- No. 12 USC def. No. 17 Colorado 3-2 (20-25, 25-17, 27-29, 25-11, 15-11)
- USC 20-7, 12-4 Pac-12; Colorado 19-8, 9-7 Pac-12
- Los Angeles, California
- Attendance: 539
- Box Score
LOS ANGELES – The No. 12 USC women’s volleyball team claimed head coach Mick Haley his 1,300th career victory (at all levels), edging No. 17 Colorado in five sets on Saturday.
The victory, which was the Trojans’ fifth straight, gave Haley the milestone, including wins at Kellogg Community College (men and women) and 952 NCAA Division I wins with the women’s teams at Texas and USC.
After Colorado won two close sets and USC took two blowouts, the fifth set was a see-saw battle. The Trojans jumped ahead 6-4 early, only to trail 8-6 at the changeover. Two hitting errors and kill by junior outside hitter Alexa Smith and senior opposite Joslyn Hayes gave the Buffs the two-point edge. USC scored six of the next eight, including a pair of blocks and an by sophomore setter Cindy Marina, to surge ahead 12-10 and force a Colorado timeout. The Trojans finished off the comeback at 15-11 with a pair of kills by senior opposite Niki Withers and a Colorado service error.
Sophomore outside Khalia Lanier paced the USC with 21 kills, while hitting .333 and adding a team-best 14 digs and four aces. Freshman opposite Brooke Botkin (14), seinor opposite Brittany Abercrombie (11) and Withers (10) also downed double-digit kill tallies. Junior middle Madison Murtagh notched a team-best four blocks.
Junior outside Frankie Shebby posted a 21-kill, 12 dig double double and six blocks to led Colorado. Smith followed with 11 kills and team-leading 13 digs. Senior middle Anna Pfefferle put up a match high seven stuffs. Freshman setter Brynna DeLuzio added 41 sassists and 11 digs.
USC led by three early in Set 1, last at 9-6, but could not hang in what turned into a back-and-forth affair featuring five ties and three lead changes. The Buffaloes turned the 9-6 deficit into a 14-10 lead of its own as the Trojans gave up four points on errors. USC charged back from a 15-11 deficit with a 5-0 run of its own, scoring two points on Colorado miscues and two on Botkin putaways. Later, trailing 18-17, the Buffs pulled away with eight of the final 10 points. Shebby notched two kills and a block, while Pfefferle added two stuffs and a kill in the run. The duo teamed up on a block to make it 24-18. Kills by Dunn and Lanier kept the set going, before Pfefferle ended it with a putdown.
After tying it at 5-all in Set 2, it was never in doubt for the Trojans, which soon built a 15-9 advantage. Three Colorado errors and two kills each by Abercrombie and Lanier put USC up six. The Buffs narrowed the gap to four at 15-11, but would get no closer. Two Lanier putaways and an ace by Marina made it 24-15 Trojans. A pair of USC errors slowed the team momentarily, before Withers evened the match at a set apiece with the 25-17 win.
Neither team led by more than three in a hotly contested Set 3, which included 13 ties, including seven at or after the 21-all mark. USC boasted a three-point lead at 10-7 after back to back Colorado errors and again at 14-11, 16-13 and 17-14. Two kills and a block by Shebby knotted the score at 18. Down 21-19, the Buffs got kills from Abu and DeLuzio to pull even at 21. Shebby added another kill and block to give Colorado a 23-22 edge and the first set point try at 24-23. After thwarting that try and another at 25-24, Botkin came through for the Trojans with a kill and an ace to put USC up 26-25. A hitting error gave USC another chance at 27-26, but a Smith kill and another by Abu set up the final point for Colorado, a hitting miscue, which clinched the 29-27 win.
USC rolled to a 25-11 victory in Set 4, jumping out to a quick 20-6 lead and never looking back. After a tie at 3, the Trojans were off and running, notching six straight points, including a trio of Lanier aces. USC added another 6-0 run, this time featuring three Abercrombie kills, to raise the advantage to 17-5. Three Lanier putaways and an ace by Marina lifted the Trojans to set point at 24-9. A Botkin kill capped the set at 25-11 to force the decisive fifth stanza.
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