Volleyball hits the road for Arizona

Photo by Dillon Matthew | Daily Trojan

The No. 15 women’s volleyball team (12-3, 4-0 Pac-12) heads to Arizona to face the Arizona Wildcats (7-7, 1-4 Pac-12) on Friday and the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-6, 0-4 Pac-12) on Saturday.

The Women of Troy are coming off a sweep against No. 9 Washington on Sunday and a four-set win over Washington State on Saturday. The team is currently undefeated in conference play, jumping out to a hotter start than originally predicted. The team’s strong start to conference play has allowed it to jump up in the polls.

USC will rely on back-to-back Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and ESPNW National Player of the Week senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie to power the offense. Abercrombie has accumulated 13 kills each in wins against then-ranked No. 6 Washington and Washington State, providing a stable offensive flow for the team.

The Trojans have also received considerable offensive support from sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier, senior opposite hitter Niki Withers and junior outside hitter Alyse Ford. Lanier is averaging a team-leading 4.32 kills per set on the season while Ford and Withers are averaging 2.60 kills per set and 2.35 kills per set, respectively. Setters Reni Meyer-Whalley and Cindy Marina will also look to make strong constributions in setting up opportunities for the rest of the team.

The Women of Troy will have to attempt to stop Arizona’s offense, driven by junior outside hitter Kendra Dahlke. Dahlke has accumulated 131 kills for the Wildcats and is averaging 3.12 kills per set this season. She is joined on the offensive front by freshman outside hitter Paige Whipple, sporting 2.50 kills per set, and junior outside hitter Tyler Spriggs, with a 2.86 kps, to spearhead the Wildcats’ offense. The Trojans’ defense will have its hands full in the desert against an offensively driven Wildcat squad.

After a quick one-day turnaround, the Women of Troy head out to Tempe to face the Sun Devils.

The team is led by senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro, who has put up crazy numbers for Arizona State. Okaro has a total of 258 kills and averages 4.61 kps. Against Washington in late September, Okaro racked up 30 kills in a five-set loss. She is joined by outside hitters Ivana Jeremic and Griere Hughes to form a strong offensive line. The Sun Devils will seek to bounce back against the Trojans after enduring four consecutive losses against Pac-12 opponents.

If USC can pick up two solid wins on the road, the Trojans will move to 6-0 on the season and solidify their spot alongside Stanford in the Pac-12, who they’ll host — along with Cal — next weekend.

The Women of Troy face the Wildcats at 6 p.m. tonight and the Sun Devils at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

1 reply
  1. Sunger
    Sunger says:

    Good luck ladies, and don’t get caught looking past either AZ school as you head into these games. Stanford will wait.

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