frame.
The Waves score five of the first six points to open set three, led by two Cash kills and a Katie Messing-Cash block, and continued to roll from there. The Trojans were able to climb back and tie the score at 14, but with Robinson at the service line, Pepperdine reclaimed the momentum. A Cash kill, her fourth of the set, put the score at 24-19 and an attack error clinched the stanza for the Waves.
Adelhelm added four kills on six swings and Messing posted three blocks.
The Trojans took the early lead in the fourth stanza, but Pepperdine remained diligent. Down 12-13, Cash tried to tip a shot but Hagglund came up with the pancake dig. Following a Frederick dig, Cash got a second chance to put the ball away and this time made good on her swing to knot the score at 13. USC answered with 3-1 run that would put the designated home team back on top for good.
The teams prepared to go a fifth after the Trojans put set four away, 25-19.
Although the Waves led in the early going, USC kept the attack errors to a minimum to control the offensive rhythm of the final set. Hannah Schraer nailed down the final kill to send USC to the national semifinal.