Oct. 28, 2005
LOS ANGELES - A hard-fought Lexus Gauntlet match between cross-town rivals ended with a four-game victory for the Women of Troy on Friday night at USC. Game scores were 37-35, 26-30, 30-22, 32-30. The Bruin offense had four players with double-figure kills, led by a career-high 19 from junior outside hitter Katie Carter. UCLA is now 11-8 (4-6 Pac-10), while the Women of Troy improve to 11-7 (7-3 Pac-10).
The first game of the match was spotlessly played by both teams, with UCLA hitting .344 as a team to USC's .419. The Bruins took an early lead and were ahead 19-15 before the Women of Troy tied the match at 22-all. From there, USC took a narrow lead, and served for the game leading 29-26, but UCLA answered with three consecutive points on kills by Nancy Barba and two from Kaitlin Sather to tie it up at 29-29. From there, the teams traded points and UCLA fended off 10 game points before a Staci Venski kill gave USC the opening game win at 37-35. In the opening game, Sather downed nine kills and hit .500 with one error on 16 attacks, adding a service ace and four digs. Defensively, freshman libero Jordan Smith made the difference with 13 of the team's 31 digs.
Game two was also a closely contested affair with the teams tied as late as 20-20 before Sather stepped back to serve five consecutive points, giving UCLA a 24-20 lead. USC would score consecutive points just once more in the game as UCLA cruised to a 30-26 win. Katie Carter hit .467 in the game with eight kills and one error on 15 attacks. Nellie Spicer and Colby Lyman each had six digs in the second game.
After the break, USC came out quickly, sprinting to a 9-2 lead. UCLA was unable to recover, falling 30-22. Nancy Barba was UCLA's top offensive performer in the game, downing six kills on an error-free eight attacks for a .750 attack percentage in the game.
USC once again took an early lead in game three, but UCLA capitalized on a five-point run behind the service of Jade Machado to cut the deficit to four points at 17-13, then put together another three-point run to pull within one point at 18-17. Kaitlin Sather served the Bruins to a tie score, as UCLA capitalized on a pair of USC attack errors to bring the score at 20-20. A Jordan Smith service ace gave the Bruins a 22-21 lead before USC put together a four-point run to lead 26-23. Once USC earned its first match point with a 29-26 lead, UCLA sparked a rally, following a USC ball handling error with a block from Nana Meriwether and Nellie Spicer, then a block by Meriwether and Carter to tie the game at 29-all. A Sather service error gave USC its fourth match point, but a Carter kill re-tied the game at 30, but USC would then score the next two points to prevail 32-30.
Katie Carter's 19 kills led UCLA's offense, followed by a 16-kill, 13-dig effort from Kaitlin Sather. Also in double-figures were Nancy Barba with 14 kills and three block assists and Nana Meriwether with 13 kills and six blocks, four of them solo. Jordan Smith had a second consecutive strong match defensively, posting 29 digs in the four-game match.
UCLA returns to action next week as the Bruins travel to Oregon to face the Beavers and Ducks. Tonight's match will air on a tape-delayed basis, airing Saturday at 6 pm on FOX Sports West 2. It will also be broadcast on Sunday at 1 pm on FOX Sports West, then on West 2 on Monday at 3 pm and 8 pm.