USC Men's Volleyball Upsets No. 1 UC Irvine In MPSF Semis
April 30, 2009
The No. 4-ranked USC men's volleyball team earned a trip to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Finals with a stunning sweep over top-ranked UC Irvine on their home floor in an MPSF semifinal match, 30-25, 30-25, 30-27, on Thursday (April 30) before a boisterous crowd of 1,997 in UCI's Bren Center.
USC, which improved to 19-10 overall, snapped a 10-match losing streak to the Anteaters that stretched to 2004. It was the Trojans' first win at Irvine since 2000, ending an 11-match losing string there. That 2000 victory was also the last time USC swept the Anteaters in 3 sets.
USC--seeded fifth in the MPSF tourney--advanced to its first MPSF Finals since 1999. The Trojans will now face No. 2 Pepperdine (22-4), a 3-1 winner over No. 3 Cal State Northridge in the other MPSF semifinal, on Saturday (May 2) at 7 p.m. at UC Irvine. The Waves have defeated the Trojans in both meetings in 2009.
The winner of that MPSF Final will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Final Four May 7 and 9 at BYU. USC, which has won 4 NCAA championships, last appeared in the Final Four in 1991 and last won the NCAA crown in 1990.
UC Irvine, which fell to 25-5, holds out hope that it will receive the at-large berth to the NCAA Final Four.
Although UCI outhit the Trojans, .462 to .392, USC served a season-high 12 aces while the Anteaters struggled with 14 serving errors.
For UCI, Taylor Wilson had 19 kills while hitting .484 and Carson Clark had 13 kills, 12 digs and 3 aces.
USC never trailed in the first 2 sets. The Trojans jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the first set and extended it to 14-8 until UCI caught up at 20-20, but USC jumped back up at 23-21 and was not threatened the rest of that set. In the second set, the Trojans got out to a 10-6 lead and never surrendered that edge. USC fought back from 6-3 and then 13-9 deficits and passed the Anteaters at 19-18, then the set see-sawed until the Trojans regained control at 27-25 and held on.