The second half of the Pac-10 season has begun, and the Women of Troy look to make their Homecoming weekend successful.
The No. 8 USC women’s volleyball team welcomes the No. 7 Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars to the Galen Center this weekend. The team won both of its games last weekend for the first time in a month, and USC coach Mick Haley hopes the momentum carries into the team’s upcoming games.
“I really feel like this weekend we need to have two really good efforts,” Haley said. “That’s what we’re pushing for.”
USC is hoping for redemption Saturday night as it faces Washington, the first team to hand the Women of Troy a loss this season when it defeated USC in five sets in Seattle.
“I didn’t think we were real sure of ourselves,” Haley said regarding USC’s first match this season against the Huskies. “I really felt like if we were a little bit more confident, we would have had a chance to steal one right there at Washington.”
Haley also said he believes his team is more prepared for this match than it was for the earlier match against the Huskies, though Washington has improved throughout the season as well.
Though Washington might appear to be the marquis game this weekend, Haley does not want to overlook the team’s first matchup this weekend against Washington State, a team that was swept by USC already this season and is still hungry to get its first Pac-10 win.
“We’ve got to play Washington State first, and they’re much improved also, so we can’t really focus on Washington until we get by Washington State,” Haley said. “I think Washington State moves the ball around. I think they’re going to challenge us every which way they can.”
The Women of Troy are currently tied for third in the conference with a record of 6-3. Despite the team’s most recent wins, Haley said he is still concerned about his young team’s focus, or more specifically, lack of focus.
“I just think it’s right in the middle of the conference schedule right now. It’s real tough for everybody to stay alert and stay real aggressive, so we’ve been trying to get that all week in practice to push through each time and keep trying to get better,” Haley said.
With a top-10 ranking and an overall record of 17-3, Haley cannot deny the talent of his team. For USC to come away with wins and move up in the conference standings, Haley is much more concerned with his team improving, rather than the strengths of any opponents. He specifically cited working on serving and serve reception.
“We’re good in those areas. If we can bring it every night, we’re going to be in every match,” Haley said.
The Women of Troy will play the Cougars tonight at 7 p.m. before playing a rare afternoon game Saturday against the Huskies at 3 p.m.