No. 1 USC Men's Volleyball Wins At No. 3 Stanford
April 1, 2011
Tony Ciarelli had a match-best 21 kills to help the No. 1-ranked USC men's volleyball team win at No. 3 Stanford, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Friday (April 1).
The victory clinched the top seed in the upcoming MPSF tournament for the Trojans, who improved to 17-1 overall and 16-1 in the MPSF.
It was USC's 11th consecutive overall win (its longest streak since also winning 11 matches in a row in 2000) and its 10th consecutive MPSF victory (its best streak since capturing 18 straight league matches during the 1991 and 1992 seasons).
USC is off to its best overall 18-match start since going 18-0 in 1991 and its best MPSF 17-match start since being 17-0 in 1986.
USC is guaranteed of at least a tie for the MPSF regular season title, but holds the tiebreaker over the only 2 teams that can catch up to the Trojans (Stanford and BYU). A USC win on Saturday (April 2) at No. 14 Pacific would give the Trojans the outright title with 4 matches remaining.
Defending NCAA champion Stanford, which began the evening in second place in the MPSF standings but fell into third with the loss, dropped to 16-7 overall and 12-6 in the MPSF.
The Cardinal outhit USC (.305 to .290) and had more digs (45 to 39), but the Trojans posted 14 blocks (to Stanford's 6.5) and served 5 aces.
Ciarelli hit at a .500 clip and added 4 aces, 8 digs and 3 blocks. Teammates Steven Shandrick and Tri Bourne each contributed 10 kills, with Shandrick hitting .474 and getting 8 blocks while Bourne had 4 blocks. Murphy Troy had 8 kills, 8 digs and 5 blocks, Henry Cassiday had a match-leading 14 digs, Austin Zahn had 7 kills and 3 blocks and Riley McKibibn had 49 assists and 6 digs.
For Stanford, Brad Lawson led with 17 kills and 10 digs, Steven Irvin added 15 kills, Spencer McLachlin had 14 kills and 12 digs, Eric Mochalski had 9 kills while hitting .571 and Erik Shoji had 11 digs.
USC ran off 4 consecutive points to build a 12-8 lead in the first set and was never threatened (both teams hit well, with Stanford at .444 and the Trojans at .419). The Cardinal reversed the tide in the second set by scoring 4 unanswered points to go ahead 11-9 and USC could never catch up (Stanford hit .333). The Trojans broke a 16-16 tie in the third set with consecutive kills and that was all the edge USC needed. USC overcame an 8-4 deficit in the fourth set, caught up at 12-12 and then the game stayed tight until the Trojans scored 4 in a row to go up 24-21.