No. 23 USC Faces Mountains in First Pac-12 Road Trip|
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Sept. 27, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 23-ranked USC women's volleyball team (8-5, 0-2 Pac-12) looks to regain its footing when it visits the Rocky Mountains for a pair of pivotal Pac-12 matches against No. 20 Colorado (9-3, 1-1) on Friday (Sept. 30) and at No. 25 Utah (11-2, 2-0) on Saturday (Oct. 1). The Women of Troy dropped each of their league contests last week against UCLA and Washington and lost back-to-back conference matches for the first time since 2014.
The Trojans have been without senior libero and captain Taylor Whittingham since she left the team's match against Maryland with a leg injury. Whittingham was on pace to become the program's third all-time leader in career digs and has been an integral piece to the team's success for each of the last three seasons. USC has relied on freshman OH Khalia Lanier for most of its offensive production. Lanier scores 4.26 points per set and ranks sixth in the Pac-12 for kills at 3.67 kps). Senior MB Elise Ruddins leads the Pac-12 with a .448 hitting percentage (80-16-143) and provides the Trojans with 1.74 kps and 1.04 bps. USC runs a 6-2 offense with setters Alice Pizzasegola (5.14 aps) and Reni Meyer-Whalley (5.84 aps).
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy had their eight-match winning streak snapped and dropped the first two Pac-12 matches of the season in a 3-1 loss to crosstown rival UCLA and a 3-0 sweep at the hands of fellow defending league co-champion Washington. USC had not lost back-to-back Pac-12 matches since the end of the 2014 season and lost a fourth and fifth match at the Galen Center in the same season for only the second time since the venue opened in 2006. The Trojans were without the services of starting libero Taylor Whittingham who sat out both contests due to a leg injury. In her stead, sophomore Victoria Garrick started and played the position.
FRESH PHENOM: Freshman OH Khalia Lanier was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2016 and through 13 collegiate matches, has already produced five double-doubles. She was named the Most Valuable Player at USC's second tournament, the Radisson Classic, and has been on each of the Trojans' pre-conference all-tournament teams. Lanier, who averages 3.67 kills and 4.26 points per set is the only freshman to rank among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in each of those statistical categories.
LET ME TAKE A #SELFIE: Get social with the Women of Troy this season. Fans can follow and interact with the USC women's volleyball team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope by searching for @USCWomensVolley.
900 CLUB: Head coach Mick Haley reached the 900-win mark in NCAA Division I women's volleyball last season. He ranks fourth in career DI wins (922) among active coaches behind only Penn State's Russ Rose, Hawai'i's Dave Shoji, and Navy's Larry Bock. Haley is in his 33rd season as a Division I coach, but has 40 years of overall coaching experience and is 1,270-320-1 (.799) in all matches including men's and women's at Kellogg Community College.