The regular season is quickly coming to an end, and with just three matches left, the No. 6 Women of Troy are hoping to come away with three wins away from home.
USC has its final big road trip this weekend, as it heads north to face Oregon State tonight followed by No. 23 Oregon on Saturday.
“We’re ready to go on this trip. We’d really like to go up there and try to get two wins if we can,” said USC coach Mick Haley.
The Women of Troy already beat both of these teams at the Galen Center this season. The team swept Oregon State in three sets on Oct. 23. USC also defeated the Ducks, but it was a more difficult task. USC went up 2-0 but lost the next two games, eventually coming away with the win in five sets.
Despite past success against these teams, Haley is not overconfident about his team’s upcoming matches.
“I can’t tell you that I think anything’s going to be easy this weekend,” he said.
Though Oregon State has an overall record of 8-20 and is just 1-13 in the Pac-10, when asked about the Beavers, Haley only had good things to say.
“They’re maybe the best blocking team in the conference right now, and they’ll use that at home to get the fans going,” Haley said. “They’ll be very, very loud, so we expect a much better match from them than we had last time.”
Saturday’s task will not be any easier for USC. The Ducks are 6-8 in conference play and look to improve this record as their season winds down.
“They know that they have to have at least some big wins here in the end to get a better seed in the NCAA tournament, so we really have to win the serving and passing game if we can,” Haley said. “We expect a really tough match in Eugene.”
With the season getting down to the wire, and USC playing in a stacked Pac-10 conference with seven ranked teams, it’s reasonable to think the players, especially the six freshmen, might be feeling the pressure. But Haley doesn’t seem to think his youngsters are intimidated.
“We’ve got them pretty well focused,” Haley said. “They don’t have much time to think about pressure.”
The Women of Troy are coming off two wins last weekend against Arizona State and Arizona, who was ranked No. 20. It seems USC might be peaking at the right time.
“The team’s done very well this week,” Haley said. “We’re looking for two really big matches.”
With only two weekends left, Haley hopes the team’s recent performance will carry over into the next few games.
“[We’ll] try to win the last three,” he said. “See if we can maintain this momentum into the tournament and get the best seed we can possibly get.”
Both of USC’s matches this weekend start at 7 p.m.