After a brief scare, UCLA women’s volleyball team proved that they deserve their No. 1 ranking Tuesday night, defeating USC, 5-15, 15-6, 15-4, 15-8, before a crowd of 427 in the Campus Gym at USC.
USC opened the match playing textbook volleyball behind senior blocker Jamie Hatchett and sophomore outside hitter Lonise Norfleet. The Trojans’ first-game rout of the Bruins caused Coach Andy Banachowski to change his lineup going into the second game.
“We were too pumped up and awed by the crowd in the first game,” Banachowski said. “We had to settle down and play our game and once I changed our lineup everything fell in place.”
Leading the way for the Bruins were junior blocker Daiva Tomkus, sophomore outside hitter Samantha Shaver and senior All-American setter Ann Boyer.
Tomkus’ consecutive kills and block of a Norfleet kill led the Bruins to victory in the second game.
In the third game, UCLA stormed to an early 8-0 lead and never looked back. Shaver had several key blocks and kills down the stretch as USC’s offense struggled.
“We just fell out of rhythm offensively after the first game,” USC Coach Chuck Erbe said. “We started playing very tentatively and did not execute very well.”
The Trojans played UCLA tougher in the fourth game, but the Bruins’ defense never gave USC a chance to put together any string of points.
Said Tomkus: “USC has a very complicated offense, so we had to really concentrate on our defense. We hoped that our blocking would get them frustrated and it did.”
Tomkus finished the match with 12 kills, 4 digs and 2 blocks, while Shaver finished with 11 kills, 4 digs and 1 block.
UCLA is now 14-0 overall, 7-0 in the Pac-10. The 14th-ranked Trojans fall to 12-5, 4-3 in the Pac-10.
Senior outside hitter Nancy Hillman led the Trojans with 14 kills, 7 digs and 2 blocks and blocker Megan McCallister finished with 12 kills, 9 digs and 2 blocks.