Women of Troy come away from Washington empty-handed

The No. 4 Washington Huskies rallied late Saturday for a Pac-10 victory over the No. 16 USC women’s volleyball team, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-10), as the Women of Troy suffered their fourth consecutive loss.

Bianca Rowland led for the Huskies with 15 kills and no errors for a .625 evening (15-0-24) as the Huskies avoided their first home loss of the season limiting USC to .071 and .077 hitting in the final two sets.

“We played a real nice match but just didn’t finish,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “To take Washington to five in their own building is a good thing. We played four of the five games really well.”

Rowland broke a 7-7 fifth-set tie with a kill that sparked Washington to three straight points and a victory. Kindra Carlson posted a team-high 18 kills with three aces and 15 digs, while Jill Collymore had 16 kills and 17 digs for Washington (17-1, 7-1). Jenna Hagglund recorded 57 assists and 12 digs while Tamari Miyashiro had 30 digs.

USC sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter led all players with 25 kills to go with 13 digs. Senior outside hitter Jessica Gysin (14 kills, 15 digs) and junior opposite hitter Kimmee Roleder (13 kills, 16 digs) also recorded double-doubles for the Women of Troy (13-6, 2-5), while Kendall Bateman chipped in 53 assists and nine digs. Senior libero Alli Hillgren matched Miyashiro with 29 digs in the match.

Although the Women of Troy dropped another road match, Haley was proud of the way his team played.

“I’m hoping this is a turn around and a focus forward by this group,” he said. “They seem to have gotten out of their trance and now need to stay focused and stay forward.”

Saturday’s defeat followed an upset loss against unranked Washington State Friday night, where the Women of Troy played out of sync the entire match as the Cougars swept the USC (25-17, 28-26, 25-23).

“We started off bad in the first set,” Haley said. “We had a couple of good performances by specific players, but we couldn’t get it together until it was too late.”

Jupiter continued her strong play with 21 kills and nine digs, and a career-high four serving aces Roleder recorded 15 kills and hit .414 and Bateman had 42 assists and eight digs.

Haley admits his team has not played well away from the Galen Center this season, which is why he is looking forward to this weekend’s matches against Oregon and Oregon State at USC.

“We have to have those wins if we have to get back into this,” Haley said. “But Oregon beat Stanford this weekend, and we went five with Washington, so it’s up in the air.”

USC hosts Oregon State Friday evening and Oregon Saturday afternoon, as the Women of Troy try to get back on track.

“I felt like this weekend we played better volleyball and we were more productive,” said Haley of his team’s recent slide. “If the blocking improves now, the defense in the back row will too, and we’ll be better off.”