The No. 2 USC women’s sand volleyball team will have its first home match against CSU Bakersfield today at Merle Norman Stadium at 4 p.m. The Women of Troy (1-1) will head into their home opener against the Roadrunners (1-1) having defeated Cal State Northridge last weekend, 5-0, before falling to top-ranked Pepperdine, 0-5.
Against CSUN last weekend, senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes won big on court one, posting a 21-11 score in both sets. Not far behind on court two, freshman Kelly Claes and sophomore Alexa Strange topped Marissa Boyd and Casey Hinger of Northridge, 21-11, 21-17. The same story continued on courts three and four where junior Eve Ettinger and senior Brooke Fournier dominated their opponents, 21-5, 21-8, and freshman Allie Wheeler and junior Bria Russ won 21-12, 21-17.
Unfortunately, the dynamic duos for USC could not continue their winning ways as Pepperdine clinched its 36th all-time victory compared to only one loss. Pepperdine’s win was also its sixth straight victory over the Women of Troy through two seasons.
Only one USC pair was able to win a set against the Waves, as Wheeler and freshman Nicolette Martin took it to three sets against Pepperdine’s Sophie Asprey and Victoria Adelhelm.
Cal State Bakersfield will travel to USC after suffering a 3-2 loss to UCLA and picking up a 5-0 victory over Irvine Valley College. CSUB’s No. 2 team of Mariah Alvidrez and Shayna Guitare took home two victories on the day, as did the tandem of Danika Youngblood and Sara Little.
USC head coach Anna Collier is heading into the weekend with some confidence in her team and some specific goals in mind.
“We need to work on hustle,” Collier said. “I want to play what I like to call ‘SC volleyball’ — really aggressive, hard volleyball … I think we’re ready. We can’t worry about the score, we just want to compete and play the kind of ball we know we can.”
The ultimate goal for Collier and her team is to sweep their opponent by playing the way they have been competing at practices. Seniors Burnham, Fournier and Sam Hirschmann have some great goals for their team as they tap into their final season here at USC.
Fournier expressed a few of her goals for these three upcoming matches by talking about some of the specific aspects of the game she and her team have been attempting to master.
“I’m really looking forward to having everyone come out and watch us this weekend,” Fournier said. “It will be fun to have all of the students and other athletes come and watch the kickoff to our season.”
The feeling of excitement is a common theme throughout the roster and coaching staff of the USC sand volleyball team as they prepare for their first homestand. The Women of Troy will be facing three tough opponents, including CSU Bakersfield, No. 4 Florida State and Loyola Marymount.
USC will face off against Florida State at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, and following that match they will play Loyola Marymount at 2 p.m. The Trojans have never beaten Florida State, and it would be an incredible accomplishment if they could break their losing streak against the Seminoles and tally a win.
USC’s action-packed weekend kicks off today at Merle Norman Stadium at 4 p.m.