Dec. 13, 2003
LINCOLN, NE - UCLA gave the defending NCAA Champions a run for their money on Saturday night in Lincoln, NE, but a key injury in game two turned the tide and USC defeated the Bruins 24-30, 30-26, 30-17, 30-17 to advance to the NCAA Semifinals in Dallas, TX. The Women of Troy remain undefeated with a 33-0 record while the Bruins complete their season with a record of 24-9. USC retains all 10 Lexus Gauntlet points for women's volleyball with the victory over UCLA.
The two teams came out evenly matched to start the night, with UCLA holding a slim 15-14 lead when the first television time out of the evening was called in game one. From there, the teams would trade points until the Bruins ripped off five straight points with libero Chrissie Zartman on the bench and junior outside hitter Brynn Murphy at the service line to take a 20-16 lead. The Women of Troy would never re-take the lead, as the Bruins closed out the opening game with a 30-24 win. UCLA hit .343 as a team with 15 kills and just three hitting errors. Brittany Ringel led the Bruins hitting .400 with five kills and one error on 10 total attacks. The remainder of UCLA's 15 kills were distributed between Heather Cullen (3), Cira Wright (2), Brynn Murphy (2), Colby Lyman (2) and Krystal McFarland (1). Conversely, the Women of Troy hit a stunningly low .167 as at team with 18 kills and 10 errors in the game.
It was more of the same early in game two, as the teams again hit the media timeout with UCLA holding a 15-14 lead. This time, the teams would again trade points to 18-all before UCLA started building a small lead at 20-18. The critical play of the match would occur as the Bruins led 23-22. On a play that ended with an Emily Adams kill to bring the Women of Troy within one point of the Bruins, freshman outside hitter Colby Lyman went down with a sprain of her left ankle and had to be carried off of the court. Just five rallies earlier, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski had inserted Lyman's backup, Becky Green, into the lineup to serve for Brynn Murphy, so Banachowski put freshman Katie Carter into the front row to replace Lyman.
UCLA held on to keep the score tied to the 25-all mark before USC began to pull away, eventually sending the teams to the locker room tied at one game apiece after a 30-26 USC win.
Coming out of the break between games two and three, the Bruins appeared ready to pick up where they had left off in game one, but USC sprinted out to an early four-point scoring run behind the service of Katie Olsovsky and April Ross to take a 6-2 lead. From there, USC started to pull away, eventually extending a 10-point lead at 22-12 and UCLA was unable to recover.
Game four had a disastrous start for UCLA, as the Women of Troy scored 12 consecutive points before the Bruins were able to put a point on the scoreboard. It provided USC with an insurmountable lead as the Women of Troy advanced to the NCAA semifinals with a 30-17 fourth game victory.
"I thought that we came out ready to play and play hard," said UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski. "We played hard in the first game and then everything seemed to fall apart in the middle of the second game"
Brittany Ringel led the Bruins with 17 kills in the match, and was joined in double figures by Heather Cullen with 12 and Brynn Murphy with 10. Chrissie Zartman led the Bruins in digs with 17. Before her injury, Colby Lyman recorded five kills for a .364 attack percentage and recorded five digs in just under two games on the floor.
USC advances to the NCAA Semifinal in Dallas, TX, on December 15 and will play Minnesota in Thursday's first semifinal match. The loss concludes UCLA's 2003 season. UCLA's Chrissie Zartman and Brittany Ringel were named to the All-Tournament team along with USC's Emily Adams, April Ross, Bibiana Candelas and MVP Keao Burdine.