The USC women’s volleyball team split its weekend matchups against conference opponents, defeating Oregon State and losing to Oregon at Galen Center this weekend.
The Trojans came out dominant against OSU and took the first two sets, picking up three straight runs of at least 5 points in the first. Freshman outside hitter Emilia Weske had 10 kills through the first two frames of the match.
The Trojans let the Beavers right back into the match in the third and fourth sets. USC led six different times in the fourth but wasn’t able to close it out.
However, in a back-and-forth fifth set, the Trojans came out on top 15-13 to avoid a disastrous loss.
It was USC’s ninth straight win against OSU, increasing its all time head-to-head record to a lopsided 57-9.
The matchup with the Ducks was a different story.
The Trojans overcame 10 errors to win the first set, but the rest of the night saw similar sloppy play from USC and little of the same luck. The Trojans were never able to pull away with a lead and ultimately dropped two close sets 27-25 and 18-16 in the second and fifth sets, respectively.
The score was tied 47 times during the match.
The Trojans were not able to execute as a team. Two starters — senior outside hitter Khalia Lanier and freshman outside hitter Kalen Owes — had a combined 23 errors and potential kills fell out of bounds throughout the match. It was an uncharacteristically sloppy performance for head coach Brent Crouch’s group.
“Every week, I think the team has grown and made progress — we just didn’t execute very well today,” Crouch said. “We had a few players just have some really tough nights, and two or three of them had a really rough night and that’s too many. You can’t have that many people not playing well.”
With players returning from injury and others continuing to fall, Crouch has had to significantly change his lineups recently. This has been a theme all year, contributing to the group’s struggles.
“You know, we’ve had a lot of injuries this year, so we keep putting on new lineups, so we’re looking for some consistency,” Crouch said. “We haven’t had a lot of it.”
Lanier picked up her eighth double-double of the season in the loss to the Ducks, and Weske tallied 11 kills without an error in one of her best performances of the season.
Both matches this weekend went to five sets, the latter being the 10th time USC has gone the distance this season. This sets the record for the most five-set matches in one season in Trojan history.
“It’s just tiring and it’s exhausting,” Crouch said. “I don’t think it affects anything with confidence. The biggest thing is just that you play more volleyball, so it adds up.”
The Trojans have only two more games left in the regular season — Wednesday at Arizona State and Friday’s senior night clash at home against UCLA. Wednesday’s bout starts at 4 p.m., and Friday’s begins at 7 p.m.