No. 24 USC Wins Fifth Straight in Sweep of Oakland

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    Sept. 10, 2016

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    HOUSTON -- The 24th-ranked USC women's volleyball team (5-3) secured its fifth straight victory on a 3-0 sweep (25-9, 25-20, 26-24) of Oakland (4-5) in the fourth match of the Rice Adidas Invitational I at the Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday, Sept. 10. The Women of Troy were led by their pin-hitters as sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 11 kills (5e, 25att, .240) and two blocks for 12.0 points and freshman outside Khalia Lanier produced 13.5 points with 8 kills (3e, 31att, .161) with four service aces and three blocks.

    As a team, the Trojans hit .326 (40k, 9e, 95att) and out-blocked the Grizzlies, 7-4, who hit .178 in the match (38k, 20e, 101att). Defensively, USC got 14 digs from senior libero Taylor Whittingham and 10 more from Lanier. Whittingham also had two of the Trojans' eight service aces.

    Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins hit .714 with five kills (0e, 7att) and had a pair of blocks. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn had four kills (0e, 5att) for a .800 hitting rate to go with a match-high five blocks. Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie totaled five kills (0e) on 12 swings for a .417 hitting percentage with two blocks and junior opposite Niki Withers had seven kills (1e, 14att) for a .429 hitting night. USC got 21 assists, four digs, and a service ace from senior setter Alice Pizzasegola and 15 assists, with three digs from junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley.

    For Oakland, Darien Bandel had 15 kills (4e, 32att, .344) to go with a service ace and a block. Melissa Deatsch added eight kills (6e, 26att) but hit just .077 with a team-high 11 digs.

    Ford got seven of her kills in the opening frame and helped the Trojans roll out to a 12-5 lead on her third termination of the day. USC trailed just once at 2-0 in the first set before Abercrombie earned the kill to top off a 25-9 win. The Trojans held Oakland to a negative .037 hitting percentage with just six kills (7e) on 27 swings. The second set was far more competitive as the Grizzlies forced the 12th and final tie of the frame at 18-all, but the Trojans went on a 7-2 run to clinch the set on a kill by none other than Ford.

    The third went into extra points before USC secured the 3-0 sweep with a 26-24 win. The lead changed hands four times and the score was tied 13 times before the dust settled. The Trojans led by only as many as three points twice at 5-2 and 7-4 before the Grizzlies got close and stayed close the rest of the way. At one point, Oakland led, 16-13, before USC went on a 5-1 run to reclaim the lead. The Trojans took match point at 24-23 but the Grizzles saved one on a kill by Bandel. Lanier's kill gave the Women of Troy a second chance to sew up the match when Oakland committed a final error.

    Up next, USC concludes the Rice Invitational against the host Owls at 7 p.m. CT (5 p.m. PT). The final match will be streamed live for a fee on For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit To purchase season and single-match tickets, please visit today. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.


    • USC won the first-ever meeting against Oakland.
    • The Trojans improved to 2-0 in matches played in the city of Houston.
    • The Women of Troy won their fifth straight match and have now won seven consecutive sets.
    • The USC victory brings head coach Mick Haley just three wins from reaching his 400th at USC (397-98). It also puts the program at just six wins from reaching the 1,000-win threshold.