No. 6 Hawai'i Ends No. 12 Southern California's Season With 3-0 Sweep

12/6/2008

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Jamie Houston led with a match-high 17 kills and eight digs Saturday as the No. 7 seeded Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (ranked No. 6 in the nation by Bison/AVCA) swept the USC Women of Troy (ranked No. 12 in the nation), 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-22), in the second round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament at the Galen Center. UH hit .307 for the match, including a .483 clip in the third and deciding set.

Amber Kaufman had a monster night for Hawai'i (30-3), hitting .714 (10-0-14), while freshman Kanani Danielson had 13 kills, 15 digs and three blocks while hitting .310 (13-4-29). Dani Mafua recorded 43 assists and eight digs for the Rainbow Wahine.

USC finished the season with a 17-12 overall record, led by freshman outside hitter Alex Jupiter (Hermosa Beach/Redondo Union HS), who had 12 kills and hit .300 on the night (12-3-30). Jessica Gysin had nine kills and seven digs, but committed seven hitting errors. Freshman setter Kendall Bateman made her second consecutive start and had 16 assists while junior All-America setter Taylor Carico added three kills and 11 assists.

Danielson's kill gave Hawai'i a 7-5 lead to start the first set. Jupiter put the Trojans ahead on back-to-back kills for the 8-7 advantage. Kaufman and Aneli Cubi-Otineru stuffed a USC block as the Rainbow Wahine retook the lead at 10-9 and used a 5-1 run to extend the score to 13-10. UH kept the lead at three until Carico caught the defense napping by pushing a kill into the back row. USC used back-to-back blocks, cutting the deficit to one, 20-19. Gysin capped a string of three with a solo block as USC took the lead at 21-20, but it was no problem for Houston and the Rainbow Wahine with five straight points to take the first set.

Houston and Danielson were the story again in the second set as kills from both players gave them the 8-5 lead. Houston served an ace and added another kill for the four-point lead at 11-7. Nickie Thomas and Danielson led out as UH built their lead to five at 15-10 and later to 19-13. A 5-1 run, featuring two kills from Kaufman, helped at the end as Hawai'i took the commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Both teams went back-and-forth in the third set as neither team could build a lead more than a point. At 10-10, Danielson sparked three straight points for the Rainbow Wahine, but back-to-back terminations by Lauren Williams kept the score at 13-12 in favor of Hawai'i. Danielson put UH up by three, but Gysin sparked four straight as USC took the lead, 16-15. Two kills from Kaufman was the center of a 4-1 run as Hawai'i retook the lead for good at 19-17. Houston finished it with three kills as USC ran out of time as the Rainbow Wahine celebrated the win on Danielson's kill for the sweep.

Hawai'i will face Purdue in an NCAA regional semifinal match next weekend in Fort Collins, Colo., hosted by Colorado State.

Notes: USC has made 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round every time...Jessica Gysin became the 16th player in Trojan history to record 1,000 kills in her career, needing six kills to reach that plateau (she now has 1,003 in her career)...Alex Jupiter finished the season with 350 kills, becoming just the third freshman in USC history to lead the team in kills (Tracy Clark in 1982 and April Ross in 2000).

Article courtesy of Southern California athletics.

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