Jordan Wilson’s 20th swing of the night found the floor, and USC found its first win in two weeks. After suffering their first losing stretch of the season, this new-look Trojans group took a big step toward getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019.
USC came from behind to top Arizona State 3-1 Friday night at Galen Center. The Trojans missed just five of their 94 attempts from behind the line on the night, taking the last three sets to hold off the Sun Devils.
“I think the only way we were able to kind of get through that was our service game was pretty good,” USC head coach Brad Keller said. “I just felt like we were always getting them in certain jams and allowing us to at least have a shot.”
Senior outside hitter Skylar Fields did not play in the Trojans’ loss at Colorado Sunday, but she was right back in the starting lineup Friday night and pacing the USC offensive effort.
Fields finished off an eight-kill second set with a massive slam that deflected over the scorers table, closing out a 25-22 set-two victory. The transfer outside hitter ended the night with a game-high 21 finishes to go along with a triad of blocks.
“Skylar’s one of the best players in the country,” Keller said. “If we can keep her healthy, I’d like to do that because she’s an important part of this team.”
But it took Fields time to find her footing, as she registered just five kills on 20 attempts in the 25-20 opening frame loss. While the Pac-12′s leader in kills struggled, junior outside hitter Marta Levinska pounced for Arizona State, finding the floor seven times in the Sun Devils’ victorious set one.
Levinska racked up another seven kills over the next two sets, including a slam that put Arizona State ahead 12-8 midway through the second frame. Leading 1-0 and controlling set two, the Sun Devils looked poised to pull away.
“People need to realize how good ASU is,” Keller said. “They have two elite pins that can hit their way out of anything. They outscrapped us in the first set. They made so many good plays.”
Facing that same 12-8 deficit, freshman libero Gala Trubint went back to serve for USC. By the time the Sun Devils won back the serve, the Trojans had tied it at 13 apiece. They took the next two points, forced an Arizona State timeout and never trailed for the remainder of the set.
“I feel really confident going back to serve because other people trust me,” Trubint said. “Everyone’s been really accepting of each others’ roles and have given me the freedom to take advantage of my position and be comfortable telling people where we are on defense and what we’re doing.”
Trubint missed just one of her 21 serves on the night, and the two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week racked up a game-high four aces to boot. USC also got a lift from another freshman in defensive specialist Megan Verbiest.
Verbiest had only appeared in more than one set once – a 3-1 loss at Creighton on September 2. The freshman took the floor in the final three sets Friday night, a career high, as she served a perfect 8-for-8, tallying a pair of aces.
“I’m extremely proud of Megan,” Trubint said. “She works extremely hard in practice, is always grateful for every opportunity and came out and played her game. She knows that we trust her, so she knows that she can go out there and play her game.”
The win halts a three-game skid for the Trojans and improves them to 17-7 and 9-4 in conference, keeping pace with Washington State for third in the Pac-12. USC will look to complete the sweep of the Arizona schools when they host the Wildcats on Sunday.