Setting the Season

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In Micah Christenson, USC men's volleyball knows it has the best setter in the country, which is a pretty good place to start the 2014 campaign.

Christenson-Set-Lewis-PC.jpg"Micah is the best setter not only in college but in North America," said head coach Bill Ferguson. "He runs our team so well, and he is also an exceptional blocker and server."

The U.S. Men's National Team starting setter simply did not have enough veteran talent to work with last season resulting in a 6-18 rebuilding year after back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances.  Having taken their lumps, the young Trojans are now ready to grow up around Christenson (pictured) and rise back to the top of the conference.

"The best thing about this year is that it is not last year. We had lots of growing pains last season," said Ferguson.  "This team has more all-around skill and cohesion than any group I've had here. I believe we'll take a large step toward being back in the national conversation."

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Around Christenson, the Trojans will rely on senior libero Henry Cassiday, junior middle blocker Robert Feathers and senior opposite hitter Tanner Jansen.  Plus, the roster gets a boost as Maddison McKibbin, the team's "best all-around skill player", returns after losing the previous season to injury.

Along with the core veteran talent, USC will need young names to emerge as the season progresses.  Ferguson expects last season's bruises to turn into hardened resolve as the Trojans make a postseason run in 2014. 

"This is a very similar team to the 2012 team," said Ferguson, who led that group to the NCAA Title Match.  "We're better at blocking and serving than in 2012 and we have more balance and depth. I don't know how we'll start off, but I believe we'll finish strong."

The Trojans open the season this weekend on the road at Loyola-Chicago and Lewis before returning to Los Angeles for the Galen Center opener vs. UC San Diego on January 10 at 7 p.m. PT.  USC will host UC Irvine on January 14, UCLA on February 9 and Stanford on March 9 among other key home dates.

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