#21 USC Upsets Rival #11 UCLA in 5 Sets in Pac-12 Opener

  0 Julie Haake | September 21st, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


  • USC defeats UCLA, 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-11)
  • USC improves to 9-3; UCLA drops to 7-3
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Attendance: 1555
  • Box Score

LOS ANGELES – The Trojans defeated the Bruins Wednesday night in a historic cross-town rivalry match in Pauley Pavilion. This was USC’s first five-setter this season. However, UCLA still leads all-time in USC/UCLA match-ups at 63-57.

USC hit .251 on the match, with a .450 clip in the fifth. They were out-hit by UCLA with a .301 hitting percentage. The Bruins also out-blocked the Trojans 11-4.

USC setters, Cindy Marina and Reni Meyer-Whalley, combined for 50 assists. Meyer-Whalley posted a double-double with 24 assists and 12 digs. On the other side of the net, Sarah Sponcil notched 56 assists, eight digs, and two kills.

Three USC players posted double-figure kills with Brittany Abercrombie totaling 18 kills on a .425 clip, Khalia Lanier with 17 kills, and Daley Krage with 10.

UCLA had five players with double-figure kills. The Bruins offense was led by Reily Buechler with 15 kills on a .326 clip and 19 digs for a double-double. Jenny Mosser added 14 kills, Mac May posted 13, and Kyra Rogers and Madeleine Gates both added 11 a piece, both with hitting percentages at .400 or above.

Both teams will continue with Pac-12 play this weekend as UCLA hosts Oregon on Friday and USC hosts Oregon State on Sunday.



Courtesy of USC Athletics

LOS ANGELES – The No. 21-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (9-3, 1-0 Pac-12) claimed a hard-fought five-set win (25-21, 15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-11) over crosstown rival No. 11 UCLA (7-3, 0-1) at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to open Pac-12 play. It was the Trojans’ second five-set win this season and was the fourth five-setter in the last six times they’ve faced the Bruins. The win snapped a three-match losing streak to UCLA and moves the Women of Troy to 32-10 in all-time conference openers.

Senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie lit up the stat sheet with a career-high 18 kills (1e) and 40 attacks to log a .425 hitting percentage. She also added four digs and a block to her final line. On the left, sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier produced 17 kills (9e, 50att, .160) to go with seven digs, a solo block, and two service aces. Sophomore opposite Daley Krage had her second consecutive double-digit outing and finished with 10 kills (6e, 27att, .148) and two digs.

Despite facing 11 blocks by the Bruins, USC posted a .251 hitting percentage with 64 kills (22e) on 167 swings. UCLA hit .301 (66k, 19e, 156att) and out-dug the Trojans, 73-62. The Women of Troy won the service ace battle with an 8-5 edge.

Senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley dished out 24 assists and had 12 digs to log her second double-double of the season (11th career). Sophomore setter Cindy Marina had 26 assists and five digs. Junior libero Victoria Garrick put up 18 digs and had a career-best 10 assists for her first-career double-double. It is the first double-double by a USC libero since All-American Natalie Hagglund posted 24 digs and 10 assists on Sept. 1, 2012, in a win over Boston College.

Junior middle blocker Brittany Welsh scored five kills without an error (8att) for a .625 hitting percentage. She also threw in a career-best three service aces including two in a row during USC’s run to win the fourth set. Sophomore defensive specialist Jenna Adams put up eight digs and scored on two service aces. Junior outside hitter Alyse Ford had seven kills (1e, 15att, .400) and two digs; and senior outside hitter Niki Withers added five kills and a solo block as each played in three sets apiece.

For the Bruins, five players reached double-digit kills, led by Reily Buechler‘s 15-kill and 19-dig performance. Jenny Mosser had 14 kills, Mac May had 13; and Kyra Rogers and Madeleine Gates had 11 apiece. Savvy Simo led all players with 20 digs while Sarah Sponcil set the Bruins with 56 assists and eight digs.

The Women of Troy opened up the match with three kills on five rallies to lead, 4-1, quickly. UCLA took a momentary lead at 6-5, but a 5-0 run by the Trojans had USC in front, 10-6, in the blink of an eye. The Bruins chipped away at the lead slowly and closed to within a single point at 20-19 on a kill by Mosser, but USC claimed set point at 24-19 when Lanier crushed an overpass for the kill. Abercrombie scored her fourth kill of the opening frame to close out the USC win.

The teams were in a heated struggle to open set two, but things got out of hand quickly when the Bruins raced out to a 12-6 lead thanks to an incredible 9-2 run. UCLA led by nine points when it claimed set point at 24-15, but didn’t need long before Rogers closed out a 25-15 win for the Bruins with back-to-back kills. The third set opened up USC’s way as Lanier tooled the block on back-to-back rallies for a 5-1 Trojan lead, but the Bruins were unfazed as they fought through to take a 10-9 lead of their own. A 6-0 run all of sudden had the Women of Troy on the ropes as UCLA led, 15-9. USC closed within three at 18-15, but UCLA took over once more and scored seven points in the last 10 rallies to finish off a 25-18 win.

USC never trailed in the fourth and was only tied once at one-all. Krage tooled the Bruin block three times for kills to help the Trojans get out to an 8-4 lead, and back-to-back aces by Welsh put USC in front by six at 13-7. The Women of Troy claimed an eight-point lead at 18-10, but UCLA stayed the course to close within three at 22-19 on a service ace. UCLA saved a pair of set points before Abercrombie went crosscourt for the kill and sealed a 25-21 USC win in the fourth.

USC played a clean set in the fifth and finished with just one hitting error and 10 kills for a .450 hitting percentage. UCLA had nine kills, but the Trojans posted a 72-percent sideout rate to complete a 15-11 win. Efficiency led USC to a stunning 7-1 lead with three kills from Abercrombie, one from Lanier, and an ace from Adams. USC pushed for a seven-point lead at 12-5 when Dunn and Krage teamed up to block May. UCLA mounted a comeback, but had its runs diffused by kills from Ford. Still, the Bruins persisted and claimed three straight points to close within three at 14-11 before Lanier’s cut shot ended things for a Trojan victory.

Up next, the Women of Troy return to Galen Center for the first time since August 26 and will host Oregon State (10-3, 0-1 Pac-12) on Sunday (Sept. 24) for a 1 p.m. PT match set to be shown on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Oregon.

The matchup between USC and UCLA was the first of the 2017-18 academic year. The Trojans’ win earns USC five points in the all-sport crosstown cup rivalry challenge between the two schools. UCLA won the head-to-head battle in 2016-17.

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 57-52 in all-time meetings with UCLA. The win snapped a three-match Bruin winning streak.
  • The Trojans improved to 22-23 as the Bruins’ visitor and are 3-2 at Pauley Pavilion since 2013.
  • The Women of Troy improved to 32-10 in all-time conference openers with a 12-5 mark in league openers under head coach Mick Haley.
  • The Trojans and the Bruins played in their fourth five-set match in the teams’ last six meetings. UCLA had won the previous three such matches.
  • USC collected its third win over a ranked opponent this season: No. 16 Michigan, No. 7 Creighton, No. 11 UCLA.
  • The Women of Troy improved to 2-0 in five-set matches in 2017.
  • Senior OPP Brittany Abercrombie logged new career marks with 18 kills and 40 attacks.
  • Senior S Reni Meyer-Whalley posted her second consecutive double-double. It was her second this season and the 11th of her career.
  • Junior libero Victoria Garrick recorded her first-career double-double with 18 digs and a career-high 10 assists. She is the first Trojan libero to notch a double-double since All-American Natalie Hagglund had 24 digs and 10 assists in a win against Boston College on Sept. 1, 2012.
  • Junior MB Brittany Welsh served a career-high three aces.

Courtesy of UCLA Athletics 

LOS ANGELES – Senior Reily Buechler had 15 kills and 19 digs to record her third double-double of the season, while freshman Jenny Mosseradded 14 kills and four digs, but the 11th-ranked Bruins dropped a five-set decision to #21 USC on Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion. Set scores were 21-25, 25-15, 25-18, 21-25, 11-15.

Five Bruins were in double figures in kills, as freshman Mac May had 13 with five digs, four blocks and three aces, junior Kyra Rogers added 11 kills with a .409 hitting percentage and six blocks and sophomore Madeleine Gates notched 11 kills, a .400 percentage and five blocks. Senior Sarah Sponcil had 56 assists and eight digs and set the Bruins to a .301 hitting percentage. Sophomore Savvy Simo had 20 digs, junior Zana Muno added nine and redshirt junior Taylor Schlener posted five.

The Trojans (9-3, 1-0 Pac-12) led wire-to-wire in set one, scoring the first three points. UCLA (7-3, 0-1) evened things at five- and six-all, but were unable to take a lead, as USC netted the next four to go up 10-6. The closest the Bruins would get the rest of the way was one, with USC’s largest lead being five at 24-19, eventually posting the win by a score of 25-21. May led the Bruins with four kills, while Gates and Rogers each had three. The Bruins were out-hit .265 to .242.

Trailing 4-3 early in set two, the Bruins went on a 6-1 run to go ahead 9-5 and lead for the rest of the set. Buechler and Mosser each had two kills, Gates added one and USC had a service error. At 13-10, four in a row on three May kills and a Rogers/Buechler block made it 17-10. The Bruins would achieve their largest lead on the final point of the set, as a Rogers kill, her second in a row to end the stanza, closed up a 25-15 victory. Mosser had five kills in the second, Rogers and May each added four and Buechler and Gates both posted three. Simo had seven digs, Muno five and Buechler recorded four. The Bruins out-hit the Trojans .395 to .243.

After dropping the first three points and five of the first six of set three, the Bruins responded with a 14-4 run to go up by a score of 15-9. It was even at nine when the Bruins scored six in a row on kills by Buechler, Mosser and Sponcil, a Mosser/Rogers block and a Rogers/Sponcil block and a USC attack error. The Bruins’ lead reached as high as seven, which would end up being the final margin of set three, as a Buechler/Gates block wrapped up a 25-18 victory. Buechler had four kills and eight digs in the third, Rogers added three kills and three blocks, Mosser notched three kills and Simo had seven digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Trojans .256 to .091.

UCLA never led in set four, as USC forced a fifth. The Bruins fell behind early 9-4 and could not recover, getting only to within two for the rest of the set and losing the fourth 25-21. Buechler and Mosser each had three kills, as the Bruins actually out-hit the Trojans .360 to .323. USC then raced out to a 7-1 lead in set five and never looked back in winning the fifth 15-11. The Bruins, who saved three match points before eventually falling, saw Buechler posted four kills. UCLA was out-hit .450 to .238.

The Bruins will take on Oregon on Friday at 8 p.m. at the John Wooden Center. The match will be televised by Pac-12 Networks and free live audio will be available on UCLABruins.com.

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