USC beats Hawai’i, loses to Pepperdine

The No. 4-ranked USC women’s sand volleyball team split another  pair of dual matches on Saturday in Malibu, falling to No. 1 Pepperdine, 5-0, before later defeating No. 5 Hawai’i, 3-2.

In their win over Hawai’i, the Women of Troy (10-5) notched early victories in the No. 3- and No. 5-ranked matches to start their day on a  positive note. USC sophomores Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ defeated Ali Longo and Karlee Riggs in straight sets 21-12, 21-15 at No. 3. Junior Brooke Fournier and sophomore Alexa Stonish would also take care of their business in straight sets, 21-19, 21-11, over Olivia Urban and Ku’ulei Zalopany at No. 5.

Hawai’i would not go down without a fight, as the Wahines (4-6) claimed wins at No. 2 and No. 4 to tie the match up at 2-2. In the No. 2-ranked match, USC senior Katie Fuller and sophomore Cinnamon Sary fell to Natasha Bell and Tai Manu-Olevao in three grueling sets, 22-20, 20-22, 15-10. At No. 4, junior Sam Hirschmann and senior Natasa Siljkovic fell in straight sets 22-20, 21-16 to Hawaii’s Ginger Long and Katie Spieler. The No. 1-ranked pair of junior Kirby Burnham and graduate student Stevi Robinson would save the day though, winning in straight sets 21-13, 21-11 over Jane Croson and Ashley Katl to clinch the match for the Women of Troy.

In the day’s opening team dual, USC could not keep up with the undefeated defending champion Pepperdine Waves, who swept every USC pair except Burnham and Robinson en route to a 5-0 shutout.

In their match, Burnham and Robinson dropped the first set to Lilla Frederick and Kim Hill 21-19 before coming back to win the second set 21-17. It would then be a battle in the third set with teams trading points back and fourth. The Waves finally broke USC’s serve to take the match 15-13.

At No. 2, Sary and Fuller fell to Lara Dykstra and Caitlin Racich in straight sets 21-12, 21-18.

USC, Pepperdine and Hawai’i also played a series of crossover matches, where different ranked pairs played against each other without team scoring on the line.

The result of these matches were very similar to the actual team duals, as the Waves once against shut out the Women of Troy. The only USC pair to emerge victorious comprised Burnham and Robinson, who defeated the No. 2-ranked Hawai’i pair of Bell and Manu-Olevao in straight sets 21-15, 22-20.

The No. 5-ranked pair of Fournier and Stonish would go to three sets with the No. 4-ranked Hawai’i pair of Longo and Riggs but would narrowly fall in the end.

With their win over Hawai’i, the Women of Troy completed a season sweep over the Wahines after beating them 5-0 earlier in the season. However, with its loss to Pepperdine, the USC came up winless for the season against Pepperdine after also losing to them 4-1 at Merle Norman Stadium on March 26.

The undefeated Waves have taken all but one game from the Women of Troy this season and USC will most likely not see them again until the USAV Invitational on April 20.

Next, USC will go on the road to Santa Barbara on April 13 for a pair of dual matches against Santa Barbara City College and Fullerton College. Times for the matches are to be announced.