Focusing on one game at a time

Courtesy of Jon Kondrath

With wins over New Hampshire and Cal State Northridge, USC advanced to the Sweet 16.

At USC, we do two things during the NCAA volleyball tournament. We speak in terms of championships, and we take one game at a time.

This might sound a little contradictory to some people. How can you talk about the championship if you are taking things one game at a time? Allow me to illustrate.

Picture hurdlers. Their goal is to be the first person to cross the finish line. To get there, they have to jump over every hurdle (in sequential order, of course). You can’t get past the second hurdle if you don’t jump over the first.

The tournament is sort of the same way. We focus on one match at a time with one end goal to our journey: being the national champions.

In the first match of our championship journey, we faced the New Hampshire Wildcats. They are the winners of the America East Conference, and we used the week to prepare for them and the challenges we faced this past weekend.

New Hampshire presented our team with a different look with two senior lefties (one right side and the other middle). As a southpaw myself, I helped our team prepare by running some plays out of the middle. Don’t expect to see me subbing in for Alexis Olgard any time soon though!

Our team had a solid performance against the Wildcats. We established a strong rhythm in the first set, hitting a .636! It was a great way to show the dominance we want to carry throughout the tournament.

The second match was against Cal State Northridge. In the first round, CSUN defeated Colorado State in five sets. By watching the first two sets on Thursday night, our team picked out some key insights that we took to the court on Friday. On the court, we were met with a feisty Northridge team that was scrappy on defense.

The Matadors played hard, but in the end, they had no answer for our physicality. We advanced to the Sweet 16, where we play BYU in the regional semifinal at 10 p.m. Friday at Galen Center. Be sure to check back in before our match against the Cougars to see what we have been doing to prepare for the next step in our championship journey!