No. 7 USC Men's Volleyball Falls At No. 15 Cal State Northridge|
March 18, 2015
Despite career highs of 17 kills, 10 digs and 3 aces by Trojan freshman Larry Tuileta, No. 15-ranked Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team posted a 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 27-25 home win over No. 7 USC in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Wednesday (March 18) at Northridge.
USC, which started the season with a 7-0 record, has now dropped 6 of its past 8 matches (and 7 of the last 11) to fall to 11-7 overall. The Trojans are 9-6 in the MPSF after losing 5 of their last 6 league contests.
CSUN improved to 7-13 overall and snapped a 7-match MPSF losing skid to move to 4-10 in league play.
Tuileta, who also is a backup quarterback on the USC football team, hit .469 in the match while making just his third career start. Teammate Cristian Rivera added 8 kills (hitting .412) and 2 aces off the bench, while Micah Christenson had 10 digs and Andy Benesh had 6 kills and 6 blocks.
Jakub Ciesla led CSUN with a match-best 20 kills and 12 digs and he added 5 blocks and 3 aces. Bradley Sakaida had 12 kills while hitting .478, Greg Faulkner had 9 kills (hitting .438) and 6 blocks, Josiah Byers had 7 kills and Cj Suarez had 11 digs.
Neither team hit for a high percentage overall, with CSUN at .236 and USC at .223. The Matadors served 8 aces and had 41 digs and 12.0 blocks, while USC had 5 aces, 36 digs and 13.5 blocks.
USC trailed throughout most of the first set, including being down 13-8, until the Trojans took a 19-18 lead only to see CSUN score 7 of the set's final 9 points (Troy hit just .192 in the set to the Matadors' .321). USC built an 8-1 lead in the second set, but CSUN caught up at 18-18 and went ahead 20-19 before the Trojans tallied 6 of the set's final 8 points. The third set was tight throughout, with USC forging 2-point leads several times before CSUN would tie it up, but then with Troy up 22-20 the Matadors scored 4 straight points to gain control of the set. USC couldn't hold an early 8-4 lead in the fourth set, as CSUN tied it at 8-8 and then the Matadors came back from several 2-point deficits before taking a 22-20 lead but USC tied it at 22-22 and kept it tight until a Ciesla kill followed by his ace ended the match (CSUN hit .321 in the set to USC's .172).
USC next travels to No. 8 Long Beach State for an MPSF match on Thursday (March 20) at 7 p.m.