By Aubrey Kragen on March 16, 2017 4:26 PM
Last night, USC pulled off an improbable and impressive comeback victory in the NCAA Tournament First Four. The Trojans overcame a 17-point second half deficit against the Providence Friars to earn a rematch with SMU tomorrow.
USC official photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments at UD Arena.
For the third match in a row, recent transfer Gianluca Grasso led the Trojans in scoring and led them to a win. The Brazilian posted 18 kills, while sophomore Woody Cook and freshman Lucas Lossone added 15 kills each. USC's top outside hitter, senior Lucas Yoder, missed the match with an abdominal strain.
Momentum swung back and forth throughout the match, as USC won the first and third sets, while Harvard took the second and fourth. After a tight start to the tiebreak, the Trojans pulled away, and won the match, 3-2.
The win is USC's third and a row and helps the Trojans improve to 9-12 on the season, including a 6-3 mark at home.
This Sunday, the Trojans host Sacred Heart, aiming to inch closer to .500.
The seventh-ranked Trojans kicked off the day by besting the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 7-0. After winning the doubles point, all six of USC's singles players defeated their opponents in straight sets.
Later in the day, the Trojans endured a much tougher test against Texas Tech. Despite dropping the doubles point on Court 1 to a Splash Brothers duo of sorts (TTU's Connor Curry and Bjorn Thomson), the Trojans rallied on Courts 2 and 3 to head into singles play with a slight lead.
USC survived losses on the top three singles courts to mount a 4-3 victory over the Red Raiders, with Jack Jaede (pictured) serving as the clincher on Court 4.
USC's current seven-match win streak is its longest since winning nine in a row to open up the 2015 season. The Trojans go for eight on Friday at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge at Indian Wells.
Tonight's game against the Friars is expected to tip around 6:10 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on TruTV and live streamed on NCAA.com. Should the Trojans advance, they will face SMU at approximately 12:10 p.m. PT on Wednesday on TruTV.
Below is a channel finder for TruTV:
DirecTV: Ch. 246/Ch. 1246 VOD DISH Network: Ch. 242 ATT U-Verse: Ch. 164 East/165 West (1164 HD East, 1165 HD West) Verizon FiOS: Ch. 183 SD/Ch. 683 HD Time Warner Cable: Click here to search by ZIP code Comcast/XFinity Cable: Click here to search by ZIP code Cox Communications: Click here to search by ZIP code Sling TV: Click here
USC has high hopes this year, having finished in the Top 8 in each of the last seven NCAA Championships, including a sixth-place finish last year.
The Trojans are fresh off a third-place finish at the Pac-12 Tournament, where they won two individual events. Freshman Louise Hansson took home the title in the 100y fly, and is seeded fifth in the event at NCAAs. The Swede is also seeded fifth in the 100y free and sixth in the 200y IM.
Sophomore Riley Scott won the 200y breast at Pac-12s and is the No. 4 seed this week.
After winning the event last year, USC is seeded second in this year's 400y free relay.
The Championships begin tomorrow and run through Saturday at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. The finals on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on ESPN3.
By Aubrey Kragen on March 14, 2017 9:15 AM
A number of Trojans are getting paid and a number of others are on the move during the 2017 NFL Free Agency period.
Perhaps most notably, former Bills wide receiver Robert Woods signed a five-year contract with the LA Rams to come home and play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Woods led the Bills with 619 receiving yards last year, and hopes to provide a boost to a squad that ranked last in the NFL in total offense in 2016. He joins teammate T.J. McDonald on the local squad.
Second-year center Max Tuerk isn't moving to a new team, but he'll be back in the Coliseum as well, as the San Diego Chargers relocated to Los Angeles.
Yet another familiar face will grace the Coliseum this fall. Former Bears quarterback Matt Barkley signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, who are in search of a leader at that position. Barkley will join linebacker Malcolm Smith. The Super Bowl XLVIII MVP recently signed a two-year deal in San Francisco after spending the last two years in Oakland.
Two Trojan brothers will be reunited in North Carolina, as former Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil signed a deal to play alongside his brother, Ryan. Both Kalil brothers were starters for their squads last year before suffering season-ending injuries.
Tight end Rhett Ellison is leaving Minnesota as well, trading in purple and gold for the New York Giants' blue and red. He joins Trojan linebacker Devon Kennard in East Rutherford.
While Kalil and Ellison leave the NFC North, Nick Perry will hold it down, as the Green Bay Packers re-signed the linebacker to a five-year deal after the best season of his career.
Many Trojans are starting new chapters in their NFL careers, but tight end Jordan Cameron is ready for a new journey off the gridiron, announcing his retirement after six seasons. Though Cameron is leaving, a crop of new Trojans will join the fold after the 2017 NFL Draft this April.
The NFL returns on Thursday, Aug. 3, with the 2017 Hall of Fame Game kicking off the preseason. The NFL regular season begins on Thursday, Sept. 7.