SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Behind a 20-kill performance from junior middle hitter Katie Hoekman, the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball picked up a thrilling 3-2 West Coast Conference win over No. 13 Brigham Young University Saturday afternoon at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, to give the Toreros a share of the WCC crown.
With the 25-23, 28-26, 13-25, 23-25, 15-13 win, the Toreros finish the regular-season with a 21-6 overall record and finish as the 2012 WCC Co-Champions with a 13-3 WCC record. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 25-3 overall and are tied with the Toreros as WCC champions.
"We are beyond excited and thrilled with the outcome," stated USD head coach Jennifer Petrie. "I am so excited with how our team played and competed. BYU is an exceptionally strong team this year, and underrated for what they are, as I believe they should be a top-10 team. Just really excited with how the girls played today, just amazing."
With The WCC championship on the line, who would have wanted it any other way than to go five sets. The Toreros grabbed the early momentum in the frame, as a Hoekman kill jumpstarted an 8-3 USD run that was capped on a Sandra Lozic kill. After the two teams switched sides, the Cougars caught a little fire as they went on a 5-1 run to grab back the momentum and pull to within one at 9-8. A BYU service error and attack error then gave USD back the momentum, and forced the Cougars into a timeout. USD would then hold to get and eventually took a 14-11 lead on a Hoekman kill to send the Torero crowd into a frenzy. BYU didn't just fade away, as they managed to regroup and grab the next two points to make things really interesting, trailing 14-13. The Toreros had no fear however, as a Lisa Kramer kill gave the Toreros the WCC championship.
Hoekman recorded her team-best 20 kills on 34 swings, while only committing one error to hit for a .559 clip. Sandra Lozic was the second Torero in double digit kills, as she recorded 16, while also recording 16 digs to record a double-double. C'era Oliveira recoded a career-high 29 digs, which is the fifth best single-match dig total in program history. Both USD setters had a phenomenal day, as they each recorded a double-double with Rachel Alvey recording 30 assists and 15 digs, while Jianna Bonomi recorded 25 assists and 17 digs. Carrie Baird just missed a double-double, as she had nine kills and 19 digs.
In the first set, BYU grabbed the early momentum, as they raced out to a 4-1 lead. USD never panicked, as they slowly began to chip away at the lead, and would pull back to within one at 9-8 on a Lozic kill. The Cougars then answered back with a 5-2 run to take a 14-10 lead and regain the momentum. The Toreros managed to put together a 4-0 run to pull back to within one at 15-14, forcing BYU into a timeout. USD then went on a 7-3 run to grab a 21-19 lead, to again force the Cougars into a timeout. The Cougars managed to stay close and pulled to within one at 24-23, but a Lozic kill then gave the Toreros the first set, 25-23.
In the second set, it was again a closely contested battle throughout. This frame featured 11 ties and four lead changes, with both teams taking their turn with the lead and neither team leading by more than two through most of the frame. Then with the score knotted at 13-all, an Alaysia Brown kill sparked a 3-0 Torero run to give USD a 16-13 lead, forcing the Cougars into a timeout. The two teams then traded point-for-point over the next few volley's, until the Toreros opened up a four-point lead at 21-17 on a BYU attack error to again force BYU into a timeout. The Cougars would eventually tie things up at 23-all, but USD would take set-point on a BYU attack error. USD would then take set-point two more times, and finally with a 27-26 lead, a Carrie Baird kill gave the Toreros the win, as the crowd was chanting U-S-D, U-S-D.
Everyone in attendance knew this match would not be done in three sets, and BYU came out on fire in the third frame, as they caught the Toreros on their heels. BYU raced out to a 5-0 lead, and basically never looked back, as they went on to claim the set 25-13.
In the fourth frame, the Toreros came out of the gate on fire, as they went on a 4-1 run to open things up. BYU kept hanging around however, as they would not allow the Toreros to get too far ahead. Then with the Toreros leading 10-7, a USD service error sparked a 4-1 BYU run witch pulled the teams even at 11-all. The Cougars then went on an 11-4 run to take all the momentum and a 22-15 lead, which forced USD into a timeout. San Diego didn't just fade away, as they put together a 9-1 run to make things really interesting, only trailing by one at 24-23. But BYU was able to grab the final point to force the fifth and final set.
USD will now await the NCAA selection show to learn where and who they will be playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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