No. 1 USC Men's Volleyball Sweeps UCSB In MPSF Regular Season Finale
April 16, 2011
Tony Ciarelli had 13 kills while Murphy Troy and Tri Bourne both added 10 kills to pace the No. 1-ranked USC men's volleyball team to a 25-21, 25-21, 30-28 win over No. 6 UC Santa Barbara on the Trojans' Senior Night in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season finale on Saturday (April 16) in USC's Galen Center.
USC improved to 21-2 overall, equaling its most overall wins since 2009. The Trojans, who had clinched the MPSF regular season title with 5 matches to play, finished MPSF play with a 20-2 mark, its most league wins since 1986.
UC Santa Barbara fell to 14-14 overall and 11-11 in the MPSF. The Gauchos will be the No. 7 seed in the MPSF tourney and will travel to play at No. 2 seed BYU next Saturday.
USC now moves on to MPSF Tournament play. The top-seeded Trojans will host eighth-seeded UCLA next Saturday (April 23) at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center in an MPSF quarterfinal match. USC just swept the Bruins on Thursday (April 14).
After the victory over the Gauchos, USC's 8-man senior class-one of the most accomplished classes in Trojan volleyball history-was saluted on the court, along with family members. That class-Murphy Troy, Riley McKibbin, Tri Bourne, Austin Zahn, Sean Dennis, Andrew Pizula, Ian Wright and Brad Keenan-set the foundation for the revival of USC men's volleyball. So far in their 4 years, USC has won 71 matches, twice opened a season with the nation's No. 1 ranking, won both an MPSF tourney and an MPSF regular season title and played in an NCAA championship match.
In Saturday's match, USC outhit UCSB, .393 to .327. The Trojans had more blocks (12.5 to 3.0) and aces (4 to 1), but the Gauchos had more digs (30 to 22).
Ciarelli hit .550 and added 8 digs and 4 blocks, Troy hit .364 and had 6 blocks and 2 kills and Bourne hit .450. Zahn and Steven Shandrick each had 4 blocks and Henry Cassiday had 6 digs. McKibbin had 35 assists.
For UCSB, Jeff Menzel had a match-high 19 kills while hitting .371 and added 5 digs, while Scott Slaughter had 14 kills while hitting .875. Cullen Irons had 9 kills and Andy McGuire had 9 digs.
The first set was close until USC ran off 3 unanswered points to take a 21-18 lead and UCSB couldn't come back as the Trojans posted 5.0 blocks and 3 aces in the set. The second set was similar, as USC scored 3 consecutive points to open an 18-16 lead that it never relinquished while hitting .467 and getting 4.0 more blocks. Both teams hit for a high percentage in the third set (UCSB was at .486 and USC at .419) as the score remained tight throughout until a Gaucho serving error followed by a McKibbin ace ended it.