No. 1 USC Men's Volleyball Sweeps CSUN In MPSF Quarters
April 21, 2012
Tony Ciarelli, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year, had a match-best 12 kills and 6 aces along with 5 blocks to help the top-ranked USC men's volleyball team claim its 18th consecutive victory with a 25-13, 25-15, 25-18 win over No. 11 Cal State Northridge in a quarterfinal match of the MPSF Tourney on Saturday (April 21) at USC's Galen Center.
Top-seed USC improved to 23-4 overall, while eighth-seed Cal State Northridge ended its 2012 season at 12-18.
By virtue of their victory, the Trojans will host next week's MPSF Tournament semifinals and final matches in the Galen Center. The tourney's top four seeded teams all advanced after home victories on Saturday. In the 7:30 p.m. semifinal match on Thursday (April 26), USC will meet fourth-seed UC Irvine, a 3-1 winner over UCLA. The 5 p.m. semifinal will feature second-seed Stanford, which beat Pepperdine, 3-1, against third-seed BYU, a 3-2 winner over Long Beach State. The winners meet for the MPSF Tournament championship on Saturday (April 28) at 7 p.m.
USC is also hosting the NCAA Championships on May 3 and 5 in the Galen Center.
USC, which in 2012 won its second consecutive MPSF regular season title for the first time in its history, is on its longest winning streak since a school-record 30 in a row in 1990-91. The Trojans have also won 11 straight home matches. Troy's 23 victories this year equal last season's victory total when USC advanced to the NCAA Final Four. The 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge was the Trojans' 17th sweep of the season.
USC hit .424 in the match and limited the Matadors to just .012 (Troy leads the MPSF in lowest opponent hitting percentage). The Trojans also had more blocks (10.0 to 5.0) and digs (22 to 16) than CSUN.
Ciarelli, the nation's leader in aces whose 11 aces at Long Beach State last week set an MPSF all-era record, upped his USC rally scoring era records for career (163) and season (58) aces. He is one ace shy of tying the Trojan all-era career mark and he needs 5 aces to equal the USC all-era season standard.
For CSUN, Brandon Lebriock and Julius Hoefer each had a team-best 6 kills.
Ciarelli served 4 consecutive aces to give USC a 16-9 edge in the first set and the Trojans cruised in while hitting .556 to CSUN's .071. The second set was tied at 12-12 before USC went on a 6-0 run with Ciarelli at the service line (he had 2 aces in that span) and the Matadors couldn't catch up as Troy had 6 blocks. The Trojans jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, but CSUN closed to within 17-15 before USC scored the next 5 points to regain control while hitting .448.
Tickets for the MPSF Tourney semifinals and final are available at GetTrojanTix.com or game day at the Galen Center box office.