USC Men's Volleyball Opens 2017 With Win At Concordia

    Jan. 3, 2017

    Final Stats

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    The USC men's volleyball team, behind 13 kills from first-year freshman opposite hitter Aaron Strange, opened its 2017 season with a 30-28, 23-25, 25-13, 25-18 road win over Concordia in a non-conference match in Irvine on Tuesday (Jan. 3).

    USC won its season opener for the 29th time in the program's 48-year history. Concordia fell to 0-3 in 2017.

    Strange hit .667 (only 1 hitting error among 18 swings) and added 4 blocks. Blake Markland, a sophomore outside hitter making his first career start, added 10 kills, 5 digs and 3 aces, Lucas Yoder had9 kills and 5 digs, Andy Benesh had a match best 6 blocks and Gert Lisha had 3 aces.

    USC hit .348 to Concordia's .162 and had more blocks (14.0 to 7.0) and aces (7 to 3).

    Ryan Anselmo led Concordia with 10 kills and 5 digs, while Andrew Hammer (the cousin of USC quarterback Sam Darnold) and Howell Hunter each added 9 kills (Howell also had 4 blocks) and Jacob Weiser had 12 digs.

    In the first set, USC fought back from a 22-19 deficit to catch the Eagles at 23-23 and then went up 27-26 before scoring the set's final 2 points while hitting .520. The Trojans trailed for most of the second set, falling behind 20-16 before knotting the score at 22-22 but Concordia scored consecutive points to end the set (the Eagles hit .391). USC jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the third set and was never threatened, hitting .391. It was more of the same in the final set, as USC opened up a 7-2 margin and held off the Eagles.

    USC now remains on the road to participate in the AVCA Showcase -- Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Columbus, Ohio, first meeting defending NCAA champion and pre-season No. 1 Ohio State (0-0) of the MIVA on its home floor (site of the 2017 NCAA tourney) on Friday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m. ET and then taking on No. 13 Penn State (0-0) of the EIVA on Saturday (Jan. 7) at 3 p.m. ET. The Trojans then open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at home against Long Beach State on Jan. 11.