No. 21 USC Lowers Boom on Sooners in 3-0 Sweep|
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Sept. 15, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 21-ranked USC women's volleyball team (7-3) knocked off Oklahoma (9-2) in a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 26-24, 25-15) in the second match of the Pac-12 Challenge at Galen Center on Thursday, Sept. 15. The Women of Troy hit .375 (48k, 9e, 104att) against the Sooners and produced their seventh straight victory in the process. No. 5-ranked Washington (9-0) defeated Maryland (7-3) in straight sets in the tournament's first match.
USC's win puts 16th-year head coach Mick Haley on the doorstep of his 400th victory as the Trojans' head coach. He raised his coaching record at Troy to 399-98 (.802).
Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the Trojans in scoring with 14.0 points on 13 kills (4e, 36att, .250) to go with three digs and a pair of blocks. Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie poured in 12.5 points with 11 kills (1e, 19att) and a .526 hitting night to go with three blocks of her own.
Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins also had three blocks and scored 10.5 points with an efficient .800 hitting performance (0e, 10att) on eight kills. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers also had eight kills without an error on 18 swings for a .444 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside Alyse Ford added seven kills (2e, 14att, .357) with seven digs and two blocks.
Defensively, the Trojans were led by senior libero Taylor Whittingham who had a match-high 20 digs. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn came through with a match-high five blocks. USC's setters put up 44 assists. Junior Reni Meyer-Whalley dished out 24 assists to go with four digs while senior Alice Pizzasegola finished with 16 assists and five digs.
For the Sooners, Micaela Spann led with eight kills (3e, 21att, .238). Four other Oklahoma players each had six kills including Kimmy Gardiner who led the Sooners with 11 digs. Audrey Alford put up 26 assists but her team hit just .096 in the match (33k, 22e, 114att).
The first set went back and forth until the Trojans seized control with an 8-1 run to put a 15-10 lead on the board. Dunn got up for three straight blocks, the first two with Abercrombie, and the third with Ford to put set point on the board at 24-16 before Abercrombie sent a shot down the line to sew up a 25-17 win.
USC appeared to be in control of the second set and got out to an 18-14 lead on Withers' kill, but the Sooners rolled back into the picture thanks to their own 6-3 run and grabbed set point at 24-23. Withers came to the rescue and saved set point before Ford's kill turned the tables for a 25-24 USC set point. The Sooners committed a final error to seal their fate in a 26-24 decision.
Like it was in the first set, the score was tied five times early on, but the Trojans' explosive 6-1 run led to an 11-6 advantage for Troy and put the match out of reach. USC's run included a kill and an ace from Ruddins and a pair of kills by Ford. The Women of Troy continued to push and went ahead by 10 thanks to back-to-back kills from Lanier and Abercrombie at 18-8. Unrelenting, the Trojans stayed on top by 10 at 23-13 on Ruddins' eighth kill, but the Sooners couldn't close the gap as Ford's final kill closed the match.
The Trojans will be back in action at 8 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 16, when they face Maryland. The matchup will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Network with Chris Marlowe and Tammy Blackburn on the call. Prior to the USC match, Washington and Oklahoma will meet on the court at 5 p.m., a contest that will also be shown live on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Washington. In the morning, Oklahoma and Maryland will face off at 11 a.m. PT.
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.