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Saint Mary's Season Ends At Hands of USC

Nov. 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES, Calif. --- One night after a stirring comeback earned the Saint Mary's volleyball team an NCAA Tournament win, the Gaels couldn't find that magic again in losing 28-26, 25-16, 25-19 to No. 4-ranked USC.

With the loss, Saint Mary's finishes the season 18-11. The Gaels rallied from two sets down to beat San Diego State on Thursday, advancing to Friday's match against USC at the Galen Center. Saint Mary's finished third in the West Coast Conference, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Facing the Trojans (29-5) on their home court, Saint Mary's (18-11) looked every bit USC's equal in the first set. Gabby Jolly converted nine of 13 attempts, hitting a staggering .615 in the set and leading the Gaels offensively.

But for all the back and forth, USC had the answers when it needed them. A kill by Jolly gave the Gaels set point at 26-25, but a block by Alexis Olgard evened the score. A kill by freshman Samantha Bricio, followed by another block by Olgard, gave the Trojans the first set victory.

For as close as the first set was, the Gaels did themselves in a bit with four service errors in the frame.

USC put some distance between itself and the Gaels in the second set, led by the tandem of setter Hayley Crone and the big arm of Bricio outside.

An attack error by USC brought Saint Mary's to within three at 18-15, but the Trojans controlled the action from there, winning the second set comfortably.

USC took the lead early in the third set and never looked back. Kristina Graven provided most of the Saint Mary's offense in the frame, but the Trojans stormed out to a lead and won the set handily to take the match.

Jordan Shaw led the way for Saint Mary's with 13 kills. Jolly added 12 kills, Missy White had 23 assists and Kristina Graven had 11 kills.

Courtesy of SMC Sports Information