This past weekend, the women’s volleyball team traveled to Santa Barbara, Calif., to compete in the Thunderdome Classic. The Trojans prevailed in all three of their matches, which included tournament wins against Arkansas, UC Santa Barbara and Yale. These victories extend the Trojans overall season record to 7-2.
Entering the matches, USC was ranked 19th in the country and anticipated to win its matches. But the first tournament match against the University of Arkansas turned out to be a challenge as the Trojans barely pulled out the victory in five sets (22-25,
25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 15-9). Arkansas and USC both brought their best defense to the match; both teams combined for 31 blocks. The Razorbacks accounted for 16 of those blocks, and they kept the Trojans on a season-low .176 hitting percentage.
For the Trojans, junior libero Victoria Garrick was a key contributor in holding Arkansas to a .168 percentage by having 20 digs in the match.
After the tough match with Arkansas, the Trojans managed to rebound with a sweep of UC Santa Barbara (25-16, 25-16, 25-20). Against the Gauchos, the Trojans found their groove as they improved their hitting percentage to .389, which they achieved with no errors in the first two sets. Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the Trojans with 10 kills, junior outside hitter Alyse Ford added nine kills and senior opposite hitters Brittany Abercrombie and Niki Withers scored seven kills each.
The Trojan offense also received contributions from their setters, especially against UCSB. With an accumulated 41 assists between senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley and sophomore setter Cindy Marina, the Trojans had 46 kills that match in comparison with Santa Barbara’s 26.
In the final match of the tournament against Yale, the Trojans were not contested and defeated the Bulldogs in three sets (25-19, 25-21, 25-12). Junior outside hitter Alyse Ford swung for an impressive .562 percentage with 10 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier also had 10 kills on a .214 attack percentage.
Throughout the match with the Bulldogs, the Trojans only trailed once. Their performance earned the squad its third match sweep of the season.
The Trojans will continue play next weekend in the Maryland Classic against Maryland and Oklahoma.