USC stumbles against crosstown rival Bruins
Among a record crowd of 5,385 fans, one could actually hear the groans coming from the Galen Center in between each of USCâs unforced errors.
No. 8 UCLA capitalized on every single mistake, every single error and swept No. 9 USC in three sets, 19-25, 17-25, and 17-25.
âQuite honestly, our team didnât play well,â USC coach Mick Haley said. âWe didnât execute well, and it was disappointing the way we seemed to give up.â
The Women of Troy (5-3, 0-1) could not get into a rhythm, struggling to consistently string together any type of offense. Senior outside hitter Alex Jupiter finished with nine kills, although she also had seven errors and senior middle blocker Lauren Williams finished with eight kills but committed six errors. Sophomore libero Natalie Hagglund finished with 17 digs.
Led by the play of UCLA senior setter Lauren Van Orden, who finished with 32 assists, six digs and four kills, the Bruins capitalized on USCâs mistakes.
âWe certainly lost both the serving game and the passing game,â Haley said. âWe violated our fundamentals, which are not to give points to the other team. We gave way too many free points.â
Haley pointed to the third game as a microcosm for the entire match, where things looked like they could turn in favor of the Women of Troy. In the end, however, they did not.
âWe missed the opportunity in the third game, when we broke their momentum and neutralized it,â Haley said. âWe should have been ready to take advantage of that, [but we didnât] recognize it.â
The schedule doesnât get much easier for the Women of Troy, either, as they face the No. 5 Washington next week on the road.
âWe have to work very hard on the serving and passing game,â Haley said. âOur blocking is really not good right now âŚ Thatâs what weâve been working on, and it didnât show tonight. We have to look at how weâre getting after it. If we need to change, we need to change, but we have a lot of work to do.â
Haley did see a few positives following their performance.
âI got a lot of the freshmen into the match,â he said. âAnd in this kind of a situation, I would hope they would grow from that âŚ Weâre just going to have to get tougher.â
The Women of Troy are playing more freshmen than the coaching staff anticipated, as Haley believes that since a lot of the games werenât close towards the end, it made sense to put in younger players to help them develop.
The Women of Troy take on Washington in Seattle on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. and Washington State on Sept. 17.