No. 21-ranked USC Trojans defeated the Maryland Terrapins in 3 (25-19, 25-19, 25-23) to open the Pac-12 Challenge. It was a huge night for USC coach Mick Haley, who achieved his 400th win leading the Trojans, for a 400-98 record and went down in history as the most winning USC head coach in history.
The Trojans jumped to an early 7-1 lead in the first set over the Terrapins thanks to an ace from Taylor Whittingham and a kill from Khalia Lanier.
USC’s lead exploded with an 11-point run to go up 15-4. Maryland seemed to wake up and join the competition, with the Terrapin offense bringing the score within 5 points 19-14. Elise Ruddins lit up Maryland’s defense with back to back kills for USC, giving them a 21-14 lead. Although the Trojans lost Whittingham with a leg injury, they continued on to end the first set.
The second set was a real competition, with five ties between the teams. Maryland earned their first leads of the match and went up 13-9. The Trojans had a 5-1 run with help from two aces from Lanier. The lead changed hands again before USC was finally able to breakaway with an 8-2 run with kills from Lanier to win the second set.
The Trojans controlled the game for most of the third set, but the Terrapins had a 5-1 run to tie the game 22-22. USC was able to go up 24-23, and a Maryland serve error gave USC the sweeping win.
Courtesy of Southern California Athletics
LOS ANGELES — The No. 21-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (8-3) took down Maryland (8-4) in three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-23) to complete the Pac-12 Challenge and finish its non-conference schedule on an eight-match winning streak on Friday, Sept. 16, at Galen Center. 16th-year head coach Mick Haley tallied his 400th win at the helm for Troy and improved to 400-98 as the winningest head coach in USC program history.
Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins and freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier were each named to the all-tournament team. Lanier led the Trojans with 17.0 points against the Terrapins and racked up 13 kills against just one error on 29 swings for a .414 hitting percentage. She also posted nine digs, three service aces, and had a pair of blocks. Ruddins scored 11.0 points with eight kills (1e, 11att) and a .636 hitting percentage. Ruddins also had a team-high five blocks (one solo).
The Trojans hit .240 in the match (35k, 11e, 100att) and got a double-double from junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley who finished with 18 assists and 16 digs. USC’s other pin-hitters posted a total of 13 kills including five from sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford, and four each from junior opposite hitters Brittany Abercrombie and Niki Withers. Abercrombie also had four blocks. Ford put up nine digs.
For the Terrapins, Gia Milana led her team with 12 kills but had 11 errors on 53 attacks for a .019 attack percentage. Angel Gaskin knocked down nine kills (3e, 17att) for a .353 hitting rate. Taylor Smith dished out 27 assists and had eight digs. Kelsey Wicinski led all players with 17 digs and was chosen to the all-tournament team. As a team, Maryland hit .137 in the match (38k, 20e, 131att).
USC never trailed in the opening set and quickly jumped out to a 7-1 lead when senior libero Taylor Whittingham served an ace and Lanier followed with a kill. The Trojans pressed and blew that lead up to 11 points at 15-4 on a pair of Terrapin attack errors. Maryland wouldn’t go quietly as it mounted a comeback and closed within five points at 19-14, but Ruddins went quick on back-to-back rallies for kills and put USC back on top by seven, 21-14. At 22-16, Whittingham left the match with a leg injury but the Trojans were unfazed and stayed the course for a 25-19 win on Ford’s final kill of the frame.
The second set was far more hotly contested and saw five ties before a winner was decided. The Trojans fell behind by four points on more than one occasion, including at 13-9 when Gaskin earned back-to-back kills, but breathed new life thanks to a 5-1 run powered by a pair of service aces by Lanier. The teams went back and forth until the Trojans gained some separation at 19-17 on an ace by Ford. USC closed the set on an 8-2 run as Lanier sealed the win with back-to-back kills for another 25-19 decision.
The Women of Troy maintained control of the third frame and led by three at 14-11 and by four at 16-12, but no lead seemed to be large enough. Even on the doorstep of the sweep and with a 21-17 lead, the Trojans couldn’t hold off the Terrapin charge, which turned a 5-1 run into a tie score at 22-all. Ruddins put USC ahead with her kill at 23-22, and the Trojans took set point at 24-23 when a Maryland serve hit the net. Withers had the final kill of the match to close the books on Haley’s 400th USC victory.
USC will begin defense of its Pac-12 crown with a pair of matches at Galen Center next week. The Trojans take on crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday (Sept. 21) and then face Washington on Friday (Sept. 23). Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. PT starts and will be shown live on Pac-12 Networks.
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.
- USC improved to 4-0 in all-time meetings with Maryland.
- The Women of Troy extended their winning streak to eight consecutive matches since starting the season 0-3.
- The victory was head coach Mick Haley’s 400th at USC (400-98, .803). It also brought the program to within three wins of reaching the 1,000-win threshold (997-335-4).
- The Trojans improved to 135-24 (.849) all-time at Galen Center (since 2006).
- USC finished tied for first in the final standings of the Pac-12 Challenge with Washington.
- Senior MB Elise Ruddins and freshman OH Khalia Lanier were named to the Pac-12 Challenge All-Tournament Team.
- Junior S Reni Meyer-Whalley produced the second double-double of her career with 18 assists and 16 digs.
- Senior L Taylor Whittingham left the match at the end of the first set due to a leg injury and did not return to action.
What’s Next: USC will begin Pac-12 conference play on Wednesday against rival UCLA and will face Washington Friday, September 23.
Khalia Lanier (13 kills, 3 aces, 9 digs)
Elise Ruddins (8 kills, 1 dig, 4 blocks)
Reni Meyer-Whalley (16 digs)
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Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski led the match with 17 kills as the Maryland volleyball team (8-4) fell to No. 21 Southern California (8-3) in three sets on Friday evening. The Terps fell by set scores of 25-19, 25-19, 25-23.
Wicinski was named to the all-tournament team. She was selected to the all-tournament team in each of Maryland’s nonconference weekends.
Freshman outside hitter Gia Milana led the team with 12 kills while freshman setter Taylor Smithnotched 27 assists. Senior middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor tied for the match lead with five blocks.
The Trojans began the match with a 6-1 lead, and worked out to a 10-3 advantage. Maryland took a timeout down 15-4, and used three straight points to cut into the lead. Junior defensive specialistSamantha Higginbothem served an ace to pull Maryland closer, 16-10. The Terps continued to make runs, and Milana knocked down a kill to bring the set to 21-15. After a 3-1 Maryland run, USC called timeout ahead 23-18. The Trojans managed to close the set, 25-19.
The Terps stuck with Southern California early in set two as Wicinski served an ace to pull within one, 6-5. MacGregor hit a kill and a block to give Maryland an 8-7 advantage. The Terps worked out to a 10-7 lead, and sophomore opposite hitterAngel Gaskin knocked down two kills to put Maryland ahead 13-9. USC tallied three straight to tie the set, 14-14, and the teams tied again at 17-17. The Trojans retook the lead with three straight points and managed to maintain the lead, winning the set 25-19.
USC took an early lead in set three, but the Terps were able to hang within two points of the host, helped by a pair of kills from Smith. Sophomore outside hitter Liz Twilley and MacGregor combined for a block at 16-13, but USC was able to push ahead, 18-14. MacGregor served back-to-back aces as Southern California led 19-17, and the Trojans notched the next two points. Milana tallied a kill and an ace late, and Twilley tied the set with a kill at 22-22. Junior middle blocker Hailey Murray posted a kill to tie again, 23-23, but USC posted the next two points to win the set, 25-23.
Up Next: The Terps open Big Ten Conference play next weekend at No. 3 Minnesota and No. 6 Wisconsin.
Gia Milana (12 kills, 1 ace, 9 digs)
Angel Gaskin (9 kills, 1 dig, 3 blocks)
Liz Twilley (9 kills, 2 blocks)
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