No. 9 USC Men's Volleyball Fight Back From 2-Set Deficit To Beat No. 7 UCSB|
March 27, 2015
Cristian Rivera had 20 kills and 12 digs to help the No. 9-ranked USC men's volleyball team fight back from a 2-set deficit and defeat No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, 23-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-20, 16-14 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Friday (March 27) at USC's Galen Center.
It was Troy's eighth 5-set match of 2015 (equaling its most since 2010) and its sixth victory on such occasions, including its second consecutive after winning in 5 sets at Long Beach State last Friday (March 20). It also was the second time this year that USC came back to win after dropping the first 2 sets of a match and the fourth time that the fifth set of a Trojan match went extra points (USC has won 3 of them).
UC Santa Barbara fell to 13-8 overall and 9-8 in the MPSF.
Andy Benesh added 16 kills for USC while hitting .483, Larry Tuileta had 13 kills, Robert Feathers had 10 kills and 3 aces, Alex Slaught had 10 kills and 11 digs off the bench, Micah Christenson had 16 digs and Brooks Varni had 15 digs.
For UCSB, Jacob Delson had 16 kills, 10 digs and 7 blocks, Kevin Donahue added 15 kills and 16 digs, Ryan Hardy had 11 kills (hitting. 381) and 6 blocks, Jonah Seif had 19 digs and 6 blocks, Jake Staahl had 10 blocks with 7 kills (hitting .545) and Hayden Boehle had 13 digs.
USC hit .247 to UCSB's .223 and the Trojans had more digs (71 to 63) and aces (6 to 2), but the Gauchos had 18.0 blocks to Troy's 7.5.
The first set seesawed throughout, as neither team could separate from the other, and then with USC leading 20-18 the Gauchos scored 4 of the next 6 points to get all the cushion they needed. The Gauchos led most of the second set, primarily behind their 6.0 blocks in the set, and they were up 23-20 before USC tied it at 24-24, only to see UCSB score the final 2 points on a kill and a Trojan hitting error. USC jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set and was never threatened, serving 4 aces along the way. Troy scored the first 2 points of the fourth set and steadily pulled away while hitting .395. In the fifth set, USC was up 8-6 before UCSB used a 3-0 run to pull ahead 12-10, but the Trojans scored the next 3 points and then closed out the match on consecutive kills by Slaught.
USC must recover quickly, as it returns to action on Saturday (March 28) at 7 p.m. in an MPSF match in the Galen Center against No. 12 UCLA, with SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup points on the line. The match will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.