After a 6-0 start to the season, USC’s women’s volleyball team (7-5) has fallen flat, going only 1-5 since. The team remains winless on its home floor (0-4) and has won only seven total sets since Sept. 6. The Women of Troy (7-5, 0-2 Pac-12) hope to shift the momentum to their side during a two-match road trip to Washington to take on Pac-12 rivals No. 4 Washington on Wednesday and Washington State on Friday.Killer instinct · Junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio is averaging a team-high 3.43 kills per set. She also leads the team with 39 service aces. – Brian Ji | Daily TrojanThe Women of Troy have lost some close contests recently. In the last six matches, USC has dropped 11 sets by five points or fewer. Service errors have been a major weakness for the Women of Troy, who have given up 55 points on service errors in the last six matches alone. As a result of the losses, USC has tumbled down the NCAA rankings to No. 19.Despite a tough couple of weeks, individual players on the Women of Troy continue to impress this season. Junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio continues her dominance on offense, leading the team with 151 kills and 39 service aces. Bricio has also been a force on defense, collecting 125 digs.Freshman outside hitter Lauryn Gillis ranks second on the team with 108 kills and has recorded 103 digs.Sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham and senior setter Hayley Crone have also been leaders in the dig column for the Women of Troy, with 152 digs and 101 digs, respectively. There are also seven players on the Women of Troy with a double-digit number of total blocks, including junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms, who leads the team with 44 blocks.The Women of Troy have a great opportunity to prove why they should still be considered a top team in the nation against No. 4 Washington. The Huskies have had a much easier schedule than the Women of Troy this season, but the Huskies have proven they belong where they are at this point in the season with wins against BYU and Wisconsin, which are teams ranked in the NCAA Top 10 rankings.The unbeaten Huskies (13-0, 2-0) will bring a strong offensive presence, led by outside hitter Krista Vansant who has a team-high 198 kills on the season (4.30 kills per set, which ranks 24th in the nation). Outside hitter Kaleigh Nelson, who has 126 kills on the season, will be the other main offensive threat from the Huskies.Defensive specialist/libero Cassie Strickland has provided strong defense for the Huskies, totaling a team-high 143 digs this season. But Strickland is also statistically the worst server on the team, recording 37 service errors so far this season. Middle blocker Lianna Sybeldon will also be a player to watch for in the match as she is productive on both defense and offense. She leads the Huskies in total blocks with 81 and has contributed on offense with 86 kills.Washington State (9-5) should be the easier contest for the Women of Troy during their two-match road trip. The Cougars are winless in Pac-12 play, and they have lost their last three matches, albeit all three came against teams in the NCAA Top 25 rankings. Nevertheless, the Cougar squad boasts a lot of talent.Outside hitter Kyra Holt, middle blocker Chelsey Bettinson and outside hitter Jaicee Harris have dominated the offense for the Cougars, with all three producing kill numbers in the triple-digits this season. Bettinson also leads her team in blocks with 73. Another player the Women of Troy will need to keep an eye on is defensive specialist/libero Kate Sommer, who has recorded far more digs than any of her teammates with 194.With all the tough losses at home, head coach Mick Haley said that going on the road might actually help his team start winning matches again.“I just think when you get in a situation like this, you want to play again as soon as possible,” Haley said. “We were just in a bad place here for a couple of weeks. I don’t know that it’ll be any easier on the road. The good thing is, when you travel, you’re all together and you’re together for the whole time. That might, in fact, give us some advantages to get a little bit tighter as a team while we’re traveling. I think, basically, we just got to keep working on our fundamentals and keep improving individually.”Haley also stressed how October will be the most crucial month of the season for his team.“I think all of the matches in October are going to be critical because by the end of October, we’re going to know whether we’re going to challenge for this [NCAA] tournament or not,” Haley said. “Whether we can challenge for the Pac-12 conference, I don’t know, but we want to get in the NCAA tournament and get a chance to play for the championship. So, we have to earn that right, probably in October.”Today’s match at Washington begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s tilt against Washington State kicks off at 6 p.m. Both matches will air live on Pac-12 Networks.
Published on October 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm Contact Matt: firstname.lastname@example.org Forty-five minutes before game time, all but one player on the Syracuse (12-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) roster warmed up with passing drills. Lies Lagerweij lay by the sidelines, stretching, uncertain if she would see any action on her senior day.“I honestly wasn’t going to play her at all,” Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley said, “until I saw her warm up. And she looked okay.”After missing SU’s loss to Penn on Oct. 22, Lagerweij returned to the turf Saturday afternoon in a 3-0 win over Pacific (8-8, 4-2 America East). Lagerweij did not start, and did not appear in the scoring column, but helped the Orange dominate possession.Five minutes into the game Lagerweij entered at forward rather than her usual position on the back line. Immediately, she looked for a goal. One minute in, she moved in between defenders, advancing into the arc. Weaving in and out, she found herself one-on-one with Pacific goalie Marlise van Tonder. Lagerweij moved just a few feet from the cage and wound up. But she was tripped by van Tonder.“That’s a penalty,” screamed a fan from the crowd.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNo call was made, and no shot recorded. But within minutes of entering the game, Lagerweij nearly scored in her natural position.“She can play anywhere,” Roos Weers said. “Lies has quick hands. …she’s very adjustable.”Trying to keep her All-American healthy before the ACC tournament, Bradley didn’t risk leaving Lagerweij in for too long. Five minutes after putting her in, Bradley subbed her out. And that trend continued. Five minutes later she re-entered. And five minutes after she was subbed out.For the remainder of the game, Lagerweij played in short bursts. But towards the end of the second half, remained on the field. And that was when she made her presence known.Starting in the 47th minute, Lagerweij drew three consecutive corners. One was overturned, but Lagerweij stole the ball back. In the 49th minute, Lagerweij ran down the left sideline, juked past one defender and began juggling the ball on her stick, before bouncing it off a defender’s foot and forcing another corner. On the ensuing corner, Weers rocketed the ball past van Tonder to extend SU’s lead to 2-0.At the end of the game, Bradley substituted Lagerweij back in to end the game. The senior registered two of her three shots in the final two minutes failing to find the back of the cage.From the start of ACC play, Bradley has said that the offense needed to improve to be competitive in the conference and NCAA tournament. Lagerweij playing forward may very well be that spark. In the last two games Lagerweij has played, she’s started at forward. In those two contests, SU is 2-0 with seven goals. And Lagerweij has four points on eight shots.“I just play where Ange wants me to play,” Lagerweij said. “If it’s upfront I try to be creative and create things. I try to get a goal or corner as much as I can. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+