No. 9 USD upsets No.1 USC Trojans
By Hunter Jameson
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
The USD women’s volleyball team had their biggest victory in school history last Friday, as they took down the No. 1 ranked USC Trojans in four sets. With 2,014 fans packed in the Jenny Craig Pavillion, the Toreros had a solid fan base to cheer them on from the start. USD found themselves down in each of the first four sets, but rallied behind clutch plays from senior Chloe Ferrari and juniors Alaysia Brown and Sandra Lozic. Ferrari had 21 kills and Lozic contributed with 12 on the night. Brown contributed 11 on the night and with each kill came a surge of emotion that elevated the team and crowd.
“Getting a kill against people that are taller than you, bigger than you, hit harder than you makes you feel awesome,” Brown said. “When you’re using all your coaches taught you and finding a way even though they may be better than you on the other side of the court.”
A back-and-forth first set gave the Toreros confidence to compete with the Trojans. USC had the lead for the whole set until after a USC timeout with the score tied at 22. The Toreros would win the set 25-23 and the energy in the JCP immediately erupted.
“After the first game I actually thought we could win,” sophomore Ryan Billigmeier said, who attended the game.
In set two, USC eventually took a commanding lead 21-13 but the Toreros got within four points at 24-20. USC was able to finish the set 25-20.
USC started off the third game with a 5-1 lead before USD charged back to pull within one at 10-9. This was a crucial set for the Toreros because a two set lead would be difficult to overcome even being the number one team in the nation. USD tied the set at 16 and went on to win it 25-22. Ferrari knew the importance of that accomplishment.
“That set was huge and we were just going for it. From there we just knew we were going to get the fourth game,” Ferrari said.
The momentum was all in favor of USD in the fourth set. After a brief pause following the third set, the Toreros refused to let this one slip away. After being tied up at 13, the Toreros took their game to the next level. USD played to perfection in the remaining points with heroic digs against USC’s gigantic front line featuring women ranging in height from 6’1 to 6’5. Senior C’era Oliveira had a team high 25 digs, with some coming in the critical points in the fourth set. Senior Taylor Hollins got the game winning kill and the students immediately stormed the court. Sophomore Collin Trotter was among them.
“It was incredible being around other kids who were as excited as I was, and being able to storm the court was exhilarating,” Trotter said.
With this weekend’s performance, the Toreros jumped up to a national No. 2 ranking, the highest any USD team has been ranked in the Division 1 era. Brown took a minute to describe the team’s sentiment.
“When we found out we were number two everyone was screaming and it was a great feeling,” Brown said. “It kind of feels surreal, like we’re still the same old team even though being number two. Now there is a target on our back being number two and we’re definitely trying to play crisp every time we play.”