COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – The USC women’s volleyball team defeated Oklahoma Friday afternoon at the Xfinity Center, 3-1, to close out the Maryland Challenge behind a strong performance from senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie.
USC got off to a slow start in game one, thanks in part to an impressive performance from Oklahoma junior opposite hitter Madison Drescher (six kills) in game one.
Her kills weren’t enough to undo her three errors, including an attack that was rejected by USC’s Brittany Abercrombie and Brittany Welsh, helping the Trojans climb back in the game.
Abercrombie and sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier combined for nine kills and two assists as they rallied the Trojans over a Sooners squad that was dispatched by Maryland, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-23), earlier in the day.
Drescher redeemed herself with a strong game two, finishing clean while tacking on five more kills to her total.
Junior outside hitter, Alyssa Enneking, added six kills of her own as Oklahoma rallied late to take game two, 25-23.
The Sooners came out strong in game three before their coach, Santiago Restrepo, received a red card for arguing over the pace of play with his team leading by one.
His red card tied the game, gave Southern California the ball and momentum to go on a 5-1 run.
From there the Trojans pulled away to win game three, 25-20, behind a strong offense led by Lanier (six kills), senior middle blocker Jordan Dunn (two kills and a block) and sophomore opposite hitter Daley Krage (three kills).
Game four was an opportunity for those in attendance to see just how truly dominate USC’s star opposite hitter, and 2015 All-Pac 12 selection, Brittany Abercrombie, can be.
The senior from Carlsbad, California scored the Trojans first two points as the Sooner defense had no gameplan to repel her punishing attacks.
Abercrombie (four kills), Lanier (seven kills) and junior outside hitter Alyse Ford (three kills) accounted for 60% of the Trojan offense in game four as the Women of Troy saught to end their part in the Maryland Challenge on a high note.
Oklahoma managed to claw their way back into the game late behind Drescher (three kills) and Enneking (four kills).
But it wasn’t enough as Abercrombie stepped up and ended Oklahoma’s short lived comeback, finishing off the Sooners with USC’s final two points of the game.
USC saw three players (Lanier, Abercrombie and Krage) finish with double digit kills, while two others, Reni Meyer-Whalley and Cindy Marina, finished with double digit assists.
After the game, Abercrombie said how glad she was to come away with a win, especially after the let down performance USC had against Maryland.
Ever the team leader, she also commented on her desire to cut down on errors over the remainder of the season as a way to personally help the team perform better going forward.
- USC finished non-conference play with an identical 8-3 record last season.
- The win marked USC’s first on the East Coast since defeating Coastal Carolina in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament in Chapel Hill.
- Oklahoma’s 3-9 start marks the program’s worst since 2008 when the Sooners began the season 3-6.
- The Maryland Challenge marks the end of a four year rotating series between Maryland, USC and Washington. Wisconsin participated in year one of the tournament before dropping out. Oklahoma replaced the Badgers the last three seasons.
- Oklahoma lost all three games to USC, Maryland and Washington as well in last year’s Pac 12 Challenge in Los Angeles.
- The Women of Troy are now 6-0 all time against the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Women of Troy open up conference play against crosstown rival UCLA (6-2, 0-0) this Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion. Game can be seen at 8 p.m. PDT on ESPNU.
Oklahoma begins conference play at McCasland Field House in Norman against the Kansas State Wildcats (6-5, 0-0) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CDT.