USC Athletics

LOS ANGELES -- The No. 1-ranked USC men’s volleyball team snapped a 17-match losing streak to Cal State Northridge as it opened 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with a dominating 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 home win against the No. 12 Matadors on Wednesday (Jan. 12) at USC’s Galen Center.

It was the Trojans’ first victory over CSUN (1-3 overall, 0-1 MPSF) since 2004. The Matadors ended USC’s 2010 season with a 4-set win in the MPSF Tournament first round.

Tony Ciarelli had match highs of 11 kills and two aces to lead USC (1-0, 1-0) and teammate Murphy Troy added 10 kills while hitting .667. Austin Zahn had four blocks and Henry Cassidy had 13 digs, both match bests for the Trojans.

USC topped CSUN in most statistical categories, including in hitting percentage (.455 to .227), blocks (5.5 to 1.0) and digs (29 to 20). The Matadors had 18 serving errors.

Brandon Lebrock had 10 kills and Kaleo Baxter had eight digs for CSUN.

USC got off to quick starts in each set. The Trojans scored six consecutive points early in the first set to open an 11-5 lead and were never threatened while hitting .474 to CSUN’s .171. It was more of the same in the second set, as USC forged an 8-1 margin and the Matadors could not recover. It was 4-0 in the third set before CSUN got on the board and USC never relinquished the lead while hitting at a .542 clip.