USC gets ready for pair of matches against community colleges

After splitting a pair of teams duals last Saturday, defeating No. 5-ranked Hawai’i and losing to No. 1-ranked Pepperdine, the USC women’s sand volleyball team will travel to Santa Barbara this Saturday to take on Santa Barbara City College and Fullerton College.

Though the Women of Troy (10-5) are playing a pair of community colleges, neither opponent should be taken lightly, as both have solidified themselves in their respective conferences over the years. However, these matches primarily serve more as preparation for the USAV Invitational in Hermosa Beach the following week.

“We want to play some matches on the beach where we can learn how to play in the wind in order to prepare for Hermosa next week,” USC head coach Anna Collier said.

Collier mentioned that these matches aren’t really about the opponent but about getting the team to focus on fundamental volleyball skills.

“Our focus has been working on our side of the net,” Collier said. “We don’t have any information on the other teams, so we need to focus on what we can do.”

In its first team dual, USC will take on Santa Barbara City College.

Though they played in the fall rather than the spring, the Vaqueros are no strangers to winning matches. In 2012, the Vaqueros went finished 16-7 on their way to a WSC conference championship.

Led by head coach Ed Gover, who has been the head coach at SBCC since 1991, the Vaqueros have won WSC titles in three out of the last four years, posting a 38-4 (.905) conference record during that time.

SBCC has also been very successful on its home sand, holding a 37-4 (.902) home record in the last four and a half years. This isn’t the best news for the Women of Troy, as they are only 1-2 away from Merle Norman Stadium this year.

The Vaqueros’ season, however, did not extend much longer after the regular season, losing in the first round of the Southern California regional playoffs to Pasadena by the score of 3-0.

In the second of back-to-back matches, the Trojans will be taking on Fullerton College.

The Hornets were a solid, .500 team all-around this year, going 11-11 overall and 7-7 during Orange Empire Conference play in the fall. Like the Vaqueros, the Hornets also ended their season on a 3-0 loss in the first round of the Southern California regional playoffs.

“My only concern for these duals would be that we don’t do the things we’ve worked on this week because we have changed some things,” Collier said. “We are primarily doing this in order to to work on these new things in a competitive setting, where hopefully the competition isn’t as tough.”

First serve is set for 10 a.m. and noon, respectively.