Cal volleyball takes on USC for spooky match

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Leslie Yang/File

Anyone who is a horror-movie fan or Halloween-enthusiast knows that this Friday is the legendary Friday October 13th. Perhaps you may keep your eyes open for a black cat crossing the street, or you may be extra careful not to walk under any open ladders.

If you’re a true believer of Friday the 13th, you might test your superstitions by watching the live feed of the Cal and USC volleyball match. This match will surely be a thriller that will keep you on your feet.

This game will be a competitive and intense one because some girls from both sides, such as Cal’s Jessica Gaffney and Bailee Huizenga and USC’s Cindy Marina at Great Oak High School, have grown up playing on teams together. They know each other’s strength and weaknesses. This could be to the players’ benefit, but it could also be gut-wrenching to play against your friends.

“These matches are more intense because all the players know each other,” said head coach Matt McShane. “They all grew up playing either on the same club or against each other on different clubs so a lot of the players have known each other since they were 12.”

The Trojans are a fierce and an intimidating opponent with over 900 kills and saves. They are a team to be feared for their impenetrable defense and astounding offense.

“They’re always good at blocking and playing defensive so it doesn’t surprise me that they are digging such high numbers,” McShane said. “We need to serve tough and we’ve been doing that well. I think we need to set a little more consistently so that our hitters have a chance to get kills.”

One player in particular who may prove to be the black cat to keep an eye out for is opposite hitter senior Brittany Abercrombie, who has been chosen by the Pac-12 for Offensive Player of the Week twice this season. Abercrombie boasts over 200 kills this season and helped to lead USC to back-to-back wins over Washington State and No. 14 Washington.

“We can’t just hit straight at her, we need to hit away from her. There is only so much we can do,” McShane said. “Hitting away from Abercrombie is one approach, making them pass poorly is another one. Being good aggressive blockers.”

Even though the Trojans have spectacular stats, one shouldn’t dismiss the Bears so quickly. Last weekend, Cal beat Arizona which defeated USC. Cal may be able to learn and take advantage of USC’s mistakes.

“USC’s opponent’s have held them under .200 for the year and that would be very low for us so I think if we play a normal match for us that we’ll like the results,” McShane said. “USC is hitting at about .270 and this season we are playing about the middle two-hundreds so we need to have a good match.”

One thing is for sure: this team is not to be taken lightly. USC’s numbers speak for themselves and it is a home game, which could give them a upper hand. Cal, however, may turn the tides by playing on USC’s weaknesses and continuing to hit strong. Either way, be sure to toss some salt over your right shoulder when your eyes are glued to the screen when watching this match.

Samantha Valdez covers volleyball. Contact her at [email protected]

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