Volleyball looks back on the road to victory

By Hugo Werstler

After only three weeks of play, the simplest way to describe the mentality of our Women’s Volleyball team is that it has hit the ground running, fast. Right off the gun, these women have achieved a record of 3-0 over ranked opponents to start the season, with a win over the No. 11 Iowa State (3-1), No. 18 Illinois, (3-1), and lastly No. 1 USC, (3-1). As part of their 5-1 record overall, these wins are big highlights for the prospective season. Breaking out from the rest of the pack now, the team made program history by reaching a No.2 ranking on in the latest AVCA top-25 poll. Before Friday’s game, the team had been ranked at No. 9. “We are very excited to be recognized by the AVCA poll at No. 9,” Head Coach Jennifer Petrie said. “Our Schedule has been challenging, and I am very proud of our team’s accomplishments up to this point.”

A challenging schedule is putting it nicely. Ranked No. 14 at the time, the Toreros were able to get three different players to put up double-digit kills in the win against No. 11 Iowa State. Sandra Lozic (Junior) led the team’s offense with 17 kills on 41 swings, while also recording nine digs. Following close behind, Taylor Hollins (Senior) recorded 15 kills and 7 digs and lastly Katie Hoekman (Senior), who put up another 10. Highlights came also from C’era Oliveira (Senior), with a team best record of 17 digs and Jiana Bonomi (Junior) who had 27 assists and 14 digs to post a double-double. Altogether the Toreros hit for a .308 clip.

The Toreros never broke stride and in match-up on Saturday against No. 18 Illinois, the results were quite similar. In a 3-1 win, Lozic was at the front lines, with 17 kills and 15 digs to post a double-double. Hoekman finished 15 kills, and following close behind in kills was Chloe Ferrari (Senior) at 14, Alysia Brown(Junior) at 13, and Hollins at 11. Bonomi led the team once more with 37 assists, just short of a double double finishing up with nine digs.

The stellar performances have left little doubt to the talent and incredible drive of this season’s team. But they greatest test had yet to come. On Friday September 13, the Toreros went head to head with nationally ranked No. 1 USC. It was an all brawl to see who would come out on top and with a record attendance of some 2,014 fans, the Jenny Craig Pavilion was ready to explode.

Everyone was on their feet as the fourth and last set began, the noise almost impossible to contain within the Pavilion. USC, maybe sensing the end being near, went for an all out offensive attack. With it, the Trojans were able to pull of a small lead at 4-1. The Toreros however, did not even hesitate to respond, and point after point, you could see the No.1 ranked USC Trojans were starting to go up in smoke. Tied first and 10-all and then again at 13-all, the crowd was waiting for USD to go on the attack. The Toreros were quick to get two kills back to back, forcing the Trojans into taking a timeout at 15-13. It did little though, a the Toreros continued barraging USC, each attack followed by a thunderous roar of their fans. USC took their final timeout, but it could not stop our USD women Toreros as they finished the set strong, 25-19. Like a scene taken out of Homer’s “Iliad”, the court was stormed by a wave of blue fans, and the walls of Troy fell.