USC salvages weekend split in Bay Area

The streak — nearly two months  long — came to an end.

Heavy lifting · Senior outside hitter Alex Jupiter led the Women of Troy with a team-15 kills in a win at No. 5 Stanford on Saturday. - Luciano Nunez | Daily Trojan

No. 5 Stanford snapped the No. 4 USC women’s volleyball team’s 12-game winning Friday in a three-game sweep (25-18, 25-14, 25-23) during the weekend.

Despite the loss, the Women of Troy (18-4, 13-2) bounced back quickly, sweeping No. 2 California on Saturday to remain in a tie for first-place with UCLA atop the Pac-12 standings.

Senior outside hitter Alex Jupiter was once again instrumental for USC, posting a game-high 15 kills against the Golden Bears (21-4, 11-4). But it was her season-high 18 digs that stood out. Leading an offense looking to rebound from the myriad of mistakes against the Cardinal (17-3, 11-3), Jupiter and company started the first set with a .484 hitting percentage and wound up finishing the match at .319.

“I was very excited about her defense and she had a stellar weekend all-around,” USC coach Mick Haley said. “She’s all over it on defense and is playing as well as anyone in the country right now.”

Making her first start of the season was highly-touted freshman Alexis Olgard, who didn’t disappoint with eight kills against one error on the day.

“Olgard seemed really comfortable on the court and she was great blocking at the net,” Haley said. “She gave us a bonus with 8 kills on offense and her being 6-foot-5 makes big difference for us.”

Sophomores Kate Fuller and Sara Shaw added 10 kills apiece on an offense run by senior setter Kendall Bateman, who finished the game with 40 assists and four blocks.

USC limited Cal outsde hitter Tarah Murrey to nine kills and four errors for a pedestrian .185 hitting percentage.

Against the Cardinal, though, USC was challenged, as it littered hitting errors throughout the match.

With the mistakes on offense, USC struggled to stop Stanford, as evidenced by the disparity between hitting percentages — .339 for Stanford and just .161 for USC.

The Cardinal was led by sophomore middle hitter Carly Wopat, who recorded 11 kills against zero errors in addition to a game-high eight blocks.

Outside hitter Rachel Williams also racked up a double-double, finishing up with 14 kills and 13 digs.

Stanford’s defense at the net proved the difference in the match as it outblocked the Women of Troy 13-4 with Wopat leading the way.

“Wopat was quick off the floor and Lauren [Williams] didn’t respond very well,” Haley said. “She and Kendall [Bateman] were having connection problems and they weren’t responding well to each other and we tried to force it, but we just couldn’t score.”

Even Jupiter’s heroics, which included 16 kills and 11 digs, couldn’t save the Women of Troy from losing their first match in 12 games. Jupiter passed Jasmina Marinkovic for second all-time on USC’s career kils list and became only the second player in USC history to top 1,700 kills in a career. She is 99 kills away from Jennifer Kessy’s school record of 1,799 kills, and with seven games left, she seems on track to break the record.

Sophomore hitter Sara Shaw contributed nine kills in the game against Stanford, albeit with six hitting errors. Jupiter with 11 digs for the second-most on the team. Senior middle blocker Lauren Williams had a poor showing Friday as she was not her usual dominant self, racking up six kills on 15 attempts.

1 reply
  1. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    Alexis Olgard is a Sophomore not a freshman. Anyone who followed the team last season would know she played a lot in her freshman year. This is plain bad reporting by you who did not take the time to double check the fact.

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