LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The No. 9 USD Volleyball team (25-5) saw their season come to an end Saturday evening after falling to 10th-seeded USC in five sets (22-25, 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 11-5). The Toreros, who had four players with double-digit kills, lost the first, but bounced back to take the next two before the Trojans closed out match by winning the fourth and fifth sets. All five sets were decided by four points or less.
Jayden Kennedy led the Toreros with 16 kills. Addie Picha, Lauren Fuller and Kaity Edwards all had 12 kills. Picha was a force at the net all night and finished with 10 blocks, one off her career-high.
The Toreros didn't hold a lead for the entire first set, but kept it close throughout and rallied to tie it up at 22-22. The Trojans then took the next three points to win the first set 25-22.
After having no blocks in the first set, the Toreros had six in the second set. USD trailed 18-13, but then strung together a 5-0 run fueled by three straight blocks from Addie Picha. The teams then alternated points all the way to 24-24 before the Toreros finally reeled off two straight to take the second frame 26-24. In total, the second set featured ten ties and the Toreros held the Trojans to a .103 hitting percentage.
The Toreros momentum carried over in to the third set. They scored the first three points and didn't trail for the rest of the set and at one point held an eight point lead (11-3). However, the Trojans chipped away at the USD lead and eventually tied it at 22-22 and 24-24. The Toreros' final two points of the set came on a Jayden Kennedy kill and a block assist from Addie Picha and Kristen Gengenbacher.
The fourth set had 12 ties and came down to the wire. It was tied at 20-20, but USC closed out the set on a 5-2 run to force a fifth set. The Toreros had 11 errors and a hitting percentage of .070.
The fifth set was back-and-forth and USD had a 10-9 lead, but USC finished the set on a 6-1 run. The Trojans hit .500 in the final set and had just two errors.
The Toreros had a .136 hitting percentage while USC hit .218. Both teams had 14 blocks and the Toreros had 66 digs to USC's 62.
USC was led by Khalia Lanier's 23 kills. Reni Meyer-Whalley had a double-double with 32 assists and 14 digs.
The Toreros end their fantastic season with a 25-5 record. They went 17-1 in conference play to win their first WCC Championship since 2013 and finished the regular season ranked No. 9 in the country. They swept the WCC's major awards with Kristen Gengenbacher winning WCC Player of the Year, Roxie Wiblin winning WCC Freshman of the Year and Jennifer Petrie earning WCC Coach of the Year honors.
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