Three players get double-digit kills as No. 15 USC drops No. 3 Pepperdine
Robert Feathers, Cristian Rivera and Austin Rysyk each had double figures in kills and No. 15 USC served 12 aces to upset No. 3 Pepperdine 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-18) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Thursday at USC's Lyon Center.
USC improved to 5-13 overall and in the MPSF, snapping a five-match losing skid. Pepperdine dropped to 12-7 overall and 11-7 in the MPSF. It was the Trojans' seventh victory against the Waves in the past nine meetings (and fourth in the last five).
USC's season-high 12 aces were its most in a match since getting 13 versus Ohio State in 2010. Six of those aces came in the fourth set. Micah Christenson had five aces in the match and Alex Slaught added four.
Feathers, who hit .632 overall, had 13 kills, while Rivera added 11 and Rysyk had 10, making just his fifth start of the season. Along with his ace total, Christenson had five blocks and five digs. Josh Kirchner posted seven blocks. Henry Cassiday had six digs.
For Pepperdine, Maurice Torres had 21 kills while hitting .351 and he added three aces and five digs. Josh Taylor had 12 kills, six digs and four blocks, while Parker Kalmbach had six blocks.
USC hit .284 to the Waves' .250.
With USC leading 12-11 in the first set, Pepperdine scored seven of the next eight points to take an 18-13 lead and the Trojans never threatened as the Waves hit .654 in the set and served three aces.
USC returned the favor in the second set, scoring 8 of 9 points to forge a 15-8 lead and Troy never looked back as it got five blocks and three aces in the set.
The Trojans trailed 8-3 in the third set, but they caught up at 19-19 and then captured the set on back-to-back points via kills by Slaught and Feathers sandwiching a Christenson ace.
Troy used a 4-0 run in the fourth set to go up 12-9 and steadily pulled away to claim the upset.