USC cruises to 12th consecutive win

The winning streak is now at 12 and counting.

The No. 3 USC women’s volleyball team strengthened its lead in the Pac-12 with sweeps against Colorado and Utah over the weekend, tying a similar streak to open the 2010 season.

“We expected a good effort from Utah and Colorado and we came out really strong,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “We like that teams are gunning for us and we want the girls to get excited about that.”

Dishing it · Senior setter Kendall Bateman finished with a team-high 29 assists, as the Women of Troy recorded a three-set victory at Galen Center over Colorado. It marked their 12th straight Pac-12 victory. - Luciano Nunez | Daily Trojan

The Women of Troy (17-3, 12-1) disposed of Colorado 25-18, 25-14, 25-17. And senior outside hitter Alex Jupiter led USC throughout the match with nine kills, 12 digs, two aces and two solo blocks.

“Jupiter is a silent leader and not a big talker, but her leadership shows in how hard she is working on her defense and passing,” Haley said. “Her blocking and attacking have always been very good, but now her backcourt defense has been good, as she focuses on improving the little parts of her game.”

With her performance, Jupiter moved into third place all-time in kills for USC, passing Tracy Clark in the process. She is also tied for fifth on USC’s career solo blocks list.

Sophomore middle blocker Alexis Olgard took advantage of more playing time, notching five kills and no errors against the Buffaloes.

Junior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic also tied a personal best with four kills.

Kerra Schroeder led Colorado with a game-high 10 kills to go along with three aces and three blocks.

Against Utah (8-13, 3-9), USC wasted no time asserting itself in the match after scoring the first eight points of the match en route to a 25-15 victory in the first set.

The Utes fought back in the second set after falling in another big hole, racking up seven straight points facing set point, but their comeback was made futile after senior middle blocker Lauren Williams notched the game’s decisive point at 25-21.

The Women of Troy took the third set handily 25-14, completing another sweep of a conference opponent.

Williams finished with a game-high 10 kills and three blocks on the day, matching her kill total the last time the two teams met.

Senior setter Kendall Bateman recorded 43 assists moving into third place on USC’s career list.

Leading the Pac-12 with a .405 hitting percentage, the senior has been a key reason for the Women of Troy’s recent success and her play in the middle has eased the pressure of the outside attack for USC.

“Williams’ off-the-court leadership has been kicking in, and although we want better blocking from her, she has been really good offensively,” Haley said. “Despite getting doubled, she’s still coming up with points.”

Morgan Odale led the way for Utah, totaling eight kills and three blocks. USC held Utah to a .037 hitting percentage in the first set and would only allow the Utes a .182 percentage for the entire match.

Next weekend, USC travels north to face Stanford and California.