USC loses to Washington and Washington State

Junior opposite hitter Emilia Weske reaches up to hit the ball over Washington players.
Junior opposite hitter Emilia Weske reaches up to hit the ball over Washington players. She has 197 kills this season for the Trojans. (Julia Hur | Daily Trojan)

USC was defeated by No. 12 Washington and No. 21 Washington State at the Galen Center this weekend. The Trojans now have an overall record of 10-11 and a conference record of 6-6.

The Trojans took on Washington Friday, who currently stands with an overall record of 16-4 and a conference record of 9-3.  In their last meeting, the Huskies came out on top at home by a score of 3-1. Washington bested the Trojans again (28-26, 28-26, 19-25, 25-23). The first two sets continued past regulation score with the Huskies winning both.

Sunday saw USC face a 14-8 (8-4) Washington State team. The last time the two teams met, the Trojans took a 3-1 away win over the Cougars.

“I think they were well prepared,” Head Coach Brad Keller said. “They were ready to go. I think they were shocked when we went over there and beat them, and they definitely wanted to get revenge. They wanted this one pretty bad.”

The Trojans made costly mistakes that allowed Washington State to jump ahead. Starting the first set with three errors at the net and service reception, USC allowed the Cougars to gain momentum. USC also faced trouble on the offensive end as it had a hitting percentage of .077, compared to Washington State’s .271. Washington State claimed the match with a score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-14).

“We were off from point one, and we never, ever found rhythm,” Keller said. “Everything wasn’t working … We were scattered the entire match. We were trying to figure out how to regain a bit of rhythm and figure out how to work through that problem. We just never could get it going.”

USC will focus on limiting its unforced errors moving forward. Against Washington, the Trojans had a total of 15 service errors, points that can easily determine a match’s outcome. 

“We [made] a lot of unforced errors, and we [made] tentative plays as the match [went] on,” Keller said. “We have to be more aggressive, be more assertive in how we play at the end of games. I think that is something that is very doable for us. I think we can correct that.”

This coming weekend, the Trojans will be back on the road as they travel to Colorado and Utah in their second matchups this season. USC plays Colorado Friday at 6 p.m. and Utah at 11 a.m. Sunday.