Trojans Fall at No. 25 Cougars in Five Sets|
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Nov. 23, 2016
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The USC women's volleyball team (18-12, 10-9 Pac-12) lost in five sets, 17-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-25, 15-8, to No. 25 Washington State (21-10, 11-8 Pac-12) at Bohler Gym on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The Women of Troy had a four-match winning streak over the Cougars snapped in what was the fourth five-set match between the teams in their last six meetings.
Senior libero Taylor Whittingham collected 19 digs and had seven assists and a service ace in the loss. Her 19 digs made her just the third Trojan ever to cross the 1,700-dig plateau. She passed Katie Haller (1,702 digs; 1990-93) to move into third place all-time in USC's career record books with 1,705. Only All-American liberi Natalie Hagglund and Debora Seilhamer have more digs in program history.
Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier put up new career highs with 27 kills (8e, 67att, .284) and 29.0 points. She also had 12 digs for her 14th double-double of the season and added two blocks and a service ace. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers added 12 kills and two blocks while senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins totaled nine kills (3e, 18att, .333) and six blocks (one solo) for 12.5 points.
Sophomore defender Victoria Garrick picked up 13 digs and junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn had five blocks in the Trojans' defensive effort. USC finished with 12.0 team blocks and actually out-hit the Cougars, .203 to .176. Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola had 22 assists and seven digs while junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley put up 21 assists and eight digs to go with two service aces.
For the Cougars, Kyra Holt led the way with 18 kills (12e, 59att, .102) and had 12 digs for a double-double with five blocks (one solo). McKenna Woodford had 14 kills (4e, 37att, .270) with four blocks. Taylor Mims and Claire Martin each had seven blocks. Mims added eight kills. Three WSU players reached double-digit digs including Alexis Dirige who led with 19.
The Trojans built their first eight-point lead of the first set at 15-7 on a kill by Lanier. The Cougars cut the lead in half and trailed by just four at 20-16, but USC stepped on the gas to win, 25-17, with Lanier contributing two kills and a block for the final three points of the frame. The second set was tied 11 times but WSU caught the Trojans at 18-all and forced the only lead change of the set. The Cougars scored on seven of the last nine rallies to complete a 25-20 win to tie the match at one-all.
An early back-and-forth in the third set quickly got out of hand when WSU went on a 4-1 run to lead, 12-8. The Cougars didn't let up and led by six at 15-9. The Trojans mounted a 4-1 run to close the gap but Washington State slammed the door on any comeback bid to win another 25-20 frame for a 2-1 lead in the match. USC responded to the Cougars' win by coming out with a vengeance for a 25-15 win in the fourth. The Trojans never trailed and scored 19 points with 13 kills, three blocks, and three aces in the set. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, as the Cougars scored the first four points of the fifth set and never looked back. WSU led by five, 10-5, on a service ace, and scored 14 of their 15 points in the fifth to complete the 3-2 win.
Up next, the Women of Troy will close the regular season against crosstown rival No. 8 UCLA (23-6, 14-5 Pac-12) at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 26. The Trojans and Bruins will meet at 5 p.m. PT and be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles with Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the broadcast.
For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.