USC Cleans Up With 3-0 Sweep of No. 23 Kentucky|
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Sept. 2, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's volleyball team (1-3) secured its first victory of the season with a 3-0 sweep of No. 23 Kentucky (2-2) in the second match of the 2016 USC Radisson Classic at Galen Center on Friday, Sept. 2. Behind a balanced attack and a strong defensive effort, the Women of Troy stopped a three-match losing streak. Earlier in the evening, No. 22 Creighton (2-1) took out Northern Iowa (2-2) in three sets, 25-20, 32-30, 27-25.
Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier produced her second double-double in three matches and finished with a match-high 13 kills (3e, 26att) and a .385 hitting percentage. Lanier picked up 10 digs and had a service ace and a solo block for a 15.0 point night. Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins notched 10 kills (2e, 15att) and hit .533 to go with four blocks (one solo).
In all, the Trojans had 12.0 blocks including 6.0 in the third frame. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers led all players with five blocks (one solo) and added four kills (.250) and four digs to her final line. Senior libero Taylor Whittingham had 11 digs to lead all players. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn started the match and finished with four blocks and three kills. Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie tacked on five kills (1e, 11att, .364) and three blocks (one solo) and freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford finished with six kills (2e, 19att, .211) and two blocks (one solo).
The Women of Troy put up a .344 hitting percentage with 41 kills (10e) on 90 swings. Junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley had 17 assists and four digs and senior setter Alice Pizzasegola finished with 14 assists. USC's defensive effort helped the Trojans hold the Wildcats to a .067 hitting percentage, which included a .000 finish in the first set (9k, 9e, 31att).
For Kentucky, Leah Edmond paced the Cats with 10 kills (4e, 20att, .300). Darian Mack had nine kills (7e, 27att, .074) and five digs. Olivia Dailey handed out 27 assists in the losing effort.
The Trojans never trailed in the opening set and rolled out to an eight-point lead at 13-5. The Wildcats chipped away and came within four points at 18-14, but Lanier rose up for back-to-back kills and Abercrombie stuffed Mack's attack for a 21-14 USC lead. The Trojans continued to hold court and got a pair of kills from Ruddins to end Kentucky's chances at a comeback with a 25-19 win.
USC traded points with the Cats to open the second set, but Ruddins' kill for an eight-all tie sparked the Trojans on an 8-0 run that put the frame out of reach for Kentucky. The Women of Troy were unrelenting and went on another 5-0 run to go up by 11 points, 24-13, on an ace by sophomore defender Victoria Garrick. The Wildcats scored two more points, but Lanier tooled the Kentucky block to sew up a 25-15 win for the Trojans.
The score remained close in the third frame until back-to-back blocks by the Trojans opened up a three-point advantage at 10-7. The Wildcats stayed within two or three points until Lanier bounced a crosscourt shot off the floor to send USC on another 5-0 run and all but slammed the door on Kentucky's hopes. The run put the Trojans on top, 21-15, when Ruddins knocked down a kill out of a UK timeout. A pair of Wildcat errors set USC up with match point before Ford and Dunn teamed for the final block in a 25-17 third-set win.
Up next, the Trojans take on Northern Iowa at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, Sept. 3, in the third match of the Radisson Classic. Kentucky and Creighton will meet at noon, and then Kentucky and Northern Iowa will play at 5 p.m. PT. USC will wrap up action with an 8 p.m. PT match against Creighton. Each of the Trojans' matches will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
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.