USC women’s volleyball starts season off strong

first_imgMatt Karatsu | Daily TrojanThe USC women’s volleyball team finished strong in the USC/LMU Tournament this past weekend with a 3-0 record to open the season, defeating LMU, Michigan and Albany.On Friday, the Trojans began their season at Loyola Marymount and prevailed 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-11). Many of the new Trojans saw playing time in this match, most notably sophomore setter Cindy Marina, who transferred to USC this season from Duke. Marina had 22 assists that match, and she split the duties with senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley, who had 19 assists.  The Trojan offense was strong and balanced with sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier putting down 13 kills, junior outside hitter Alyse Ford adding 11 kills and senior middle blocker Danielle Geiger adding 8 kills on a .727 hitting percentage with no errors. As a team, the Trojans hit .400 with contributions from senior opposite hitters Nikki Withers and Brittany Abercrombie and senior middle blocker Brittany Welsh. They collectively had 18 kills in the match.The Trojan defense did their job against LMU, holding them to an .098 hitting percentage. Geiger and Abercrombie both helped establish this feat with five blocks each; Welsh added four blocks, Withers three and Ford two. Behind the block, junior libero Victoria Garrick had five digs and sophomore defensive specialist Jenna Adams added five more. Following their season opener, the Trojans returned to the Galen Center to take on No. 16 Michigan for the first time in program history. With several Trojans earning double-doubles in the match, the Trojans were able to defeat the ranked opponent (25-22, 25-19, 28-30, 25-16), which should earn them a ranking in the next AVCA rankings poll.Marina had 19 assists and 10 digs, which was her first career double-double. Lanier also played for her 17th double-double, logging 19 kills and 12 digs. Ford was one dig shy of a double-double performance, but she finished the match with 15 kills and 9 digs. Garrick added 17 digs and 3 service aces.The Trojans’ Saturday match against the University of Albany also went to four sets (25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18). The second set against the Great Danes was played without usual starters Lanier, Welsh and Garrick.Withers was the offensive leader for the Trojans hitting on a .474 hitting percentage with 11 kills; she also had three digs and two blocks in the match. Also adding to the Trojans’ offense was Abercrombie, who had 12 kills on a .435 hitting percentage. Lanier also swung for 16 kills on a .364 percentage and Ford had 12 kills on a .320 hitting percentage. Meyer-Whalley and Marina guided this offense with 25 and 22 assists, respectively.This win against Albany gave the Trojans their first three-match win streak since October 2016. The Trojans will strive to build on this momentum as they have tournaments the next few weeks on the road. Next weekend, they will face ranked opponents at the Blue Jay Invitational in Omaha, Neb.: No. 9 Creighton and No. 14 Kentucky.last_img

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