The third-place Women of Troy have only lost one game at the Galen Center this year, and they are hoping that number remains the same when they play their final home matches of the season this weekend.
With just five games left in the regular season, the No. 6 USC women’s volleyball team is trying to rack up every win it can to move up in the Pac-10 standings.
USC will host No. 20 Arizona tonight before facing Arizona State on Saturday.
“It’s important that we have wins in the next few weeks, but certainly we want to win at home,” USC coach Mick Haley said.
Friday’s match puts USC up against a team it has already defeated this season. The Women of Troy knocked off the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., last month. But Arizona is very hungry for a win and might not be easy to beat a second time.
“Arizona’s trying to move into our slot and get into the hunt to be one of the top three teams in the conference,” Haley said.
On Saturday, USC will play an Arizona State team that is only 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the Pac-10. But the Women of Troy are not taking the Sun Devils lightly, especially since they upset USC earlier this season in Tempe, Ariz.
“They’re playing actually better now than they played before, and we’re going to be at home, so I expect us to be much more focused also. So, it should be an interesting, interesting battle,” Haley said.
Even with the improvement of the Sun Devils, Haley still believes his team is capable of winning Saturday’s match, as long as the Women of Troy limit their mistakes.
“If we restrict the number of free points that we give to them with our errors, they’ll have a hard time beating us. But if we give them points, it’s going to be a very close game,” he said.
Last weekend, USC knocked off then-No. 2 California for the second time this season before losing to then-No. 3 Stanford. While Haley claims his players have given a lot of effort this week in practice, it seems the loss might still be hanging over their heads.
They’re really upset about not being able to play well against Stanford,” Haley said.
The Women of Troy are hoping to avoid a repeat of last weekend, not only because they want to improve their record but also because Saturday night’s game has an additional significance.
USC’s match against Arizona State marks Senior Night for three USC players. Middle blocker Zoe Garrett as well as outside hitters Geena Urango and Kimmee Roleder will all be honored for their contributions to the team throughout their college careers.
“It’s always hard because you have kids for four years or five years, and you know it means it’s their last home match and last time they’re going to put that uniform on at home unless it’s the NCAA tournament, so it’s always really special,” Haley said.
Both of USC’s matches this weekend will be at 7 p.m.