Dec. 10, 2010

Courtesy of USC Athletics

DAYTON, Ohio -- Junior setter Kendall Bateman (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) had a career-high five kills with 35 assists, 10 digs and three blocks as the No. 6 seed USC Women of Troy swept the Indiana Hoosiers, 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-20), in an NCAA regional semifinal. USC advances to the regional final tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Pacific) against No. 3 seed Stanford, who defeated Ohio State tonight in four sets. The winner of the USC-Stanford match advances to the Final Four next weekend in Kansas City.

The Women of Troy (28-4) have won 14 of their last 15 matches and earned its 16th 3-0 sweep on the season.

Junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter had a team-high 13 kills for USC to go with nine digs while junior middle blocker Lauren Williams was second with 10 kills while hitting .444 with a team-high four blocks in the match. Falyn Fonoimoana added eight kills with six digs while sophomore opposite Katie Fuller chipped in seven kills against one error (.333). Freshman libero Natalie Hagglund had 13 digs for the Trojans.

Ashley Benson led Indiana (23-12) with 13 kills and three blocks as the Hoosiers made their first-ever Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament. Jordan Haverly added nine kills, but was held to a .031 hitting percentage by the Trojans.

After Williams went back-to-back, Bateman served an ace to put USC ahead, 5-2, in the first set. Benson kept the deficit at three for IU, but Bateman later snuck a kill off the Hoosier block to push the advantage to 11-5. Williams and Bateman kept the lead at six with a block for the 14-8 score. Indiana got within four at 15-11 but setter Whitney Granado suffered an injury and went to the bench. USC continued its blocking game to get back to six points at 19-13, thanks to Alexis Olgard and Bateman. Two Trojan service errors aided the Hoosiers, but Jupiter started four in the row as USC would close out the set with an opening lead.

Granado would come back in the second set and record an ace to tie it at 5-5. Mary Choudoin and Benson combined on a block to give the Hoosiers the lead at 10-9. Taylor Wittmer and Kelci Marchall used another block as Indiana stayed ahead at 16-15. USC utilized an Indiana hitting error to retake the lead with three straight points, 20-17. Haverly got the Hoosiers within one, but a Williams kill and Williams/Fuller block gave USC the 22-19 score. Indiana hit long to give USC the 2-0 lead after two sets.

Fuller's kill helped the Women of Troy race to the 9-2 lead in the third set, but a feisty Hoosier squad battled back. Benson started a streak of five straight points, bringing the deficit to two at 9-7. Bateman used another kill to start three straight with USC ahead, 14-10. Melanie Hicks aced the Trojans as Indiana came back to tie at 15-15, but Williams put USC back in charge with a kill to start five straight points. Fuller earned a kill and followed with a service ace as USC finished the sweep.