Sept. 8, 2007
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Behind Laurel Abrahamson's career-high 25 kills, the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (5-3) claimed the championship of the USD Invitational with a 3-1 (32-30, 22-30, 30-24, 35-33) win over the University of Oklahoma (7-2) Saturday evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
With game four knotted at 33-33, the Toreros turned to its youth for some help, and the underclassmen delivered. Freshman setter Kelsi Myers got the Toreros back to match-point with a kill off a set from freshman right side Ali Troost and sophomore outside hitter Amy DeGroot laid down a dominating kill off a set from Myers to give USD the victory and tournament championship.
Abrahamson led all players with her 25 kills on 46 attempts to post a .413 attack percentage. DeGroot was the second Torero in double-digit kills as she recorded 16 kills and added in a career-high 18 digs to post her fifth double-double of the season. Sophomore Torey Ellick recorded a career-high 16 kills on 27 attempts, while posting a career-high .407 attack percentage. Kelsi Myers had a team-best 36 assists and Jessica Nyrop added in 29 assists to help direct the Toreros' offense to a .244 team attack percentage.
For the Sooners, Mariana Blum recorded a team-best 18 kills, while Bridget Laplante (16), Sarah Weiland (15) and Anna Stadel (11) were the other three OU players in double-digit kills. Setter Julie Chester recorded a match-best 59 assists, while directing the Sooners' offense to a .261 attack percentage.
In game one, it was apparent that this match was going to be a close nit fight between two quality opponents. The Toreros and Sooners were neck and neck throughout the game with each team taking their turn with the lead and neither team had a lead bigger then four, until Francie Ekwerkwu recorded a kill to give OU a 20-15 lead. But the Toreros would claw their way back into the game and eventually tie things up late at 27-27 on a Weiland attack error. The two teams then sea sawed back an forth and finally with the score knotted at 30-30, Abrahamson laid down back-to-back kills to lift USD to a game one win.
In game two, the Sooners jumped out to an early 10-5 lead and never really looked back as posted a .295 team attack percentage for the game, compared to that of USD who had a .067 attack percentage. OU would even the match at 1-1 with a 30-22 win.
San Diego then regained its composure in game three as they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, forcing OU to call a timeout. The USD run was sparked by a DeGroot kill off a set from Nyrop and was capped on a kill by Andrea Csaszi The Sooners then slowly chipped away at he USD lead and eventually tied thins up at 14-14 on a Ekwerekwu kill off a set from Chester. San Diego would not relinquish the lead however, as every time the Sooners got close, the Toreros would strike back. The final tie occurred at 20-20, then USD used a 6-1 run sparked by a Abrahamson kill and capped by a Ellick kill to gain control of the game and went on to win 30-24 and took a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth game, it was again a close battle between the two teams, with each team having their turn with the lead. OU took its biggest lead of the game at 13-9 on a service ace, but that lead was short lived as the Toreros came roaring back and knotted the game at 18-18 on a OU service error. The two then sea sawed back an forth, with USD having match-point three times before DeGroot's final kill lifted USD to victory.
The Toreros will return to action on Friday as they host their second consecutive tournament at the Jenny Craig Pavilion next weekend. USD will open play on Friday against Pittsburg at 7 p.m., then will play on Saturday morning against Cal State Northridge and will conclude play in Saturday night against UCLA in a 7 p.m. match.