Women of Troy win two at home

The No. 6 USC women’s volleyball team got a little bit of revenge and a whole lot of momentum at the Galen Center over the weekend.

With back to back home wins over No. 20 Arizona and Arizona State — one of just four teams to beat the Women of Troy earlier this year — USC improves to 22-4 on the season and 11-4 in conference, heading into the final three games of the regular season.

“We just want to make sure we finish well in the Pac-10,” senior outside hitter Geena Urango said. “Hopefully that carries over to the NCAA tournament.”

USC came out ready for a physical match on Saturday, outblocking Arizona 15-1 and frustrating the Wildcat’s offense the entire night. Middle blockers junior Lauren Williams, freshman Alexis Olgard and sophomore Natasa Siljkovic put up a wall for USC early and rejected Arizona eight times in the first set as the Women of Troy rushed out to a 25-14 lead. Williams opened the second period with a 16-4 run, capitalizing on Arizona hitting errors and poor returns, and Siljkovic buried the set with two kills that gave USC a 2-0 lead at intermission.

The Wildcats showed some teeth in the third set, staying within three points at 21-18, but Siljkovic’s final kill put the Wildcats away and closed out the sweep.

“Natasa is playing great right now,” junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter said. “Now that she’s healthy, every time she comes in she really fires up the team.”

The 6-foot-3 sophomore led by example, finishing with a season-high four kills and four blocks. Jupiter also did her part firing the Women of Troy up, leading with 16 kills and five blocks. After the game, the players were already talking about Sunday’s rematch with the Sun Devils.

“We have to redeem ourselves,” Urango said. “Last time we played them, we weren’t focused. We need to come out focused.”

Focusing might have been difficult for three USC seniors who played their final game at the Galen Center in an emotional end to the weekend. Urango, middle blocker Zoe Garrett and outside hitter Kimmee Roleder were all honored alongside their families directly before the match as part of Senior Night.

“I don’t think there’s another two people I’d rather share this with,” Roleder said after the match. “I’m just so excited I got to share this with them and we get to finish out the season together.”

The night was particularly special for Garrett, who got the nod from USC coach Mick Haley to start against the Sun Devils. Garrett posted five kills and four blocks with no errors in her final home game in the USC uniform, helping lift the Women of Troy past Arizona State in four sets.

“I think we played really strong. That was a good performance for us and a good step up,” Jupiter said. “We’re going to have to try to do that consistently now.”

The Women of Troy round out regular season play with matches at Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA, beginning with the Beavers in Corvallis, Ore., on Friday.