After a quick victory over Cal and an equally quick defeat at the hands of Stanford last week, the women’s volleyball team looks to duplicate their first game and fix the mistakes of their second in order to come away with two victories this weekend before heading back on the road for the next four games.
The No. 24 Women of Troy (14-7, 6-4) first face No. 21 Utah (15-6, 6-4) on Friday before playing Colorado (12-8, 4-6) on Saturday.
“They are hungry to get back out on the court and show themselves that they can play a lot better than they finished on last Sunday,” head coach Mick Haley said. “There is nobody more disappointed about not being able to play better than our team, but they are not going to quit. They are going to come back with a vengeance.”
The Trojans have not been able to win back-to-back home games since their final preseason tournament in September. However, they hold a 16-2 record against the Utes and a perfect 13-0 record against the Buffs.
“We have been fortunate to have wins,” Haley said. “But they are teams that we certainly look to come in here and play well. You have to take these teams as if they are in first place because in this conference, the minute you overlook somebody they come in and beat you. You need to respect your opponents.”
Utah will be led by junior outside hitter Adora Anae. The last time the Trojans played the Utes, Anae had 25 kills and 12 digs, which heavily contributed to the five close sets USC had to overcome before their final victory.
“Utah has a great player in Anae,” Haley said. “She is just fun to watch, even when she is against your own team. We want to do a good job slowing her down.”
The game against Utah will allow the team a chance to turn around from their disappointing loss to Stanford and show that they are continually learning and improving as the season goes on.
“They just wanted to perform better against Stanford,” Haley said. “When they didn’t, they were a little unsure as to why they couldn’t do better. Once we showed them what happened in certain situations, I think they got the picture that they really could do this without a problem, but that they just have to kick it up in certain areas.”
In order to come out victorious this weekend, Haley said the Trojans will have to keep errors down, serve strong, pass well and give the middles more opportunities to score.
“We need to do what we do best,” Haley said. “If we can do those things, then we can get a little momentum going into this road trip.”
After these home games, the Women of Troy will only have two of their eight remaining games at Galen Center. With this, the Trojans want to use these home games to rest and prepare for their road trips, but build up an intensity to take with them as well.
“There is a lot of season left,” Haley said. “There is the whole second half of the conference. If we could go 10-0 in that, we have a chance to win, so we want to get back into the hunt.”
The Women of Troy will take on Utah Friday at 8 p.m. and Colorado on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Galen Center.