Volleyball splits weekend games against Pac-12 foes

first_imgFreshman setter Raquel Lázaro has tallied 636 assists in the 2018 season. She has also slated 137 digs so far. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)The women’s volleyball team returned from its weekend on the road with one win, losing in three straight sets to No. 2 Stanford on Friday and squeezing out a four-set victory over Cal on Sunday. The bout against Stanford proved to be a tough one for the Trojans, who had been riding a five-game win streak coming into the match. Their opponents, armed with bigger players, more consistent passing percentages and a dominant frontline, rebutted by handing USC its fifth consecutive Stanford loss. The Women of Troy put up an outstanding effort in the first and second sets, tying their opponents 12 times with a hard serving game. On multiple occasions, Stanford pulled ahead by stringing together 4 to 5 consecutive points. “Almost every match is a serve and pass match. You need to win the serve and pass battle to have a chance, especially against a team as big and physical as Stanford … it was the same deal with BYU,” head coach Brent Crouch said. “When you have a 6-foot, 6-foot-1-inch blocker facing an even taller hitter that can jump, it’s always an uphill battle.” Stanford junior Kathryn Plummer, an outside hitter who stands at 6-foot-5 and was voted the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year in 2017, was a tough obstacle. Crouch said he holds a high amount of respect for Plummer and expressed confidence in her ability to snatch the title again this year. “[Plummer] is a great server, a great blocker and a next-level hitter,” Crouch said. “I haven’t seen anybody in the same galaxy as her this year. Not even close.” Plummer contributed a total of nine digs and 18 kills, including the game ending spike. On the other hand, the Trojans’ three outside hitters — juniors Emily Baptista and Khalia Lanier and sophomore Brooke Botkin — had an uncharacteristically quiet match; none broke into the double digits for kills. Meanwhile, freshman setter Raquel Lázaro and senior libero Victoria Garrick combined for a total of 16 digs and 30 assists. The Women of Troy fared much better against Cal. The Golden Bears took the first set, due to a flat Trojan defense and Berkeley’s sophomore outside hitter Mima Merkovich. USC claimed the next two frames thanks to Lanier, who had 26 total kills. Five were earned in succession, which quickly turned the third set in USC’s favor. Garrick and Lázaro continued to impress by leading the game in digs (18 and 17, respectively). The freshman setter was even able to pick up 52 assists, marking her seventh season double-double. The Trojans lost their momentum again in the initial stages of the fourth, nearly losing the set twice. Crouch noted one of many shifts in Cal’s game plan, which involved setting more to the right in order to increase pressure on Lanier and Botkin. “We did not handle that well,” Crouch said. “Our hitters on both sides need to do a much better job in those situations and it’s something we’ll look at during practice.” USC’s match points were also heavily contested. During her third attempt, Botkin landed her 20th kill of the match to end it all. USC now boasts seven back-to-back wins against Cal. The Trojans will return to Galen Center for the next four matches of the season. Garrick, who assembled a commendable weekend performance, is eager to put on a show for the home crowd. However, she acknowledges that the team must mitigate certain weaknesses in order to do well against high-caliber teams. “It comes down to being gritty and doing anything to keep that ball off the ground,” Garrick said. “But in general, I’m excited for us to get back in the gym this week.” USC will face off against Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Sunday.last_img read more

Revised Florida Stand-Your-Ground law is unconstitutional

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Google On Monday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that Florida legislators reached beyond their authority by amending the state’s Stand-Your Ground-Law earlier this. The change in the law would give prosecutors authority to disprove a defendant’s self-defense claim in attacking someone during a pre-trial hearing. According to Judge Hirach only the Florida Supreme Court has the authority to effect changes to the law. The law “cannot be legislatively modified” the judge wrote in his ruling.Since its inception under the administration of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, the law which gives residents in the state the right to defend themselves by deadly force, usually by the gun, if they believe they are being attacked in or out their home has been controversial.The controversy peaked in 2013 when community watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of North Miami teenager Trayvon Martin. Martin was on his way from a convenience store and walking to his father’s home in a Sanford, Florida, residential community when he was accosted by Zimmerman who assumed he was a criminal. Zimmerman’s defense claimed he shot Martin in self-defense because he felt his life was threatened by the teenager.Most state prosecutors opposed the law seeing it as a means for those accused of murder and other gun-related charges to be acquitted by claiming they were defending their lives by the act of violence.It is believed by the opponents of the law that the ruling by Judge Hirsch’s could be the beginning of other courts in Florida ruling likewise resulting in an appeal for the revised law to be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.Since the Travyon Martin shooting, and Zimmerman’s acquittal several attempts have been made by Florida Democratic legislators to repeal or change the law, arguing that it gives people with guns the right to shoot a victim indiscriminately, with a chance to be acquitted. However, Governor Rick Scott has remained adamant in not repealing the law.The Florida Supreme Court previously ruled that defendants in shooting cases who seek immunity from criminal prosecution under the law must offer solid proof they were acting in self-defense.Despite strong opposition from prosecutors and gun-control advocates, the Florida Legislature amended the original law to place the burden on state prosecutors to prove through convincing evidence that a defendant was not acting in self-defense. If prosecutors succeed in disproving the self-defense claim at the pre-trail hearing they would need to do this again at the actual trial.last_img read more