The USC women’s volleyball team bounced back after a sweep at the hands of its crosstown rivals at home last week, knocking off No. 4 Washington (25-20, 28-26, 25-20) and Washington State (25-17, 25-15, 25-11) in straight sets.
No. 13 USC (7-3, 2-1) went into Pullman Saturday and handily defeated the unranked Cougars (8-4, 0-2) behind a dominating offensive performance, as the squad hit .447 on the evening.
“There was no letdown against Washington State, which was great,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “The team was really focused.”
Senior All-American middle blocker Lauren Williams led all players with 13 kills while hitting .571, and Fuller added 12 kills for the Women of Troy while hitting .579.
Two dominant runs in the first and third set keyed the victory for USC.
The team broke away from a 4-4 tie in the opening set with a 15-5 run, then followed that with a 16-5 burst in the closing set.
“We were really good at attacking throughout the match,” Haley said. “They couldn’t handle a 6-foot-5 body in the middle like [Williams].”
USC started its trip handing Washington its first loss of the season Friday. It was the team’s first victory against the Huskies (9-1, 1-1) in Seattle since 2003.
Sophomore outside hitter Sara Shaw and junior outside hitter Katie Fuller both recorded career highs with 15 kills to lead the Women of Troy.
“I thought we had a chance to beat Washington,” Haley said. “I just didn’t know it would be a 3-0 win on the road. But we took advantage of a good situation. We played consistent[ly], made [just] a few errors and pulled it out.”
After the UCLA game, Haley decided to move Shaw into the starting lineup in favor of sophomore outside hitter Kirby Burnham, who saw limited action against the Washington schools.
The lineup change worked.
Shaw hit .513 in the two matches while recording a total of 23 kills, 17 digs and two blocks.
“Sarah has been sick for a long time, and is just now looking like she’s getting stronger,” Haley said. “[Shaw] actually has more playing experience than Kirby, and it looks like she has her confidence now, too.”
Sophomore libero Natalie Hagglund tied a school record against the Huskies for most digs (30) in a three-set match, and senior All-American setter Kendall Bateman had 41 assists.
USC comes home for two of the toughest matches on its schedule, squaring off against No. 1 California (13-0, 3-0) and No. 2 Stanford (8-1, 2-1) next weekend.
“It’s going be a real battle against Stanford and Cal next week,” Haley said. “Cal is the No. 1 team in the nation, and Stanford is going to want to come in here and win after losing to them last week.”
The Women of Troy host California at 7 p.m. Friday, then play Stanford at 6 p.m. Saturday evening.