Following its three-win performance at the Trojan Invitational — including a sweep of Villanova, which entered the game with a 5-1 record on the season — No. 20 women’s volleyball fell to San Diego 3-2 Thursday before swiftly defeating Long Beach State 3-0 Friday.
The match against San Diego was a tough fight throughout the full five sets. USD won the first two sets, and USC struggled to keep up given the Toreros’ effective blocking. However, the Trojans stayed resilient after going down 2-0 and were able to battle back in the third and fourth sets to tie it up 2-2.
The fifth set was tight, but USC fell behind 14-11 due to an overturned call. The Trojans couldn’t come back from the deficit, losing 15-13 and ending in a three-games-to-two loss.
Senior outside hitter Khalia Lanier had a season-high 18 kills along with 19.5 points against the Toreros.
USC regained its strength in the second game of the week against Long Beach State. The Trojans had 15 kills and four aces in the first set, taking it 25-21. They easily won the second set 25-11 with an additional 15 kills. The third set proved to be more difficult, but USC held the lead, finishing the sweep 25-20.
Lanier led the Trojans in the second match with 20 points and 17 kills. Junior outside hitter Brooke Botkin had a career high with six kills, six digs and four of the Trojans’ 12 service aces.
Head coach Brent Crouch was proud of the effort his squad displayed despite injuries and is confident in its abilities going forward.
“We are not 100% [health-wise],” Crouch said. “We are getting there … We are looking forward to getting everyone practicing at 100% and really [hitting] the Pac-12 schedule in stride.”
This is USC’s third 3-0 sweep this season, and it hopes to carry this momentum into Pac-12 play beginning Wednesday against UCLA. The Bruins were swept in their last two matches by No. 11 Hawaii and UC Santa Barbara, while the Trojans enter conference play ranked No. 25 in the nation.
With 10 of their 20 remaining matches coming against ranked opponents, the squad will be challenged to respond to adversity as it has done early on this season if it wants to build on last year’s strong performance.