After its 11-match win streak was snapped Friday night, the No. 13 USC women’s volleyball team bounced back Saturday to defeat Arizona State behind sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter’s career day.
Jupiter bounced back from a disappointing match on Friday to lead the charge for USC (12-2, 1-1 Pac-10) as she tallied career highs of 31 kills and 20 digs against the Sun Devils (11-3, 1-1) to give the Women of Troy their first win in the Pac-10 conference with a 3-1 victory (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22).
Senior All-American outside hitter Jessica Gysin, who didn’t play last week due to a hamstring injury, chipped in with season highs of 19 kills and 19 digs, and sophomore setter Kendall Bateman led the team with a career-high 60 assists. Gysin also had a season-high 19 kills and 19 digs. Senior libero Alli Hillgren had a season-high 24 digs.
“I thought the combination of Alex stepping up with Jess and Kendall’s performance delivering the ball was exceptional,” coach Mick Haley said.
USC hit .271 in the match, compared to Arizona State’s .193. Junior outside hitter Sarah Reaves led the Sun Devils with 20 kills and 10 digs.
Despite the victory, Haley expected more out of his team. The defensive troubles that hurt USC Friday night against Arizona surfaced once again against Arizona State, and the team had to rely on its offense for the win.
“We were fortunate to come out with 1-1 on the road,” Haley said. “I’m just really disappointed that we can’t get the defensive performance up to level. We have to be patient and keep working on it.”
USC opened conference play in disappointing fashion Friday night in Tucson against the No. 19 Wildcats, losing 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21) behind a series of mistakes on the court.
The Women of Troy combined for 25 errors, led by Jupiter’s nine hitting errors and three service errors.
“We gave too many points away had a good chance to win that match and didn’t take advantage of it,” Haley said. “When you give a team nine or 10 points a game, you have a serious chance of getting beat.”
Gysin posted a solid match, leading the Women of Troy with 13 kills and eight digs. Junior outside hitter Kimmee Roleder, who returned to play after battling the flu last week, added 12 kills while sophomore middle blocker Lauren Williams posted 11 kills. Jupiter recorded 12 kills, but hit .086 in the match.
Junior outside hitter Tiffany Owens racked up 16 kills and 13 digs while senior middle blocker Jacy Norton had 11 kills for the Wildcats and hit .500. Arizona improved to a perfect 12-0 on the season.
Arizona outblocked USC by a 9-3 margin as the Women of Troy committed 10 service errors against only two aces. USC hit .223 to Arizona’s .255.
USC returns home next weekend to host UC Berkeley and Stanford at the Galen Center.