No. 25 USC Takes Down California in Sweep|
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Oct. 21, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 25-ranked USC women's volleyball team (14-6, 6-3 Pac-12) defeated California (8-11, 2-7) in straight sets, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18, at Galen Center on Friday, Oct. 21. The Women of Troy won their third straight match as the Trojans held the Golden Bears to a .109 hitting night. Senior libero Taylor Whittingham led all players with 11 digs and moved into fourth place in USC's all-time record books for career digs. She passed Nancy Hillman (1985-88) who had 1,536 and now has 1,538 digs in her career.
Whittingham also had seven assists in the match. At the pins, USC got 11 kills from freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier (5e, 20att, .300) who also picked up five digs. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 10 kills (2e, 21att, .381) and six digs to go with a block (solo). Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie added nine kills (1e) on just 13 swings for a .615 hitting rate and had three blocks (one solo). Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins had five kills (2e, 9att, .333) and also had three blocks (one solo).
The Trojans out-hit the Bears, .322 (44k, 16e, 87att) to .109 (32k, 22e, 92att). Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola had 11 assists and four digs while junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley dished out 19 assists and had five digs.
For the Bears, Bailee Huizenga led with nine kills (3e, 24att, .250) and Christine Alftin had six kills (5e, 21att, .048) with six digs. The Trojans held both of Cal's middle blockers to negative hitting percentages including Belen Castillo who hit negative .167 (3k, 5e, 12att) and Janelle Jordan who was negative .067 (5k, 6e, 15att). The Bears out-blocked the Trojans, 8-5, in the match and had four aces.
The Trojans rolled out to an early 11-4 lead in the opening frame and seemed to have control of the match, but the Bears came roaring back to tie the score at 17-all on a 5-0 run that included three consecutive service aces by Alftin. USC went ahead again, but was caught once more at 21 and again at 22 when Huizenga went crosscourt for the kill. Abercrombie followed suit to break the tie and then Lanier earned the kill to give USC set point before a Cal error sealed a 25-22 win for the Trojans.
Cal held a brief 11-9 lead in the second set, but the Trojans broke the eighth tie of the set to take a 16-14 lead on back-to-back kills by Ford. USC maintained its lead and went up by as many as four points at 23-19 when Lanier found the deep back corner and then again at 24-20 when junior opposite hitter Niki Withers bounced a shot down the line for the point. The Bears saved one set point but Ford tooled the Cal block for the final point in a 25-21 USC win.
The Trojans came out of the break focused and took a 7-3 lead when Withers and Ford put together two straight kills. Cal fought to get within a point at 10-9, but USC pushed to get a 15-11 lead when Abercrombie scored on a cut-shot kill. The Trojans never allowed the Bears to get any closer than three points and claimed a 22-16 lead when Ford went crosscourt for her 10th kill of the match. Not to be outdone, Lanier scored kills on three of the last four rallies to sew up a 25-18 win and the 3-0 sweep.
Up next, the Women of Troy host No. 14 Stanford (11-5, 5-3 Pac-12) on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. PT at Galen Center. The Trojans and the Cardinal will appear live on ESPNU with Paul Sunderland and U.S. National Team head coach Karch Kiraly 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.