After a challenge from the USC coaching staff, sophomore setter Mia Tuaniga’s serve was declared an ace after referees reviewed the play and overturned their initial call. Tuaniga’s only ace of the game put the nail in the coffin, closing the third and last set of the game to give the Trojans a road win against Oregon State.
Friday’s evening game was entertaining, and it came down to mistakes and defense. Even though the Beavers had the same amount of kills as the Trojans (39), the USC squad had significant advantages in blocks (10 to 5) and attacking errors (27 to 9). This allowed the Trojans to win three straight sets by at least five points: 25-20, 25-19, 25-18.
Early in the opening frame, USC and Oregon State had an even fight, each team scoring points back and forth. As the set progressed, the Trojans started to press on and freshman outside hitter Jordan Wilson put the USC squad six points ahead late in the set after spiking the ball and finding the floor to record her sixth kill of the evening.
Oregon State seemed to turn on the jets halfway through the evening. The Beavers obtained their biggest and only lead over the Trojans when they gained a three-point lead, 13-10, midway through the second set.
But after multiple errors from the Oregon state squad, kills by senior outside hitter Skylar Fields and defensive efforts from the Trojans, USC came from behind. It gained a one-point lead late in the second set, 20-19, forcing the Beavers to call a timeout.
“They called the time out; I saw that our team was good at taking away some of the things they wanted to do at that moment, which didn’t make them predictable but allowed us to take more risks,” USC head coach Brad Keller said. “I love it when my team takes risks that way, and I think we capitalized on that.”
When the game resumed, graduate middle blocker Kalyah Williams was up to serve. She proceeded to lead an impressive 5-0 run that allowed USC to take the second set. Oregon State came in to what would be the last frame of the night with dedication. Up until late in the third set the Beavers managed to stay within a single point from the Trojans, but the trend continued. USC went on another late 5-0 run which crushed the home team’s dreams of taking a set.