The No. 6 USC women’s volleyball team had no answer for Stanford’s stonewall defense at the net, falling 3-0 Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto in the first leg of their Northern California road trip.
“We got some good performances today, but we didn’t also didn’t get some of the performances that we needed to get, and that really did us in tonight,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “We had too many hitting errors today, and you can’t do that against a good team.”
Though the Women of Troy (16-3, 4-3) had 37 kills over the course of the match, they only accomplished that on a .085 hitting percentage. By comparison, Stanford finished with 44 kills with a .350 percentage.
Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio and senior opposite Katie Fuller struggled to get USC’s offense going, combining for just 16 kills.
The Women of Troy started out strong early in the first set with freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio garnering four kills early.
Stanford went on a run to go up 8-5. The Cardinal continued to control the net before sophomore setter Hayley Crone served back-to-back aces to tie it at 11.
The first set continued to be a back-and-forth affair with USC, led by junior outside hitter Sara Shaw, who led players with 13 kills. Stanford, however, would pull away before finishing off the set 25-18.
The Women of Troy couldn’t recapture their fast start from the last set, with the Cardinal capturing an early 7-2 lead.
Following a stretch with two kills and a block by Jordan Burgess, Stanford extended their lead to a disheartening 12-4 score. The Cardinal continued to pour it on as Rachel Williams dominated the set at the net by putting the game almost out of reach at 19-8.
The Women of Troy rallied late and got the score within striking distance behind three straight blocks from junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard, but the deficit proved too much and USC stumbled, 25-16.
The third set looked very similar to the previous two. USC fell early and Stanford quickly stole the momentum to win the set 25-18.
Despite the defeat, the Women of Troy will have to regroup to face California on Friday.
“The expectation will be that we suck it up, work on what we need to work on in practice and go in their building and try to come out with a win,” Haley said. “It’s going to be tough playing a late game on the road, but it will be a good challenge,”
Neil Jariwalla contributed to this story.