USC Wins Radisson Classic Crown|
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Sept. 4, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's volleyball team (3-3) defeated No. 22 Creighton (2-3) in five sets, 25-27, 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 15-10, in the final match of the 2016 USC Radisson Classic at Galen Center on Saturday, Sept. 3, to win the tournament title. The Women of Troy produced their third straight victory including their second over a top-25 opponent.
Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier produced her third straight double-double (fourth overall) and finished with 21 kills (7e, 61att, .230) and 17 digs to go with two service aces and two blocks as she was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Lanier was joined on the all-tournament team by senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins who had seven kills (2e, 16att, .312) and five blocks; and senior libero Taylor Whittingham who put up 27 digs to go with a pair of service aces.
Offensively, the Trojans also got 10 kills from junior opposite hitter Niki Withers (3e, 32att, .219) who was also a defensive factor with four blocks. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn scored new career highs with 11.0 points and eight kills (3e, 16att, .312) to go with six blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford notched seven kills (4e, 25att, .120).
The Trojans hit .191 (to Creighton's .205) but out-blocked the Bluejays, 12-10. Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola dialed up 24 assists to go with eight digs and junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley had 27 assists, eight digs, and a pair of service aces.
For the Bluejays, four players scored in double-digits including team-leader Taryn Kloth who had 23 kills (9e, 54att, .259). Marysa Wilkinson had 16 kills (3e, 36att, .361) while Jaali Winters pulled in a double-double with 10 kills (8e, 51att, .039) and 22 digs. Lydia Dimke put up a double-double with 63 assists and 13 digs to go with a pair of blocks and a pair of kills.
Creighton took early control of the first set and went up by three at 14-11 and again at 17-14, but the Trojans fought back to knot the score at 19-all. The Bluejays took off and claimed set point at 24-20, but USC was unfazed as it claimed the next four points for the sixth tie of the set. The Women of Troy took set point at 25-24, but Creighton scored the final three points to seal a 27-25 win.
The second frame was a different tale as the Trojans went ahead by as many as four points at 13-9. The Bluejays flew back into the set to score a 16-all tie, but USC went in front by three again at 21-18. Creighton fought back once more for a 21-all tie. The Trojans fell behind by a point, but scored on four of the last five rallies to sew up a 25-23 win.
The Trojans made their move at 7-6 in the third set when Abercrombie and Ruddins teamed up to stuff an attack by Winters. USC opened up an eight-point lead when a dig by Whittingham went over the net and found the floor for a point and a 17-9 lead. The Bluejays wouldn't relent and shaved off every point until they were down by just one point at 20-19. USC scored three straight but Creighton closed the gap once more and trailed by one at 23-22 before Lanier went crosscourt for back-to-back kills and a 25-22 win.
Creighton seized control of the fourth set and never trailed on the way to a 25-19 win. The Trojans closed the gap to within one point on several occasions but fell behind by six points at 17-11. USC notched just 10 kills to the Bluejays' 18 in the frame and couldn't capitalize on what few mistakes Creighton made.
The Bluejays made the first move in the final set and took a 3-1 lead, but the Trojans went on a 7-2 run to put Creighton on its heels at 8-5. Withers and Dunn teamed to block Winters for a 10-7 USC lead, but Meyer-Whalley's ace sparked a 4-1 Trojan run that put the match out of reach. When the dust settled on a pair of back-to-back Lanier kills, the Trojans had match point at 14-8. The Bluejays saved a pair, but Winters served the next ball out of bounds to close the books on USC's 15-10 fifth-set win.
The Trojans head to Houston for their first matches away from home next weekend when they take on Sam Houston State, Oakland, and Rice in the Rice Adidas Invitational I at the Tudor Fieldhouse, Sept. 9-10.
For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. To purchase season and single-match tickets, please visit USCTrojans.com/tickets today. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.