No. 5 USC Men's Volleyball Falls In 5 Sets At No. 9 UC Irvine

    Lucas Yoder

    Feb. 13, 2014

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    Zack La Cavera had 17 kills and Jeremy Dejno added 16 kills and 10 digs to help the No. 9-ranked UC Irvine men's volleyball team hold off No. 5 USC, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match in Irvine on Thursday (Feb. 13).

    UC Irvine, the 2-time defending NCAA champion, upped its overall record to 8-7 and its MPSF record to 5-6. USC, which beat the Anteaters at home last month in 5 sets, fell to 6-5 overall and 5-5 in the MPSF.

    The match appeared to be UC Irvine's to win in 4 sets, as the Anteaters held a 20-13 edge before USC clawed back to within 24-21 and then the Trojans scored 5 consecutive points on kills by Lucas Yoder and Cristian Rivera. Then, the match appeared to be in USC's control in the fifth set, with Troy up 13-10 before UCI rolled off the final 5 points, including 2 on consecutive aces by Kyle Russel.

    UC Irvine hit .274 in the match to USC's .203 and the Anteaters served 9 aces.

    Yoder led USC with 16 kills along with 6 digs, while Andy Benesh had 11 kills and Tanner Jansen had 10 kills and 8 digs and Henry Cassiday has a match best 18 digs. Redshirt freshman Michael Mullahey saw his first career action as he started at setter for U.S. National Team starter Micah Christensen, who was sidelined with a back injury (Mullahey had 48 assists and 12 digs).

    For UCI, Connor Hughes added 11 kills and 13 digs, Collin Mehring had 8 kills while hitting .538 and he also had 6 blocks, Roberto Frazzoni had 13 digs and Michael Brinkley had 11 digs.

    USC used a 2-0 run in the first set to go up 18-16 and UCI couldn't catch up. The Anteaters hit .393 in the second set and scored 4 consecutive points to build a 14-10 lead, which USC couldn't overcome. UCI got off to a quick 7-4 lead in the third set and pulled away while hitting .500.

    USC now plays at UC San Diego on Friday (Feb. 14) in a 7 p.m. MPSF contest.