Coming off a pair of conference wins against Oregon State and Oregon, USC women’s volleyball managed to upset No. 15 Cal 3-1 before narrowly losing 3-2 to Stanford this past weekend.
The Trojans came out strong in their first set against Cal Friday, allowing only one tie and no lead changes en route to a 11-0 run to win the set.
In the second set, senior outside hitter Khalia Lanier shined, notching six kills. Lanier totaled 26 kills and 28 points on the match, matching her career-high in both categories. She continues to shred opposing defenses and has been a key leader and performer for the Trojans this season.
Lanier said she would not have been as successful against Cal without her middle line.
“I have Raegan [LeGrand] and Jenna [Adams] behind me,” she said. “That’s one of the biggest things. They give me the confidence that even when I’m having an off night blocking, it’s not going to kill us and we’re not going to lose a game off of one skill. So I think that’s the biggest thing — just having confidence in each other.”
The Trojans finished off the Bears 25-19 in the fourth set, riding on eight kills from Lanier. Along with Lanier’s firepower, Cal’s 32 errors in the game — compared to 12 for USC — were a major factor in the Trojans coming out on top.
The Trojans can draw a number of positives from the match. Sophomore setter Raquel Lázaro once again showed her ability to consistently produce for the Trojans with 43 assists on the night. She has dished out at least 33 assists in all of her matches so far and has been one of the Trojans’ biggest impact players.
Following its decisive win against Cal, USC attempted to ride the wave of momentum into its match against Stanford Sunday.
Once again, the Trojans started out the match hot, winning the first two sets to put Stanford in a deep hole. Supported by explosive runs and consistent kills, the Trojans held a commanding two-set lead heading into the third.
However, No. 2 Stanford finally settled down and began to take over the match. Led by freshman outside hitter Kendall Kipp’s 23 kills, Stanford proceeded to pick apart the Trojans and won three straight sets in dominating fashion to capture the match. Despite their lackluster start, the Cardinal outplayed USC both offensively and defensively, out-blocking the Trojans 12 to 10 and putting up 75 kills compared to USC’s 57.
Lanier said there are still a few things that the Trojans must work on to be the team they want to be.
“We’re still trying to nitpick some things, fine-tune some things, and it’s getting better every day, every practice, so if we can just keep rolling with that,” Lanier said.
This loss marks USC’s seventh in a row against Stanford, but the Trojans will have at least one more chance to get revenge when they visit the Cardinal later this season.