No. 1 USC Men's Volleyball Beats No. 2 UC Irvine|
April 7, 2012
Tony Ciarelli had a match-high 20 kills to lead the top-ranked USC men's volleyball team to a 25-22, 25-19, 27-29, 25-18 win over No. 2 UC Irvine in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Saturday (April 7) in USC's Galen Center to allow the Trojans to control their destiny for the MPSF title.
USC improved to 20-4 overall and 16-4 in the MPSF. If the Trojans win their final 2 regular-season matches (at No. 8 Long Beach State on April 12 and at No. 12 Cal State Northridge on April 14), they will win the MPSF championship and be the top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament.
It was USC's 15th consecutive win, its longest streak since a school-record 30 in a row in 1990-91. It also was Troy's 12th MPSF victory in a row, its longest streak since capturing 18 straight league matches in 1991-92.
The win avenged a 3-1 Trojan loss in late January at UC Irvine, who the Trojans overtook for the No. 1 spot in the national rankings earlier this week.
The Anteaters fell to 20-5 overall and 16-5 in the MPSF.
Ciarelli, who hit .390 in the match, served 3 aces to give him 146 aces in his career, a USC rally scoring era record (breaking the mark of 143 he previously shared with 2-time All-American Murphy Troy, 2008-11).
For UCI, Carson Clark had 17 kills and 7 digs, while Jeremy Dejno had 13 kills, 7 digs and 3 aces.
USC hit .287 in the match to UCI's .206. The Trojans had 14.0 blocks to UCI's 5.5, but the Anteaters served 7 aces.
The teams exchanged slight leads throughout the first set until USC went on a 3-0 run to open up a 24-21 lead. The Trojans used a 4-0 run to build a 20-15 margin in the second set and were never threatened while getting 6.5 blocks and 17 digs. USC fell behind 20-14 in the third set and faced a 24-21 deficit, but scored 4 points in a row to go ahead 25-24 before UCI regained control and closed out the set with a Clark kill and ace (the Anteaters hit .433 in the set). The Trojans pulled away early in the final set, grabbing a 5-3 lead and slowly adding to it while hitting .321.
Ciarelli was one of four seniors honored after the match with their families on Senior Night, along with Shandrick, Mochalski and Jeff Carlson.