The women’s volleyball team had its five-match win streak snapped this weekend, falling to Arizona on Friday, but USC rebounded with a win at Arizona State on Saturday to raise its overall record to 13-4 (5-1 Pac-12).
The No. 15 Women of Troy had a tough day in Tucson, Ariz., getting swept 3-0 by the Wildcats at the McKale Center. Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier spearheaded the Trojan attack with nine kills and three service aces, and junior libero Victoria Garrick led the way defensively, tallying 15 digs. However, USC only hit .140 in the match compared to Arizona’s .262 mark, and the team committed 20 errors to the Wildcats’ 14. The Trojans’ sloppy play cost them their perfect conference record, as they suffered their first loss of the season in Pac-12 play.
They fared better the next day when the Women of Troy traveled to Tempe, Ariz. to face the Sun Devils. It looked like the team’s rough weekend would continue when USC committed 16 total errors to hand ASU the opening set, 25-19, but head coach Mick Haley’s squad rallied to take three consecutive sets and win the match 3-1.
The turnaround came thanks to much-improved efficiency. The Women of Troy nearly doubled their hitting percentage from the previous night against Arizona, recording a .265 mark versus ASU. Senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie, the reigning back-to-back Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, matched her career high in kills (18), and senior opposite hitter Niki Withers set a new season best with 15 kills — including seven in the decisive fourth set, when Withers led USC’s comeback from a 4-point deficit.
Senior middle blocker Danielle Geiger added 11 kills for her season high — and her best mark since joining the Women of Troy from UC Irvine this fall. Senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley also recorded her sixth double-double of the year against ASU with 31 assists and 11 digs. The win over the Sun Devils kept USC in second in the Pac-12 standings: The team’s 5-1 conference record puts them just behind 5-0 Stanford.
The Women of Troy return home for their next match, as they host Cal at the Galen Center on Friday. Despite being a middling 2-3 in Pac-12 play, the Bears sport an impressive 11-5 overall record. USC swept Cal 3-0 in Berkeley last season, and the team will look to repeat that feat this week.