No. 23 USC tops No. 25 Utah in 5-Set Pac-12 Battle

  0 Emma LeGault | October 02nd, 2016 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

Match Stats

The No. 23 USC Trojans (10-5, 2-2 Pac-12) came out on top against the No. 25 Utah Utes (11-4, 2-2 Pac-12) in a five-set battle on Saturday night.

The Trojans handily claimed set one 25-14 before Utah came back to take set two 17-25. USC fought back in a 25-20 third set, but Utah answered with a 23-25 fourth set. USC edged out the fifth set 15-8.

USC had 63 kills on 158 attempts for an average of .247 on the night. Khalia Lanier led USC with 19 kills for a hitting percentage of .255 and 15 digs for a double-double — her seventh of the season. Elise Ruddins added three solo blocks, a career high, and Taylor Whittingham notched 28 digs.

Adora Anae led Utah in kills with 25 on the night — an average of .271, better than Utah’s overall average of .155 — and added 12 digs for a double-double.

Utah was coming off a sweep at home by No. 12 UCLA (11-2, 2-1 Pac-12) on Friday after winning both of its top-25 matches. USC had lost its first two conference matchups before defeating Colorado 3-1 on Friday.

USC will host Arizona State at home on Wednesday. Utah travels to California on Friday.

Press Releases

Courtesy of USC Athletics:

SALT LAKE CITY — The No. 23-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (10-5, 2-2 Pac-12) completed a road trip through the Rocky Mountains with a hard-fought five-set win (25-14, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8) over No. 25 Utah (11-4, 2-2) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Oct. 1. Five Trojans scored in double digits including freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier who tallied 19 kills (6e, 51att, .255) and 15 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.

Senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins posted 14.0 points as she collected nine kills (1e, 11att) to hit .727 and added seven blocks including a career-high three solo. Junior opposite hitter Niki Withers also had 14.0 points on 13 kills (4e, 27att, .333) and two blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 10.0 points on 10 kills with six digs. Junior middle blocker Jordan Dunn also had 10.0 points with six kills (2e, 15att, .267) and six blocks (two solo). Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie picked up six kills and six blocks.

USC hit .247 in the match (63k, 24e, 158att) and utilized all three of its setters. Junior Reni Meyer-Whalley had 27 assists and eight digs. Senior Alice Pizzasegola tallied 17 assists and junior Nikki Leonard dished out nine assists and had a service ace. On defense, the Trojans were led by senior libero Taylor Whittingham’s 28 digs.

For the Utes, Adora Anae led the way with 25 kills (9e, 59att, .271) and 12 digs for a double-double. She also had a service ace and a block. Megan Shughrou had 18 digs and added a service ace. Berkeley Oblad scored nine kills and four blocks; and Tawnee Luafalemana had seven kills and a team-high five blocks (one solo).

The Trojans earned sideout on 13 of 14 opportunities in the first set and rolled away with a 25-14 win. USC hit .308 (11k, 3e, 26att) and took advantage of 15 Utah errors to earn the win. The Utes hit .059 with seven hitting errors and racked up five service errors, two ball-handling errors, and one blocking error in a forgettable set. Utah returned to the floor for set two to hit .400 (16k, 4e, 30att) and earned sideout on 14 of 17 chances. The Trojans couldn’t keep pace as the Utes evened the match with a 25-17 win.

Momentum returned to the Trojans’ side of the net in the third frame. USC scored 23.0 points to knock off the Utes, 25-20, and take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Women of Troy hit .471 with 19 kills (3e, 34att) and had a 17-10 edge in digs. The Trojan block came to life in the third and produced four blocks including three solo blocks in the set. The fourth set swung back to the Utes, who stayed alive with a 25-23 win to force a fifth set. Both teams put on big blocking displays in the set, but Utah out-did the Trojans by a 6-5 edge. The score was tied eight times and the lead changed hands five times before back-to-back kills by Anae ended the set.

USC quickly seized control of the fifth set when Withers earned a kill and Lanier served up an ace to give the Trojans a 7-4 lead. Ruddins, Lanier, and Ford put three straight USC kills on the board to blow that lead up to six at 11-5. Dunn and Abercrombie teamed to block Anae for set point before Eliza Katoa ended the match on her hitting error. USC hit .278 in the final frame but needed just six kills to close out the Utes.

Up next, the Women of Troy return home to Galen Center to host Arizona State (Oct. 5) and Arizona (Oct. 7) on Wednesday and Friday respectively. The Trojans’ matchup against the Sun Devils will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks.

For more information on the USC women’s volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit To purchase season and single-match tickets, please visit today. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.


  • USC improved to 16-2 in all-time meetings against Utah and has won the last three consecutive matches in the series.
  • The Trojans won back-to-back road matches against ranked opponents for the first time since it defeated No. 23 Arizona (Nov. 20) and No. 24 Arizona State (Nov. 22) in 2015.
  • The victory is USC’s 999th all-time and puts the Trojans just one win from reaching 1,000 all-time. The Women of Troy would be the 17th NCAA Division I program to reach that milestone.
  • Freshman OH Khalia Lanier recorded her seventh-career double-double with 19 kills and 15 digs.
  • Senior L Taylor Whittingham had 28 digs to mark her 11th match this season in double digits and her sixth over 20.
  • Junior OPP Brittany Abercrombie matched her career high with six blocks.
  • Senior MB Elise Ruddins set a new career mark with three solo blocks. She had seven total blocks.

Courtesy of Utah Athletics:

SALT LAKE CITY – The #25 Utah Utes (11-4, 2-2) came back from a 2-1 deficit, but the #23 USC Trojans (10-5, 2-2) managed to escape the Huntsman Center with a five-set win Saturday evening.

The Utes fell to 4-3 in five-set matches on the season after dropping Saturday’s contest 14-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23, 8-15).

Utah dropped the first set 25-14 after connecting on just nine kills and a .059 hitting percentage. USC had just 11 kills in the frame, but hit at .308 and out-blocked the Utes 3.0 to 0.0 in total team kills. Neither team registered an ace, but Utah totaled five service errors to USC’s two.

USC opened the second set with a 4-1 run, but Utah clawed its way back and managed to take an 11-9 lead with a block and kill from junior Adora Anae. The Trojans came back to tied the frame, but Utah countered with a 4-0 run and forced USC to call a timeout trailing 15-11. Utah would eventually push its lead to 19-12, and then closed out the frame winning six of the final 11 points to win 25-17. Utah headed to the locker room tied 1-1 in the match with the Trojans.

The Utes trailed early on in the third set, 10-6, but a 4-1 run that ended with a kill from Anae pulled Utah back within a point, down 11-10. Trailing 17-13, the Utes managed to get back within three points, down 23-20, on a kill from sophomore Berkeley Oblad, but USC closed with back-to-back points to take the frame 25-20.

USC led 5-2 early in the fourth set before a 5-0 Utah run gave the Utes an 8-5 lead. A block from junior Tawnee Luafalemana and a USC hitting error forced the Trojans to call a timeout trailing 11-7, but the visiting squad countered with three straight points to get back within a point, down 11-10. Utah would go up 15-13 on a kill from Obald, but USC followed with three straight points and forced Utah to call a timeout down 16-15. The Utes followed with its own 4-0 run and that forced USC to call its final timeout of the frame, down 19-16. USC scored four of the next five points to tie the set at 20-all, but Anae would later record her 20th and 21st kill of the night to give Utah a 25-23 win and send the match to a fifth set.

USC led 3-1 before a kill from Anae and a block from Oblad notched things up at 3-3 early in the fifth set. The Trojans would go on to score four of the next five points and then limited the Utes to just four more points down the stretch en route to a 15-8 win in the final set over the home team.

Anae led Utah with 25 kills and a .271 hitting percentage, but the Utes were held to its lowest attacking percentage of the season after hitting just .155 as a team. Anae would go on to record a double-double in the match as well, posting 12 digs on the evening.

Sophomore Megan Shughrou led the Utes with 18 digs and Luafalemana tallied a team-high five total blocks.

Utah will hit the road next weekend, opening a four-match road swing through the Bay Area. The Utes will face California next Friday, Oct. 7 and then turn around to take on Stanford that following Sunday, Oct. 9.

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