No. 23 Trojans Break Through For 3-1 Win Over No. 20 Buffaloes

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    Sept. 30, 2016

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    BOULDER, Colo. -- The No. 23-ranked USC women's volleyball team (9-5, 1-2 Pac-12) picked up a valuable 3-1 road victory (25-16, 32-34, 26-24, 25-16) over No. 20 Colorado at the Coors Events Center on Friday, Sept. 30. With six players in double-figure points, the Women of Troy stopped a short two-match skid and posted their first league win of the season.

    Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier took match-high honors with 20.5 points as she logged 19 kills (8e, 56att, .196) to go with a career-high 18 digs and three blocks. It was Lanier's sixth-career double-double match. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers scored season-bests with 18.5 points on 16 kills. Withers also matched her career mark with five blocks. Fellow junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie added 16.0 points with 15 kills (2e, 26att, .533) and two blocks.

    Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn scored career marks with 12.5 points and nine kills (2e, 16att, .438). Dunn also put up a season-high seven blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 11.0 points with nine kills and 11 digs. She also had one of USC's three service aces. Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins came through with 10.5 points on eight kills (0e, 15att, .533) and five blocks.

    In her first action following a two-match absence, senior libero Taylor Whittingham put up a match-high 19 digs and had a career-high eight assists to go with a pair of timely service aces. Sophomore defender Victoria Garrick added eight digs. Junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley dished out 32 assists and had eight digs. Junior setter Nikki Leonard put up 30 assists and had 14 digs to log her third-career double-double (two while at Gonzaga). USC's setters had the Trojans hitting .279 in the match (77k, 27e, 179att).

    The Buffaloes hit .202 in four sets and finished with 53 kills (17e, 178att). Both teams finished with 12.0 blocks, but USC had a huge 89-61 edge in digs. Joslyn Hayes led Colorado with 16 kills (2e, 41att, .341) while Gabby Simpson added 12 kills (4e, 39att, .205), 27 assists, and 11 digs for a triple-double. Naghede Abu tallied eight kills (0e, 21att, .381) to go with six blocks. On defense, Cierra Simpson led the Buffaloes with 18 digs.

    USC seized control of the first set when Lanier's kill put an 11-9 lead on the board for the Trojans. USC extended to four (16-12) and then later picked up an eight-point lead at 22-14 on a kill by Abercrombie. The Women of Troy put the first set to bed when Ruddins and Withers teamed up for the block and a 25-16 win.

    Back-to-back kills by Withers gave the Trojans set point at 24-22 in the second frame, but the Buffaloes wouldn't go quietly. The Trojans had six set points and the Buffaloes had five before Colorado closed out a marathon 34-32 win to even the match at one set apiece. USC had 24 kills and hit .245 in the second frame, but couldn't overcome the charging Buffalo down the stretch.

    Colorado led the third set, 20-15, before the Trojans forged a comeback to take a 26-24 win. This time around, the Buffaloes had set point at 24-22, but USC used a 4-0 run to seal the deal. It was Lanier's kill that sparked the run, but two big blocks by Ruddins--once with Ford and once with Withers--made the difference.

    The Buffaloes led, 6-5, in the fourth set, but a 7-2 run by the Trojans ripped open a 12-8 lead for USC. With Whittingham back to serve, the Women of Troy went up by seven, 17-10. Three straight USC points put the Trojans on top, 22-13, before a kill by Withers put match-point on the board for the Women of Troy. Ford and Dunn got up to turn away the final Colorado attack and put a 25-16 win to bed. USC had 17 kills and hit .256 in the fourth set, but held the Buffs to just seven kills and a .056 hitting rate when it counted.

    USC will turn around to face No. 25 Utah (11-3, 2-1 Pac-12) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. MT (6 p.m. PT). The match will be streamed live on The Utes were swept by UCLA earlier tonight.

    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 improved to 13-0 in all-time meetings against Colorado. The Buffaloes remain the only team in the Pac-12 that the Trojans have never lost to.
    • The Trojans snapped a short two-match skid in Pac-12 matches; the first-such streak since the 2014 season.
    • The victory is USC's 998th all-time and put the Trojans just two wins from reaching 1,000 all-time.
    • Senior L Taylor Whittingham returned from a two-match absence to start the match and finished with 19 digs. She also had a career-high eight assists.
    • Freshman OH Khalia Lanier recorded her sixth-career double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs. The 18 digs set a new career mark for Lanier.
    • Junior S Nikki Leonard posted her first double-double as a Trojan with 30 assists and 14 digs. It was her third-career double-double. She had two at Gonzaga.
    • Junior MB Jordan Dunn had career highs with 12.5 points and nine kills; and a season-high seven blocks.
    • Junior OPP Niki Withers had season highs with 18.5 points and 16 kills; and matched her career best with five blocks.
    • Junior OPP Brittany Abercrombie matched her season best with 15 kills.
    • Six different Trojans reached double-digit points.