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USC men's volleyball was just too big, too powerful and too athletic for Lewis University in the first two sets, but the gutty Flyers responded and pushed the Trojans to overcome demons of blown leads past.

In the end, USC earned a four set victory in the national semifinals thanks to an emotional lift from a raucous Galen Center crowd, which set the stage for Saturday's NCAA title match against UC Irvine.

MVB-Final4.JPG"The crowd sure energized us at the end...when it seemed like we were a little bit tired there," said head coach Bill Ferguson. 

Just a week ago, USC's 18-match winning streak dissipated along with a 2-0 lead over UCI in the MPSF semifinals.  The Trojans would not admit to any feelings of a deja vu on the court tonight, but co-captains Tony Ciarelli and Steven Shandrick emphasized the need to play loose under pressure.

"We were all loving [the crowd] and having a good time and just playing for each other," Shandrick said about the fourth game.  "We were just playing volleyball and having a blast doing it."

The Trojans are hoping to be the last team smiling on Saturday after their fourth match against UCI this season.  The top-seeded Anteaters have taken two of the three contests.

"This will be like the 15th time we have played them," Ciarelli exaggerated.  "We know each other pretty well.  I am real excited.  It's going to be good volleyball."

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