Women's Volleyball
    Trojans Push Past Panthers for 3-1 Victory

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    Sept. 3, 2016

    Final Stats |  Notes  | Final Statistics (PDF) Get Acrobat Reader

    LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's volleyball team (2-3) fought off Northern Iowa (2-3) for a 3-1 win, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 25-23, in the third match of the USC Radisson Classic at Galen Center on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Women of Troy had four players score at least 14.0 points in the win and out-hit the Panthers, .276 (63-20-156) to .204 (55-23-157).

    Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led all players with 16 kills (7e, 48att, .188) and notched her second straight double-double (third of the year) with 11 digs. She and junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie each had 16.5 points. Abercrombie added 15 kills (2e, 34att) to go with a .382 hitting percentage and had three blocks.

    Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford came through with 14 kills (3e, 31att, .355), four digs, and a service ace (15.5 points) and junior opposite hitter Niki Withers poured in 13 kills (2e, 24att) with a .458 hitting rate along with two blocks (14.0 points). Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola had 24 assists and four digs while junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley dished out 28 assists and had nine digs. Senior libero Taylor Whittingham led all players with 29 digs and added three assists and a service ace to her final line.

    For Northern Iowa, Bri Weber turned in 13 kills (5e, 42att, .190) and 16 digs for a double-double. Kayla Haneline picked up 14 kills (7e, 38att, .184) and Piper Thomas led the Panthers with 15 kills (3, 26att, .462).

    USC broke up a tug-of-war game by going on top by three, 9-6, but three straight kills by Thomas pulled the Panthers even at 10-all. Abercrombie's kill sparked a six-point Trojan run that ended with a Withers crosscourt cut-down at 16-10. UNI fought back to within a point at 22-21, but Abercrombie and Withers earned back-to-back kills to put a 25-21 USC win to bed.

    The Trojans burst out of the gate to start the second frame and got four kills from Ford to run ahead for a 4-1 lead. It wasn't enough as the Panthers roared back to knot the score at 10-all, but another six-point USC run put the set out of reach when Ford dropped an ace on UNI and sophomore middle blocker Madison Murtagh put an overpass to the floor. The Panthers mounted another comeback but could only get to within two at 22-20 and 23-21 before Abercrombie's kill and Pizzasegola's ace secured a 25-21 win for USC.

    The Women of Troy broke open the third set when senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins earned the kill for a 19-10 lead. USC led by nine again at 20-11, but the Panthers wouldn't go quietly as they mounted an 11-2 run to knot the score at 22-all. USC claimed match point at 24-23, but Thomas came up with back-to-back kills before a Trojan error put UNI on the board with a 26-24 win.

    The Panthers carried their momentum from the third-set win into the fourth and maintained a healthy lead throughout the belly of the frame. UNI went up by as many as six points at 20-14 and 21-15, but USC had other plans. Abercrombie's cut shot ignited the Trojan offense, which got three more kills from Withers before a pair of Panther errors brought USC to the doorstep. Brought in just for the fourth set, junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn teamed with Abercrombie for the block that tied the score at 23-all. Abercrombie then blasted a shot down the line for match point. Dunn met up with Ford to turn away the final attack of the match for a 25-23 USC win.

    Up next, the Trojans conclude the Radisson Classic with a match against No. 22 Creighton (2-1) at 8 p.m. PT. The Bluejays defeated UNI in the first match of the tournament. The USC-Creighton match will be shown live on Pac-12 Los Angeles with Kevin Barnett and Tammy Blackburn on the broadcast.

    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.

    MATCH NOTES

    • The Trojans improved to 5-0 in all-time meetings with Northern Iowa.
    • The USC victory brought head coach Mick Haley just six wins from reaching his 400th at USC (394-98). It also puts the program at just nine wins from reaching the 1,000-win threshold.
    • Freshman OH Khalia Lanier produced her third double-double in four matches and finished with a match-high 16 kills and 11 digs.
    • Sophomore OH Alyse Ford had a season-high 14 kills.
    • Junior OPP Niki Withers matched her season high with 13 kills.
    • Junior OPP Brittany Abercrombie had a season-high 15 kills; one short of matching her career mark.
    • Senior L Taylor Whittingham had a match- and season-high 29 digs; one short of notching her fourth-career 30-dig match.
    • Whittingham became just the ninth Trojan to reach the 1,300-career digs plateau and now has exactly 1,300. During the match, she passed three-time All-American OH April Ross (1,296) on the USC career ladder and now ranks ninth overall.