No. 21 USC Falls to No. 9 UCLA in Four|
Follow, Like, Instagram, Periscope, and Snap with @USCWomensVolley
Sept. 21, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 21-ranked USC women's volleyball team (8-4, 0-1 Pac-12) dropped a four-set decision (25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 29-27) to No. 9 UCLA (10-1, 1-0) at Galen Center on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The Women of Troy had their eight-match winning streak halted and were turned away by the Bruins for the fourth time in the last five meetings.
USC was led by junior opposite hitter Niki Withers who matched her season high with 13 kills (3e, 30att, .333). The Trojans got 14.0 points from freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier who posted 12 kills, a service ace, and a solo block to go with nine digs. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford put up her second-career double-double with 11 kills (2e, 26att, .346) and a career-high 20 digs. Ford also had three blocks for 12.5 points.
Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn had six kills without an error (10att) for a .600 hitting rate and put up five blocks (one solo). Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins added seven kills (3e, 14att, .286) with three blocks. The Trojans hit .394 on the night and got 25 assists and eight digs from junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley. Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola added 23 assists and five digs. Defensively, sophomore libero Victoria Garrick had a career-best 24 digs and threw in a pair of service aces.
For the Bruins, Reily Buechler led all players with 21 kills (6e, 55att, .273) and added nine digs. Jordan Anderson had 11 kills (2e, 28att, .321) and 15 digs for a double-double; and Jennie Frager tallied 10 kills (2e, 26att, .308) with four blocks. Taylor Formico led the Bruins with 22 digs. UCLA hit .257 in the match with 63 kills (20e) on 167 swings.
The Trojans rolled out to an early 5-1 lead to open the match, but were caught at eight-all when the Bruins reeled off three straight kills. UCLA went ahead, 14-13, on a kill by Frager and never trailed again despite the Trojans' push to close the gap to a single point at 23-22 on an ace by Garrick. Frager and Claire Felix had the final two kills of the set to cement a 25-22 win for the Bruins. The second set went back and forth until USC went on top by three at 14-11 on a big kill by Lanier. Back-to-back blocks by Ford and Dunn put the Trojans ahead by four at 18-14 before Withers sealed the 25-21 win with her kill.
It didn't take long for the Bruins to build a lead in the third frame as they went in front by three at 8-5. USC forced UCLA's hand and trimmed all but a single point off the lead at 11-10 when Dunn went quick for the kill. The Bruins then went on a 6-2 run to go up by six points at 23-17. Three straight points by the Trojans weren't nearly enough to stop the Bruin train, which put UCLA on top, 2-1, in the match with a 25-20 win.
Tough serving and a big UCLA block put the Trojans behind the eight ball early in the fourth as the Bruins went ahead by as many as nine points at 17-8. Slowly, but surely, USC chipped away at the lead and caught UCLA for a 22-all tie on a kill by Lanier. The Trojans took the first set point at 24-23 when sophomore middle blocker Madison Murtagh and Ruddins teamed up to reject Buechler, but the Bruins stayed the course and earned back-to-back set points at 25-24 and 26-25. The Trojans had one more push in them and claimed their second set point at 27-26, but UCLA scored the final three points to close the books on the USC comeback at 29-27.
Up next, the Trojans remain home to face No. 4 Washington (10-1, 0-1 Pac-12). The Huskies were at Galen Center last week for the Pac-12 Challenge and left with a perfect 10-0 record, but were upset by rival Washington State, 3-1, earlier tonight. The USC-UW matchup will be shown live on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Los Angeles, and Pac-12 Washington with Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the broadcast. Please visit Pac-12.com/now for more information.
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.