No. 23 USC Takes Down No. 25 Utah in Five|
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Oct. 1, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY -- The No. 23-ranked USC women's volleyball team (10-5, 2-2 Pac-12) completed a road trip through the Rocky Mountains with a hard-fought five-set win (25-14, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8) over No. 25 Utah (11-4, 2-2) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Oct. 1. Five Trojans scored in double digits including freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier who tallied 19 kills (6e, 51att, .255) and 15 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.
Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins posted 14.0 points as she collected nine kills (1e, 11att) to hit .727 and added seven blocks including a career-high three solo. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers also had 14.0 points on 13 kills (4e, 27att, .333) and two blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 10.0 points on 10 kills with six digs. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn also had 10.0 points with six kills (2e, 15att, .267) and six blocks (two solo). Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie picked up six kills and six blocks.
USC hit .247 in the match (63k, 24e, 158att) and utilized all three of its setters. Junior Reni Meyer-Whalley had 27 assists and eight digs. Senior Alice Pizzasegola tallied 17 assists and junior Nikki Leonard dished out nine assists and had a service ace. On defense, the Trojans were led by senior libero Taylor Whittingham's 28 digs.
For the Utes, Adora Anae led the way with 25 kills (9e, 59att, .271) and 12 digs for a double-double. She also had a service ace and a block. Megan Shughrou had 18 digs and added a service ace. Berkeley Oblad scored nine kills and four blocks; and Tawnee Luafalemana had seven kills and a team-high five blocks (one solo).
The Trojans earned sideout on 13 of 14 opportunities in the first set and rolled away with a 25-14 win. USC hit .308 (11k, 3e, 26att) and took advantage of 15 Utah errors to earn the win. The Utes hit .059 with seven hitting errors and racked up five service errors, two ball-handling errors, and one blocking error in a forgettable set. Utah returned to the floor for set two to hit .400 (16k, 4e, 30att) and earned sideout on 14 of 17 chances. The Trojans couldn't keep pace as the Utes evened the match with a 25-17 win.
Momentum returned to the Trojans' side of the net in the third frame. USC scored 23.0 points to knock off the Utes, 25-20, and take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Women of Troy hit .471 with 19 kills (3e, 34att) and had a 17-10 edge in digs. The Trojan block came to life in the third and produced four blocks including three solo blocks in the set. The fourth set swung back to the Utes, who stayed alive with a 25-23 win to force a fifth set. Both teams put on big blocking displays in the set, but Utah out-did the Trojans by a 6-5 edge. The score was tied eight times and the lead changed hands five times before back-to-back kills by Anae ended the set.
USC quickly seized control of the fifth set when Withers earned a kill and Lanier served up an ace to give the Trojans a 7-4 lead. Ruddins, Lanier, and Ford put three straight USC kills on the board to blow that lead up to six at 11-5. Dunn and Abercrombie teamed to block Anae for set point before Eliza Katoa ended the match on her hitting error. USC hit .278 in the final frame but needed just six kills to close out the Utes.
Up next, the Women of Troy return home to Galen Center to host Arizona State (Oct. 5) and Arizona (Oct. 7) on Wednesday and Friday respectively. The Trojans' matchup against the Sun Devils will be shown live on the 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.