USC women’s volleyball drops two more on the road

first_imgStruggling in conference matches on the road has been a problem for the USC women’s volleyball team all season. This weekend was more of the same.The No. 16 Women of Troy fell to 4-7 in conference play and severely hurt their chances for a Pac-10 championship as they dropped matches to No. 4 Stanford and No. 14 California in northern California.Behind the stellar play of Hana Cutura, California (13-8, 6-5) defeated USC (15-8, 4-7) Saturday night 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 24-26, 25-20) at Haas Pavilion. Cutura hit .356 on the evening and led her team with 22 kills. Teammate Mindi Wiley chipped in with 13 kills and hit .391.The duo was too much for the Women of Troy to handle. After dropping the first two sets, USC rallied to match point in the third set with three straight points, but the Bears finished off USC in the fourth set.Although the loss was the Women of Troy’s second in two nights, coach Mick Haley likes the improvements he saw in his team.“We had a great chance to win the fourth game but just didn’t have enough in the tank,” Haley said. “I thought the team did quite well other than not finishing and not winning. It’s still discouraging to lose, but we’re not giving up.”In the match, senior All-American outside hitter Jessica Gysin had a team-high 14 kills for the Women of Troy. Sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter had 12 kills and 11 digs, but had 13 hitting errors for a minus .022 in the match.Zoe Garrett came off the bench and had seven kills while setter Kendall Bateman had 43 assists and seven digs.USC opened play Friday night in Palo Alto against the Cardinal (15-5, 8-2) and dropped the match 3-1 (18-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-23).Stanford’s Janet Okogbaa led her team hitting .455 with 13 kills and seven blocks, while teammate Alix Klineman added a team-high 16 kills and Cassidy Litchman recorded 11 kills and 14 digs.Stanford used a 13-to-7 advantage in blocks to aid its effort and served up seven aces.Down 18-16 in the first set, USC closed out the win with a 9-3 run before Stanford hit .438 in the second set and used its blocking game to force 11 USC errors in the third set.The Cardinal had match point at 24-20 in the fourth before USC rallied with three straight points. But Klineman closed out the victory with her final kill of the evening for the Cardinal.“After the first game, they kicked it up a notch,” Haley said. “We played quite well, but couldn’t finish … It was pretty exhausting.”USC’s sophomore middle blocker Lauren Williams had a career-high 15 kills. Gysin had 13 kills and 15 digs for the Women of Troy. Jupiter had 17 kills, including 10 in the first set, and 11 digs in the loss. Jupiter had 10 kills in the first set alone, but finished the match with 11 hitting errors and a .130 clip.Although the Women of Troy came out of a road trip winless yet again, Haley said he likes his team’s attitude and knows it has the ability to turn its struggles around for the remaining seven matches.“We’ve got two choices,” he said. “We either keep getting better and battling and get into the tournament and play the way we’re capable of, or we give up. So far, I haven’t seen any of the give up. As long as they keep working at it, we’ve got a chance.”last_img read more