16 Kills from Brittany Abercrombie Leads #12 USC to Win over Cal

  0 Brandon Johnson | October 14th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

Match Info

  • California at #12 USC (PAC-12 Match)
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • USC improves to 14-4 (6-1 PAC-12); Cal drops to 11-7 (2-5 PAC-12)
  • Attendance: 1,003
  • Box Score

#12 ranked USC fought off a tough battle from the visiting Cal Bears late Friday night, improving their standing near the top of the PAC-12. Set scores were 25-21, 29-27, 25-15 and 25-23.  Brittany Abercrombie led the Trojans’ offense with 16 kills while Khalia Lanier chipped in 15 kills, 9 digs and 2 aces. Victoria Garrick anchored the defense with 22 digs. Reni Meyer-Whalley and Cindy Marina shared the setting duties, dishing out 27 and 25 assists respectively. The Trojans improved their overall record on the year to 14-4 (6-1 PAC-12). USC returns to action on Sunday, October 15th when they host #3 Stanford.

USC led the match in hitting percentage .282 to .228, kills 65-52,  and assists 58-49. Meanwhile, the Bears led the match in aces 5-4 and blocks 8-6.

Mima Mirkovic posted a double-double for Cal with 11 kills and 14 digs, while Carmen Annevelink and Antzela Dempi blasted 14 and 12 kills respectively. Emma Smith led the defense with 21 digs. The Bears drop to 11-7 overall on the season (2-5 PAC-12) and will return to action on Saturday, October 14th to finish their Los Angeles road trip against #18 UCLA.

Press Release:

Courtesy of USC Athletics

LOS ANGELES – The 19th-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (14-4, 6-1 Pac-12) defeated California (11-7, 2-5) in four sets (25-21, 27-29, 25-15, 25-23) at Galen Center on Friday, Oct. 13. Four Trojans scored double-digit kills led by senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie who had 16 (4e, 39att) with a .308 hitting percentage.

Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier tallied 15 kills (2e, 49att, .265) and had nine digs and two service aces. Senior opposite hitter Niki Withers finished with 13 kills (2e) on just 24 swings for a .458 hitting percentage. She also had four blocks (one solo) for 15.5 points. Junior outside hitter Alyse Ford added 12 kills (2e, 20att) on a .500 hitting night and had five digs.

As a team, the Women of Troy hit .282 (65k, 19e, 163) on the setting of senior Reni Meyer-Whalley and sophomore Cindy Marina. Meyer-Whalley dished out 27 assists and had nine digs while Marina totaled 25 assists and had four digs. Each setter also had a service ace in the match. Defensively, junior libero Victoria Garrick led all players with 22 digs and added five assists. Sophomore defender Jenna Adams picked up a career-best nine digs. Off the bench, senior middle blocker Danielle Geiger added four kills (1e, .333) on nine swings to go with three blocks.

For the Bears, Carmen Annevelink led the way with 14 kills (3e, 30att, .367). Antzela Dempi earned 12 kills (6e, 31att, .194) but finished with match-high honors on 18.0 points thanks to five service aces and two blocks. Mima Mirkovic had 11 kills (2e, 24att, .265) to go with 14 digs. Mirkovic had nine of her 11 kills in the second set to help the Bears pull off a 29-27 win. Defensively, Emma Smith dug up 21 balls but also committed three reception errors.

Neither team had a particularly strong first set, but USC got four kills from Abercrombie and three from Withers to emerge from the opening frame with a 25-21 win. The Trojans broke the eighth and final tie of the set with three straight points including back-to-back kills from Withers. Cal led the second set by as many as six points several times but USC fought back to take a 21-20 lead on three straight kills. The Women of Troy had set point four times, but the Bears saved each one and got four kills from Mirkovic to hold on and win, 29-27, and even the match at one set apiece.

The Trojans earned sideout at an 80-percent rate in the third set and had 15 kills (3e) on 33 swings for a .364 hitting percentage. Lanier and Ford each scored four kills and powered USC to a 25-15 win for a 2-1 lead in the match. USC led the entire fourth set en route to a 25-23 win, but was threatened several times. After holding a seven-point lead at 13-6, the Trojans had all but a single point trimmed from their advantage as a 6-0 Cal run pulled the Bears within a point at 13-12. USC settled down and pulled ahead by four points at 20-16, but the Bears kept on coming. Abercrombie’s 16th kill gave the Trojans match point before Withers knocked a shot off the Cal block to seal the 25-23 win and end the match.

Up next, the Women of Troy face No. 3 Stanford (14-2, 7-0 Pac-12) in a Sunday-afternoon matinee (Oct. 15) at 3 p.m. PT in a match that will be shown live on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Los Angeles, and Pac-12 Bay Area. The match is also Super Hero Day at Galen Center. The first 250 kids (under the age of 12) will receive a special Super Cape. Visit USCTrojans.com/tickets to purchase today.

For more information on the USC women’s volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.


  • USC improved to 57-12 all-time against California and extended to a four-match winning streak over the Golden Bears.
  • The Women of Troy improved to 6-0 at the Galen Center this season and to 145-30 all-time in the building.
  • USC moved to 8-2 in four-set matches this season.
  • Sophomore DS Jenna Adams put up a career-high nine digs in the win.

Press Release:

Courtesy of Cal Athletics

BERKELEY – The Cal volleyball team was in position to win three of four sets Friday but ultimately dropped a hard-fought 25-21, 27-29, 25-15, 25-23 match at No. 19 USC at the Galen Center.

Cal was within one or two points late in three of the sets but was only able to pull one of them out. The Bears (11-7, 2-5 Pac-12) trailed just 22-20 in the first set before the Trojans put things away. In the second set, Cal staved off four USC set points before finally coming back to even the match behind freshman Mima Mirkovic, who had the Bears’ final four kills of the set.

After dropping a lopsided third set, Cal overcame an early deficit in the fourth to make it close at the end. The Trojans raced out to a 13-6 lead but the Bears gradually sliced into the deficit, cutting it to 21-19. With USC leading 23-20, a kill by junior Carmen Annevelink and a Trojans hitting error cut it to 23-22. After calling timeout, USC reached match point before Annevelink put down another kill to cut it to 24-23. But the Trojans were finally able to polish off the match.

“In order to win on the road in the Pac-12, you have to play just a little bit better than your opponent,” Cal coach Matt McShane said. “There were times tonight we played better than USC, but the majority of the time they were better than us.”

Senior Antzela Dempi had another terrific night with 12 kills, five aces, seven digs and two blocks. Annevelink led the Bears offensively with 14 kills at a .367 hitting percentage and Mirkovic had 11 kills and 14 digs. Libero Emma Smith had 21 digs.

“We had an opportunity to night to get a win on the road in the Pac-12,” McShane said. “We make good plays, but it’s not making good plays once in awhile. The teams that win are the ones that make good plays the vast majority of the time. That’s one of the things we need to learn.”

The Bears are back in action Saturday night at No. 12 UCLA at 6 p.m.

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