Volleyball has a game plan for Stanford rematch

first_imgFreshman setter Raquel Lázaro tallied just four digs against Stanford, at the end of September, compared to her average 10.3 per match. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)Coming off a loss last weekend, the women’s volleyball team is looking to get back on track and finish with two strong victories this weekend. With their 7-1 home record, the No. 15 Trojans will face No. 2 Stanford on Friday and Cal on Sunday. Entering the second half of conference play, USC will be facing both opponents for the second time, but going in with a plan on how it can improve. “We’ve played everybody, so we can do some stat work and see where we stack up against everybody else,” head coach Brent Crouch said. “We did all of that homework and the two areas we need to get better in are serve receive and … killing balls off the serve receive.”While the Trojans know what they need to improve, individual players like freshman setter Raquel Lázaro has her own goals for this weekend. After playing Stanford once before this season, Lázaro knows how she can help the team come away with a victory.“Stanford is a very good team and they are very tall, so hitting hard and putting the sets high enough so the swingers can hit the ball hard and high [will be key],” Lázaro said. “For me, it’s finishing high on my pass. I know this. Then, if my hitters are low, they are not going to be able to do anything against the block because the [blockers’ hands] are very high.” At practice this week, the team has focused on its game plan for Stanford. The players know the Cardinal are tall, with nine players over six feet, the tallest being 6-foot-6. USC’s hitters have to figure out ways to hit around the block and get their opponent out of system. One of the biggest concerns is Stanford’s size, especially junior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer. Plummer is touted as one of the best outside hitters in the country with the seventh-most points per set in the NCAA . “They are huge everywhere,” Crouch said. “If you can shut down left sides you’re going to win most of the time. We didn’t have an answer for her last time. If we can at least knock one of [Stanford’s top players] down that will help a ton.”The Trojans are also looking for the crowd to keep up the same energy it has had all season, especially against Stanford.“It will be great to have the energy of the crowd carry us a little bit,” Crouch said. “It’s hard enough to play a really good team and then to have a bunch of people rooting for you to lose doesn’t help … Stanford will have to deal with our fans.”Crouch noted the benefit of having already played the Cardinal earlier this season.“We’ve got a really clear idea about what they want do against us, so we can gameplan a little bit more,” Crouch said. “But all these games are, for the most part, serve, pass and who can win that battle. They won last time.”First serve against Stanford Friday will be at 7 p.m. and Cal Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at Galen Center.last_img read more