Women’s volleyball gears up for tough Pac-12 season

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanThe women’s volleyball team will begin the 2017 season with a match against Loyola Marymount this Friday. This match will present an opportunity for head coach Mick Haley and the women’s volleyball team to build momentum for upcoming matches in the next two weeks against No. 16 Michigan, No. 9 Creighton and No. 14 Kentucky.  USC just missed the top-25 rankings with 105 points, about 40 points shy of No. 25 Purdue. As the season progresses, the Trojans will try to make their way up the poll as they return half of their starting lineup from last season.The roster runs deep, and many of this season’s key players have been major contributors to the team’s successes since their freshman seasons. Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier displayed her physical presence at the net and defensive abilities last season as a freshman recording 491 kills (4.06 kills/set) and 315 digs (2.60 digs/set), which are first and second on the team, respectively.  She won’t be alone, however, as senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie, junior outside hitter Alyse Ford and junior opposite hitter Niki Withers also add depth to the lineup.  Abercrombie had 255 kills last season while hitting at a .246 percentage, Ford added 272 kills on a .220 percentage and Withers swung for 298 kills on a .253 hitting percentage. These four hitters will allow the Trojan offense to spread across the pins, providing balance that will be difficult for the opposing team to defend.The Trojans may be fully loaded on the pins, but the middle position lost Elise Ruddins to graduation. Senior middle blocker Jordan Dunn returns, and there is potential in junior middle blockers Brittany Welsh and Madison Murtagh to make an impact for the Trojan offense and defense at the net this season. Welsh is a transfer from LSU, and will be making the adjustment to the Pac-12 standard of play.“I’m really excited to be a part of the conference now and look forward to competition that has historically dominated in women’s indoor volleyball,” Welsh said. “I have also been fortunate enough to train with the team the whole summer, as it took time to adjust to the new system, but the girls were very helpful and super welcoming to all eight of us new players on the team.”Any swings that get beyond this block will be in the defensive territory of junior libero Victoria Garrick, who tallied 182 digs last season.Lastly, senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley will run the offense. Another setter could be added to the offensive mix, since Haley has traditionally utilized two setters in a 6-2 offense due to Meyer-Whalley’s smaller stature.  A 6-2 offense is when both setters operate solely from the back row, which provides a total of six hitters (two outside hitters, two opposite hitters and two middle blockers) available in the seven-player rotation, including the libero. This offense is especially effective for the Trojans because it allows them to utilize four pin hitters in a match instead of the traditional three used by many other teams.In its quest for a deep playoff run, USC will be challenged in the Pac-12, which boasts 2016 NCAA champion Stanford, in addition to other strong programs in Washington, Utah, Arizona and UCLA.last_img read more

Rebecca Ekpeyong Upsets Top Two Seeds to Win Girls 16 Title

first_imgBamidele tried to fight back in the second set but the confident hitting and smart placement from Ekpeyong completely confounded her. The Port Harcourt based girl won 10-1, 10-4 to the delight of a teary-eyed father, Peter, who ran to the court to embrace his daughter. She also won the trophy for the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.The boys’ and girls’ 12s and the girls’ 16s matches were abbreviated to three match tie-break sets to allow all finalists display their skills for the benefit of the sponsors.David Dawariye, also from the South-south, who did not lose a match in the round robin playoffs, also had an easy 9-3 pro set victory over Daniel Adeleye from the South-west in the boys’ 16s final.In the boys’ 12 final, Seun “Nadal” Ogunsakin, displaying the dressing and mannerisms of his Spanish hero, started nervously losing the first three points but later found his rhythm to overcome Mohammed Idris from the Abuja programme 10 -5, 11 -9.The Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria, Jeff Ewing, said in his closing remarks that Chevron was very happy to see the impact of their investment in the Nigerian youth and the amazing talent that were on display at the finals.Mr. Ewing, who was represented by Sanjay Narasimhali also commended the International Tennis Academy for a well run programme.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram CHEVRON JNR MASTERSRebecca Ekpeyong, representing the South-south Zone surprised every one with her mental toughness as she capped a very gutsy semifinal victory with a straight sets win over national junior champion, Omolayo Bamidele of the South-west in the finals of the Chevron Junior Invitational Masters which ended on Sunday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.The petit 16 year-old had saved two match points in an emotional 9-8 victory against second seeded Omolade Aderemi of the South-west on Saturday but she had no such problems against the No.1 seed as she won nine straight points in the first match tie-break set before her opponent could win one.last_img read more