Dec. 21, 2002
New Orleans, LA -
Southern California dethroned defending national champion and Pacific-10 foe Stanford 3-1 (30-27, 23-30, 30-24, 30-26) on Saturday to claim its first NCAA Division I Volleyball championship since 1981.
The Women of Troy completed a 31-1 season -- their only loss coming to Stanford on Nov. 2 -- while the loss dropped the Cardinal to 33-5 and ended the brilliant career of two-time AVCA Player of the Year Logan Tom.
Katie Olsovsky paced four USC players with double-digit kills with 16, while Keao Burdine tallied 15 digs to lead all players.
Championship jitters were evident in game one, as Southern Cal overcame 12 hitting errors by finding plenty of gaps in the Cardinal defense for a 30-27 win. The Women of Troy tallied 22 kills in the game, compared with a paltry eight for the defending champs. Stanford hit just .094.
The first frame opened in close fashion, as expected, with the two teams trading points until a 4-0 Stanford run put the Cardinal up 12-8. USC rallied to within one at 14-13 on a Lauren Killian kill and evened up the game at 15-15 after an attack error by Lindsey Yamasaki and took the lead at 17-16 on an Olsovsky kill.
Southern Cal's lead reached as much as three before Stanford called timeout and came back to regain a brief advantage at 21-20. USC closed out the game with three points -- capped by an Alicia Robinson kill that Tom couldn't dig out -- for the 30-27 final.
Stanford opened game two on a tear, taking nine of the first 12 points as Ogonna Nnamani netted three kills and Tom two. The Cardinal kept up that dominance following a USC timeout, going up 18-11 on a blistering .688 pace. The Women of Troy managed to pull within four points at 20-16, but the Cardinal proved too strong in a 30-23 victory.
The Cardinal logged a .600 hitting percentage for the game -- tallying 21 kills to just three errors. Nnamani finished with nine kills and Tom seven in the frame.
After game three opened with in a 7-7 tie, a rash of Stanford errors helped USC sprint to a 19-10 lead. Three consecutive Cardinal points cut the Southern Cal advantage to 20-14, leading to a timeout by the Women of Troy. Olsovsky netted two of her six kills for the game as USC jumped to a 27-21 lead, eventually finishing off the game 30-24 on an April Ross kill.
Southern California steamrolled to a 6-1 start to game four. A 17-11 hole forced Stanford to burn a timeout, after which the Cardinal rallied for four straight points and eventually pulled even at 19-19 on another 4-0 run that was capped by a Ross service ace.
Olsovsky got USC back on track with a kill that gave the Women of Troy a lead they would not relinquish, as Southern Cal closed the match out with a 30-26 win.
The two teams split their regular-season series. Both matches went five games, with each squad winning on the other's home floor.