Culver City Observer -

USC Women's Volleyball Tries To Rebound From 0-3 Start


September 1, 2016

The USC women’s volleyball team, which was ranked No. 7 in the nation last week, found out that rankings do not translate into wins on the court.

All three teams in the USC Baden Invitational, Marquette, UC Irvine and Santa Clara beat the Trojans. In the final game of the invitational UC Irvine swept USC 3-0.

The good news is the Trojans have an opportunity to bounce back this weekend when they host the USC Radisson Classic at the Galen Center on the Trojan campus. They play Kentucky on Friday at 8 p.m. On Saturday they face Northern Iowa at 10 a.m. and Creighton at 8 p.m.

Although the Trojans dropped their first three games the team and the coach are looking forward to a productive volleyball season.

“We have a bunch of new kids this year,” said head coach Mick Haley, who is in his 16th season at USC. “We lost four starters from last year. We had a 6-6 player coming in who was supposed to be a starter but for health reasons she is not able to play.

“We have two players out right now who started some games last year yet this team has not quit. I told the team that it’s where we are in November that’s important. As long as we come to practice and keep working hard we should be all right and we have Khalia Lanier.”

Lanier is the 2015 high school National Player of the Year from Scottsdale Arizona. She is the daughter of NBA Hall of Fame player Bob Lanier. The 6-2 freshman outside hitter was the only Trojan named to the Baden all-tournament team last weekend. Haley thinks Lanier has an opportunity to be better than former Trojan and 2015 National College Player of the Year, Samantha Bricio.

With Lanier leading the way USC will also rely on senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins, sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford, junior Brittany Abercrombie senior Taylor Whittingham and senior Alice Pizzasegola. Also junior Niki Whithers has improved tremendously and is ready to take a leadership role.

“Whithers is starting to get it,” said Haley after the loss to Irvine. “She is now starting to believe in herself. She is producing and she is going to be really good and she is also one of the best kids to coach.”

Haley thinks the problems the Trojans are facing right now can be fixed. “I think the challenge for this team is not a challenge of motivation but a challenge to see if we can get every ounce of talent out of these players and see how good we can be this year,” he said. “ We have some things we can get excited about. We have to crawl before we walk and we have to walk before we run.”


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