Top-ranked USC sweeps Stanford
Trojans dispose of defending champ Cardinal in 71 minutes
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The No. 1-ranked USC men’s volleyball team bounced back from its first loss of the season in convincing fashion by dominating No. 5 Stanford, the defending NCAA champion, with a 25-15, 25-14, 25-21 sweep in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Thursday in USC’s Galen Center.
The Trojans, who lost in five sets last Friday (Feb. 11) at Pepperdine to snap their season-opening six-match winning streak, improved to 7-1 overall and 7-1 in the MPSF. The Cardinal fell to 9-4 overall and 6-4 in the MPSF.
USC hit .407 overall to Stanford’s .213 and had distinct margins in blocks (8.5 to 1.0), aces (7 to 0) and digs (38 to 30) in the match that lasted just 71 minutes.
Tony Ciarelli led USC with a match-best 12 kills while hitting .667 (zero hitting errors on 18 attempts) and he also served five aces and had five blocks. Teammate Austin Zahn returned from an ankle sprain that sidelined him for last week’s Pepperdine contest to record a match-leading eight blocks, while Tri Bourne added 10 kills (hitting .500), Riley McKibbin had a match-best 14 digs and Henry Cassiday had 10 digs.
For Stanford, Spencer McLachlin had 11 kills (hitting .364) and 9 digs, Brad Lawson had 10 kills and Erik Shoji made 10 digs.
In the first set, USC scored four unanswered points to open up an 11-8 lead and then pulled away while hitting .379 (Stanford hit just .135) with three blocks and two aces. USC was even hotter in the second set, jumping out to a 5-2 lead that it steadily built upon as it hit .632 and added 3.5 blocks and three aces. The Trojans trailed 17-14 in the third set before scoring eight of the next nine points, including six in a row, to gain control of that set.