No. 21 Trojans Top Terrapins to Tally 400th Win For Haley|
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Sept. 16, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 21-ranked USC women's volleyball team (8-3) took down Maryland (8-4) in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-23) to complete the Pac-12 Challenge and finish its non-conference schedule on an eight-match winning streak on Friday, Sept. 16, at Galen Center. 16th-year head coach Mick Haley tallied his 400th win at the helm for Troy and improved to 400-98 as the winningest head coach in USC program history.
Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins and freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier were each named to the all-tournament team. Lanier led the Trojans with 17.0 points against the Terrapins and racked up 13 kills against just one error on 29 swings for a .414 hitting percentage. She also posted nine digs, three service aces, and had a pair of blocks. Ruddins scored 11.0 points with eight kills (1e, 11att) and a .636 hitting percentage. Ruddins also had a team-high five blocks (one solo).
The Trojans hit .240 in the match (35k, 11e, 100att) and got a double-double from junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley who finished with 18 assists and 16 digs. USC's other pin-hitters posted a total of 13 kills including five from sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford, and four each from junior opposite hitters Brittany Abercrombie and Niki Withers. Abercrombie also had four blocks. Ford put up nine digs.
For the Terrapins, Gia Milana led her team with 12 kills but had 11 errors on 53 attacks for a .019 attack percentage. Angel Gaskin knocked down nine kills (3e, 17att) for a .353 hitting rate. Taylor Smith dished out 27 assists and had eight digs. Kelsey Wicinski led all players with 17 digs and was chosen to the all-tournament team. As a team, Maryland hit .137 in the match (38k, 20e, 131att).
USC never trailed in the opening set and quickly jumped out to a 7-1 lead when senior libero Taylor Whittingham served an ace and Lanier followed with a kill. The Trojans pressed and blew that lead up to 11 points at 15-4 on a pair of Terrapin attack errors. Maryland wouldn't go quietly as it mounted a comeback and closed within five points at 19-14, but Ruddins went quick on back-to-back rallies for kills and put USC back on top by seven, 21-14. At 22-16, Whittingham left the match with a leg injury but the Trojans were unfazed and stayed the course for a 25-19 win on Ford's final kill of the frame.
The second set was far more hotly contested and saw five ties before a winner was decided. The Trojans fell behind by four points on more than one occasion, including at 13-9 when Gaskin earned back-to-back kills, but breathed new life thanks to a 5-1 run powered by a pair of service aces by Lanier. The teams went back and forth until the Trojans gained some separation at 19-17 on an ace by Ford. USC closed the set on an 8-2 run as Lanier sealed the win with back-to-back kills for another 25-19 decision.
The Women of Troy maintained control of the third frame and led by three at 14-11 and by four at 16-12, but no lead seemed to be large enough. Even on the doorstep of the sweep and with a 21-17 lead, the Trojans couldn't hold off the Terrapin charge, which turned a 5-1 run into a tie score at 22-all. Ruddins put USC ahead with her kill at 23-22, and the Trojans took set point at 24-23 when a Maryland serve hit the net. Withers had the final kill of the match to close the books on Haley's 400th USC victory.
USC will begin defense of its Pac-12 crown with a pair of matches at Galen Center next week. The Trojans take on crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday (Sept. 21) and then face Washington on Friday (Sept. 23). Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. PT starts and will be shown live on Pac-12 Networks.
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.