Women’s volleyball win streak snapped
The women’s volleyball team received their second loss of conference play Sunday, losing 0-3 to No. 7 ranked Stanford on the road and ending a seven game win streak.
The loss puts the Trojans at an overall record of 16-5 and 8-2 in conference play. Overall, the match was very lopsided, as the Cardinal dominated the first set and never looked back. In the first set, Stanford was able to pull ahead from a 13-13 tie, going on an 8-0 run to win the first set 25-15. The second set was defined by Stanford’s excellent serving and defense as they picked up 4 aces, 5 blocks and 6 kills to win 25-15. For the third set, USC could not overcome Stanford’s momentum as they were limited to 10 kills and a .360 hitting percentage while the Cardinal notched 22 kills and a superb .730 hitting percentage, winning the set 25-16 and completing the sweep.
Throughout the day, Stanford outmatched USC in production, tallying more kills, aces, blocks, assists, digs and a higher hit percentage.
The match marks the tenth consecutive loss for the Trojans against the Cardinal, with their last win coming on Nov. 27, 2015. Historically, USC is 21-67 against a Stanford program that boasts 9 out of the last 30 national championships.
Head Coach Brad Keller attributes the loss to a combination of the team’s lack of execution and the opponents strong play.
“I don’t think we were good in any category today, and I don’t mean that to be mean or rude,” he said. “I thought we pressed and we tried so hard and [it] just compounded and made things worse for ourselves. I thought they were really playing lights out today and we just didn’t have an answer.”
Keller believes that blocking is one of the key aspects the team can improve on as it can lead to better defense and more offensive output.
“I would say we need to get better at blocking defense and especially the [transition] game,” he said. “The ball was just hanging off our arms and we were getting balls up, but we had to get free balls over because we can never get a rhythm going for some swings or quality swings.”
Coming off of a quick two-day turnaround from their matchup at Berkeley, the team had to deal with the challenges of playing on the road.
“Traveling in general is kind of hard on the body,” said sophomore setter Mia Tuaniga. “This is only our second trip [in the Pac-12] so I think we’re still trying to figure it out.”
Despite the tough loss, the team is eager to win again and compete for a Pac-12 championship and a spot in the NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament.
“I’m already super mad right now after a loss like this, so I’m just trying to get back in and get that work,” Tuaniga said. “I think this week’s practice and coming from there, it’s going to be a totally different story.”
Keller believes the team can compete with Stanford if they can improve their serve and pass game and blocking defense.
“We have the firepower to hang with Stanford, but we can’t give them the runs that we gave them today,” he said.
The Trojans will get a chance at redemption Nov. 9 when they play Stanford at home.
On Friday, USC will look to bounce back and improve their standing in conference play as they travel to face the University of Utah at 5 p.m.