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USC Finishes With a Flourish

November 29, 2002|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

USC will be in line for the top seeding overall in the NCAA women's volleyball playoffs after finishing the regular season with a flourish.

The Trojans, who regained the No. 1 national ranking two weeks ago, will bring a 25-1 record into the tournament next week after defeating sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara in three games Tuesday. Pairings for the 64-team tournament will be announced Sunday night with first-round action beginning Thursday.

Junior middle blocker Katie Olsovsky had 15 kills and junior libero Nicole Davis tied a career-high with 24 kills as USC won the battle of one-loss teams, 30-28, 30-20, 30-26, before 2,794 at Santa Barbara, the second-largest crowd to watch a match at the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos (28-2) figure to also host the first two rounds after winning their first Big West Conference championship with an 18-0 record.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's water polo tournament begins today with five first-round matches at the Joint Forces Training Base aquatic facility in Los Alamitos.

Eighth-seeded Long Beach State and ninth-seeded UC Santa Barbara open the tournament at 10:30 a.m. Other matches include No. 4 USC against No. 5 UCLA, No. 3 California against No. 6 UC Irvine and No. 2 Stanford against No. 7 Pacific. Top-seeded Pepperdine will play the winner of the Long Beach-Santa Barbara match at 6:30 p.m.

Winners and losers brackets games are Saturday and the finals Sunday. The winner gets an automatic berth into next week's four-team NCAA championships at Loyola Marymount. The runner-up figures to get the one at-large berth.

UCLA will play California for the third time this season Saturday with a berth in the NCAA men's soccer quarterfinals at stake.

The Bruins (14-3-3) advanced with a 4-2 second-round victory over Loyola Marymount on Wednesday while Cal defeated UC Santa Barbara, 2-1. The teams split the two previous meetings with UCLA winning, 2-1, at home Oct. 20 and Cal winning 1-0 in double overtime at Berkeley on Nov. 8.

UCLA will have midfielder Ryan Futagaki back after the senior sat out Wednesday night with a red card collected in the Bruins regular-season finale against Fresno State.

Redlands had a short stay in the NCAA Division III football playoffs as junior Blake Elliott scored on a two-yard run with 46 seconds left to give Saint John's University a 31-24 first-round victory Saturday at Collegeville, Minn.

The Bulldogs finished at 7-3. Senior quarterback Clay Groefsma completed 23 of 44 passes for 378 yards and touchdown passes of 13 and 91 yards to Justin Wilcox and 21 yards to Jake Smeltzer.

Westmont won its second consecutive NAIA women's soccer championship Tuesday and fourth national title overall with a 2-1 victory over Azusa Pacific at St. Charles, Mo.

Tournament most valuable player Kristi Sullivan scored both Westmont goals, the last one in the 74th minute off a cross from Katie Cates. Azusa Pacific scored in the 87th minute on a goal by Erin Arbizu.

Westmont (20-1-3) won all three meetings against Azusa Pacific (16-4-0) this season.

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