The No. 13 USC women’s volleyball team traveled across town this weekend looking for a win against No. 16 UCLA in the Pac-10 conference match at Pauley Pavilion Friday, but the Bruins managed to breeze to a 3-0 sweep (27-25, 25-20, 25-22).
The Bruins defeated the Women of Troy for the fourth straight year, improving UCLA’s record to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-10, while the Women of Troy dropped to 13-4 and 2-3.
“I thought we had a good fight and played extremely hard,” USC coach Mick Haley told usctrojans.com after the game. “We made errors at the wrong time, but I thought we executed the game plan very well.”
Although the loss came as a hard hit to the Women of Troy, several players had excellent games.
Sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter snagged her fourth-straight double-double with a team high of 13 kills and 14 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Lauren Williams fired off nine kills without an error. Williams hit .529 in the match, along with seven blocks.
Junior outside hitter Kimmee Roleder left with 10 kills, while hitting .333 in the game.
That was not enough to push the Women of Troy to a win in the first set, however. At the beginning of the set, kills by UCLA’s Dicey McGraw gave the Bruins a quick 4-1 lead.
Junior middle blocker Zoe Garrett got the Women of Troy back up in the game, cutting UCLA’s lead to 6-4. Williams raked in a side-out for USC, as Jupiter recorded three straight kills that allowed the Women of Troy to finally take the lead, 12-11. The set continued with competitive play until a foot fault call on Jupiter tied the game 24-24.
Although Roleder later tied it up with a cross-court shot, Williams missed a shot to give UCLA the set.
“We had that first set in our grasp and we let them off,” Haley said. “We have got to work on sealing the deal. If our team continues with this effort, especially in practice, we are going to be good.”
The second set started out better for USC. Williams’ blocks prompted the Women of Troy to a 7-6 lead, but UCLA took the lead shortly after three straight kills, bringing the score to 9-7. The play went back and forth before it was tied at 13, when UCLA had a 6-2 run to lead 19-15.
Roleder’s roll shot and kill decreased USC’s deficit to 19-18, but UCLA again bounced back and took the 2-0 lead in the match.
Garrett, Roleder, Williams and Jupiter kept the Women of Troy in the lead for a significant period of the third set, generating a 15-11 lead. After a kill by Williams, the Bruins retaliated with three straight. Although Roleder kept the game 20-19 in favor of USC, UCLA pulled back ahead and later sealed USC’s fate with two back-to-back kills.
“We have to be more aware in working on our blocking,” Haley said. “UCLA was able to pass tonight and run their quick offense. Our blockers couldn’t keep up with it, especially on the left side. We have to keep working at that.”
The Women of Troy are back on the road this weekend as they head to the Northwest to play Washington State Friday and Washington Saturday. Both matches are at 7 p.m.
“Our match at Washington State next Friday is everything for us,” Haley said. “We need to be the best we can be. It’s always a hard place to play because of the long travel.”