No. 9 USC Men's Volleyball Overcomes No. 12 UCLA In 5 Sets

    Andy Benesh
    March 28, 2015

    Final Stats

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    Andy Benesh and Larry Tuileta each had 13 kills as the No. 9-ranked USC men's volleyball team came back to defeat No. 12 UCLA, 19-25, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22, 15-11 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Saturday (March 28) at USC's Galen Center.

    USC improved to 14-7 overall and 12-6 in the MPSF. It was Troy's ninth 5-set match of 2015 (its most since having 10 in 2009) and its program-best seventh victory on such occasions, including its third consecutive after winning in 5 sets on Friday night (March 27) over UC Santa Barbara at home and at Long Beach State last Friday (March 20).

    With the win, the Trojans clinched a berth in the upcoming 8-team MPSF Tournament. It also gave USC 5 points in the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup, an all-sports competition between the two schools (UCLA currently leads the competition, 75-35, with 100 points needed to clinch).

    UCLA fell to 11-9 overall and 7-9 in the MPSF.

    Benesh hit .600 for the Trojans and Tuileta added 12 digs, while Josh Kirchner and Christopher Orenic both came off the bench to put down 9 kills apiece. Micah Christenson had 19 digs, Brooks Varni had 12 digs and Tommy Leonard added 6 blocks off the bench.

    For UCLA, J.T. Hatch had 25 kills (hitting .380), Oliver Martin added 14 kills (hitting .500) off the bench, Jake Arnitz served 6 aces, Eric Matheis had 12 digs, Jackson Bantle had 11 digs and Trent Kersten had 6 blocks.

    UCLA outhit the Trojans, .272 to .250, and had more blocks (15.5 to 8.0) and aces (9 to 2).

    UCLA went on a 3-point run to build a 14-11 lead in the first set and were never threatened the rest of the set while hitting .346 and getting 7.0 blocks. A 6-0 run early in the second set gave the Bruins an 9-3 lead, but USC crept back and used its own 4-0 run to tie it at 15-15 before UCLA scored the next 2 points to seemingly regain control and extended the edge to 22-19, however USC scored the set's final 6 points (Troy had 4.0 blocks in the set). UCLA had a 3-0 run in the third set to break an 11-11 tie and steadily pulled away behind 4 straight aces by Arnitz (the Bruins hit .462 in the set). The fourth set went back and forth until USC scored 3 consecutive to go ahead 24-21, all the cushion it needed while hitting .440 in the set. The Trojans scored 3 straight early points in the fifth set to forge a 5-3 margin, built it to 8-5 and then 11-7 and USC was able to finish out the match.

    USC now goes on the road for a pair of MPSF matches, first on April 2 at No. 3 Pepperdine at 7 p.m. and then on April 4 at No. 13 Stanford at 7:30 p.m. in a match that will be shown live on Pac-12 Networks.