Volleyball takes on the best
Toreros play Florida, Texas A&M and Stanford
By Hunter Jameson
Torero volleyball traveled to the University of Southern California last week to face off against some of the best teams in the nation. The Texas A&M Aggies and University of Florida Gators also made the trip to the Galen Center to compete in the USC Tournament. The Toreros came into their first game riding a four-game winning streak while holding the No. 13 ranking in the country. However, their first game was against the No. 10 Florida Gators, and they proved to be very deserving of such a high ranking.
USD was able to keep pace with the Gators for a majority of the first set. After several streaks by each team, the Gators eventually took the set 25-22. The Gators began to tire the Toreros midway through the second set, taking a commanding 14-7 lead. Despite a valiant effort, the Gators’ momentum could not be broken, resulting in a 25-19 win for the Gators. USD took advantage of the brief break in between sets and came into the third set with a full head of steam. With the score tied at 10, the Gators took their play up a notch to a level that the Toreros could not stop. They went on an 11-2 run that put the game out of reach, and would go on to win the set and the match 3-0.
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Senior outside hitter Alaysia Brown led the Toreros with 9 kills, while senior setter Jianna Bonomi paced the offense with 19 assists. Freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan led the way for the Gators with 16 kills in the match, and was named Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week. After the USC tournament, the Gators moved up to No. 7 in the country.
In their next game of the tournament on Sept. 12, USD took the Aggies from the Big 12 Conference. After upsetting the No.6 USC Trojans in their previous match, the Aggies had the momentum heading into the match. The Toreros started off hot in the first set thanks to big plays from senior outside hitter Sandra Lozic. The Aggies came roaring back and eventually took a 23-22 lead, and went on to win the set 25-22. The Toreros dug themselves a hole in the second set down 9-17, but would battle their way back by going on a 9-4 run. Unfortunately, that would not be enough and they lost the second set in the same fashion as the first, 25-22.
Down 2 games to none, the Toreros needed to win the third set and did exactly that. The team was clicking in all facets of the game and won 25-16.
The fourth set was back-and-forth, but USD found themselves on the losing end at 25-17, clinching the match for the Aggies. Lozic played a very balanced match, recording 13 kills and 15 digs, while Brown tallied 20 kills to lead the team. That is the second time this season that Brown has reached 20 kills in a match, with her career high being 21 against the Louisiana State University Tigers.
Although the Toreros left the USC tournament with two losses, this kind of competition early in the season will definitely pay off when West Coast Conference play begins.
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The Toreros dropped to No. 19 in the country after last week, but have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. As many fans remember, USD knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation last year in the USC Trojans, and have that opportunity again. The Toreros will host the No. 1 Stanford University Cardinal on Sept. 18 as the start of the USD Tournament. The Cardinal enter the tournament undefeated at 7-0 and are led by junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku, but are talented from top to bottom of their roster.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Jenny Craig Pavillion. The Toreros need student support, and with the No. 1 team in town, history shows that they will come ready to play.