The No. 6 USC women’s volleyball team (11-0) defeated UC Irvine (4-8) Tuesday night, closing out its nonconference season with an undefeated record as it heads toward Pac-10 play.
The Women of Troy downed the Anteaters in consecutive sets, 25-16, 25-18, 25-11, with junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter recording 13 kills, seven of which helped USC come back in the second set after being down 18-16. Junior setter Kendall Bateman recorded 41 assists with two kills and one ace, finishing with a .667 hit percentage.
USC jumped to an early 8-2 lead in the first set and was able to fend off a game-tying Anteater comeback with four consecutive points to take a 15-11 lead. USC maintained the offensive attack and closed out the first set with another six unanswered points.
In the second set, Irvine provided more of a challenge for the Women of Troy, pulling out to a 17-14 lead. But once again, a scoring rout by USC put the set out of reach for the Anteaters, as the Women of Troy recorded nine consecutive points to take a 2-0 game lead.
The third set was the most lopsided, as freshman middle blocker Alexis Olgard recorded three kills in the first nine points, and USC took an early 8-1 lead. The Women of Troy didn’t look back, winning the set in runaway-fashion 25-11.
“It’s always hard to win on the road, let alone win 3-0,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “Irvine played a great second game, but we hung in there.”
Freshmen have played an enormous role in the Women of Troy’s success this year, including freshman outside hitter Falyn Fonoimoana, who recorded nine kills with two aces Tuesday night.
“Our freshmen are a huge part of our success,” Haley said. “With six of them on the roster, they are a major piece of this team.”
Though some believed that the Women of Troy would come out fatigued after having played four games in just five days, Haley said he was not worried.
“We were physically strong the whole time,” he said. “We made sure to get good rest. This team has done a great job of being disciplined this year.”
The Women of Troy begin the conference season against UCLA this Friday at the Galen Center. When asked about the upcoming rivalry game, Haley showed only enthusiasm.
“I’m very excited for UCLA,” he said. “They are another top-10 team, and it should be an unbelievable showdown.”