USC Men's Volleyball Upsets No. 7 UC Irvine|
Feb. 3, 2017
Lucas Yoder and Gianluca Grasso combined for 53 kills to help the USC men’s volleyball team snap a 5-match losing streak and upset No. 7 UC Irvine, 25-23, 40-42, 25-23, 25-23, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Friday (Feb. 3) in Irvine.
The points in the second set were both the most ever scored by USC and surrendered by the Trojans in a set in program history dating to 1970. It also was the most total points in any MPSF set since 2008, when Pepperdine beat Long Beach State, 43-41, in the third set of a conference tournament semifinal match.
USC improved to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the MPSF. The Trojans, playing the last contest of its 5-match MPSF road trip, also ended a 4-match losing skid to the Anteaters.
UCI fell to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in MPSF play.
Yoder, who missed the past 2 matches with an ankle sprain, had a match-high 29 kills while hitting .360 and he added 8 digs. Grasso, in just his third match after transferring mid-season to USC from a junior college, had 24 kills (hitting .354), 6 digs and 3 blocks. Andy Benesh had a match-best 6 blocks, Matt Douglas had 10 digs and Gert Lisha had 9 digs.
UC Irvine was led by Michael Saeta, who moved from setter to outside hitter in second set and ended up with 21 kills (hitting .444), 4 aces and 5 digs. Scott Stadick added 12 kills while hitting .450, David Parker and Reid Dominguez each had 8 kills, Matthew Younggren had 5 blocks and Dillon Hoffman had a match-leading 11 digs.
USC hit .285 in the match to UCI’s .259 and the Trojans had more digs (39-33) and blocks (9.0 to 6.0). But the Anteaters served 6 aces to USC’s 1.
In the first set, USC held a 13-9 mid-set lead and then a late 23-21 edge, but UCI then scored 2 in a row before USC got the final 2 points. USC battled from an early 3-point deficit in the second set by scoring 9 out of 10 points to build an 18-10 lead before the Anteaters closed fast, overcoming a 23-20 Trojan margin before sending the set into extra time and staving off 13 set points before scoring the last 2. USC held a quick 5-1 lead in the third set before UCI tied it at 8-8, then the set seesawed before USC scored back-to-back points to go up 24-22, all the margin it needed while hitting .476. USC used a 3-0 run to jump out to a quick 6-3 lead in the fourth set and then pulled away to a 21-13 edge before UCI once again fought back, scoring 5 straight points to tie it at 23-23 before the Trojans tallied the match’s final 2 points (USC hit .440 in the set).
USC now returns home to the Galen Center to host UC San Diego in an MPSF match on Saturday (Feb. 4) at 7 p.m. PT. At that match, Troy will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first NCAA title in men’s volleyball, with 1977 squad members honored on the court prior to first serve.