USC women’s volleyball secures a close win over Utah

The Trojans move to 11-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play.

Skylar Fields is shouting after a big score. She is wearing a white jersey.

USC women’s volleyball defeated Utah in four sets 25-19, 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 at Galen Center on Sunday. Senior outside hitter Skylar Fields led with 25 kills, sophomore setter Mia Tuaniga led with 46 assists and graduate middle blocker Kalyah Williams led with nine blocks.

The Trojans felt the electricity from the crowd and red light shining on the court. During the third set, freshman outside hitter Jordan Wilson’s high energy illuminated through her quick strikes to the right corner of the court.

To help the Trojans gain a three-point lead on Utah in the third, 15-12, two Utah defenders weren’t ready to defend off of Wilson’s hit and let the ball land in front of their feet. The crowd jumped out of their seats as the Trojans huddled in excitement.

Wilson had 16 kills against Utah, a career-high.

“I’m really happy about that,” Wilson said. “I definitely think I need some improvement, but being able to have that many kills within the game, I’m really happy about that.”

Fields is leading the Pac-12 at 4.71 kills per set, secured 28 points and closed out the fourth set with a quick kill down the middle.

Since USC played UCLA on Sept. 22, Fields is consistently scoring over 24 points every game. During the match, Fields said her mentality is quite simple.

“Just trying to win,” Fields said.

USC started the first set with a 4-1 lead. Fields scored the first four points. The Trojans maintained a lead over Utah throughout the first set.

Fields’ and Wilson’s back-to-back kills to Utah’s back row made Utah’s back row scramble to try and save the ball.

Then, Williams’ quick service ace caught Utah’s defense off guard. Utah’s back row tried to rally the ball but couldn’t gain control after the ball bounced off of a defender’s arm.

USC won the first set 25-19.

The first tie score of the game came early in the second set. Utah broke away from the tie and had a lead of 5-1. Once Utah made a service error, USC picked up the pace and ran a quick offense.

Fields ran up and swung her right arm around to smack the ball down in the middle of the court twice. Senior opposite hitter Emilia Weske and Williams defended the net with a block in front of Utah’s front row.

Freshman libero Gala Trubint’s service ace made Utah’s back row fall to their knees and miss the ball completely to lead 6-5.

USC and Utah exchanged points with seven ties and five lead changes. After USC had a three-point run, Utah’s quick offense closed the gap for USC to secure a win. Utah won the second set 25-21.

The third set was a battle for points with the crowd screaming and wincing as the back-and-forth affair continued. After Wilson ended the rally with a striking kill 15-12, the crowd were cheering loudly from the highest row.

USC had its longest scoring run of six points, which led the team to another set win, 25-17.

A strong block by Williams and Fields started the momentum for the Trojans early in the fourth set. Tuaniga jumped high to dump the ball between two Utah defenders as she earned her second kill of the night.

“[Tuaniga] said she wasn’t in her wheelhouse today,” head coach Brad Keller said. “She stayed with it and scored a couple really good points at the end. I think she was in a different zone during the flow state for Colorado.”

Utah’s offense came back and started leading the set after USC’s hitting error 12-9. After a timeout, Weske’s block kept Utah from making a comeback.

USC won the fourth set 25-21.

With Utah’s fifth year outside hitter Madelyn Robinson executing 23 kills, Keller reflected on the team’s execution and said they need to execute better on serves, passes and blocking this week before Friday’s game.

“We have to limit that down and hold her down to about 16 kills,” Keller said. “She was putting the ball in play and we were not able to execute.”

After three home games, USC is on the road against Arizona on Oct. 7.