LOS ANGELES — No. 1 USC — behind 22 kills from All-American Murphy Troy — went five sets to hold off No. 2 BYU, 25-21, 17-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-12, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match in front of 1,250 fans on Friday (March 4) in USC’s Galen Center.
The teams play again on Saturday (March 5) at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center. Admission is free. The jerseys of former USC All-Americans and Olympians Dusty Dvorak and Celso Kalache will be retired after the match.
With the victory, USC improved to 11-1 both overall and in the MPSF. It is the Trojans’ best overall 12-match start since 2000 (also 11-1) and best MPSF 12-match start since 1994 (also 11-1).
BYU fell to 13-5 overall and 9-4 in the MPSF.
Troy, a 6-8 senior opposite hitter, hit a blistering .526 in the match and served 3 aces. Teammate Tony Ciarelli added 14 kills (hitting .345) with 6 digs and 5 blocks, Steven Shandrick had 10 kills while hitting .667 (with no errors on 15 attempts) and he also had a match-best 6 blocks, Austin Zahn had 9 kills while hitting .533 (just 1 error on 15 attempts) and he also had 5 digs and 4 blocks and Riley McKibbin dished 53 assists with 8 digs.
For BYU, Taylor Sander was nearly unstoppable with a match-leading 29 kills while hitting .480 (he had just 5 errors on 50 attempts) along with 7 digs and 3 aces. Robb Stowell added 16 kills and 9 digs, Alex DaPron had 14 kills (hitting .435) and 6 digs, Otavio Souza had 8 kills (hitting .700) off the bench, BJ Hiapo had a match-high 12 digs, Futi Tavana had 5 blocks and Ryan Boyce had 66 assists and 6 digs.
USC hit .416 overall to BYU’s .396. The Trojans had more kills (12.5 to 7.0), but the Cougars had more digs (43 to 34).
Early in the first set, USC scored 8 consecutive points with Troy serving to open a 10-4 lead, but BYU clawed back to within 20-19 before a Ciarelli kill followed by a Cougar hitting error gave USC a 23-20 margin. The Trojans hit .478 and had 4.5 blocks in that set.
BYU grabbed control of the second set quickly, opening a 6-3 lead and steadily building on it while hitting .455. It was the first set USC lost at home in 2011, after winning its first 13 home sets.
In the third set, USC opened a 9-6 lead and was never threatened while hitting .519.
BYU scored a pair of unanswered points to forge a 17-15 lead in the fourth set, giving it all the cushion it needed while hitting .464 in the set.
The fifth set was tied at 6-6 before the Trojans ran off a pair of points on a Troy kill and a Cougar hitting error, and the Trojans never relinquished the lead while hitting .562.