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Southern California Athletics | January 31, 2014

Yoder, Slaught lead USC to victory against Cal Baptist

LOS ANGELES -- Lucas Yoder had 15 kills and Alex Slaught added 13 kills to lead No. 5 Southern California to a 25-13, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21 win against California Baptist in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Wednesday in USC's Galen Center.

USC improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the MPSF, while the Lancers fell to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the MPSF.

Micah Christenson had a match-best 12 digs and three aces for USC and Andy Benesh had six blocks.

For Cal Baptist, Jonathan Tuttle had 14 kills, 10 digs and six blocks, while Johannes Brink had eight kills and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez had six blocks.

USC hit .274 to CBU's .140. The Trojans served six aces

USC dominated the first set from the start, quickly extending a 5-2 lead to 17-6 while hitting .667 and serving three aces. The second set was tight throughout until USC scored back-to-back points to go up 21-20 and held on for the win despite Cal Baptist's 5.5 blocks in the set. The Lancers built a 12-7 lead in the third set and the Trojans could never overcome the deficit as CBU hit .364. USC opened a 16-12 edge in the final set and never relinquished it.

No. 1 UCLA 3, UC San Diego 0

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Top-ranked UCLA made it eight wins in a row with a straight-set decision at UC San Diego in an MPSF match played on Thursday night. Scores of the contest were 25-19, 25-18, 25-20.

The Bruins maintained a slight edge all the way through set one while hitting .480. UCLA enjoyed leads of 7-5, 13-10 and 18-16. A Michael Beals – Trent Kersten block made it 24-19 and the Bruins took home set one on a Gonzalo Quiroga blast.

In set two, UCLA moved in front 8-5 and 13-8. A Quiroga kill made it 18-14 for the visitors. Michael Fisher, Robart Page and Spencer Rowe combined on a block for a 22-17 advantage. The Bruins then grabbed set two on a Triton error by a score of 25-18.

UCLA opened a 9-5 lead early and then made it 15-10 in set three. Clayton Paullin came in during the set to give the team a lift with four kills and a block. The Bruins led 21-16 before closing out the match at 25-20.

Page finished the contest with a team-best 15 kills. Quiroga added seven spikes. Kersten had six kills, an ace and three blocks while hitting .417. Beals totaled eight digs and 34 set assists. Fisher registered five kills, six digs and two block assists. The Bruins hit .457 for the match.

No. 9 UC Santa Barbara 3, No. 11 Hawaii 1

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Ninth-ranked UC Santa Barbara defeated No. 11 Hawaii in a strong, yet close, performance (25-19, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23). The Gauchos improve to 4-2 overall, 3-2 MPSF and snap their two-match losing streak after being swept at UCLA and dropping a heartbreaker in five sets to UC Irvine.

UCSB broke their trend of starting games late with an impressive first set. The set was up for grabs as the two well-matched teams traded points. Sophomore Setter Jonah Seif broke the deadlock with a service ace to give the Gauchos an 18-17 lead before Hawai'i called a timeout. Undeterred, UCSB continued their motivated style of play to grab three more points, capped off by an Austin Kingi and Ryan Thompson block. Kingi was also responsible for five kills off eight attempts in the set while Thompson got a hand on two additional blocks. Hawai'i was again forced to take a timeout. UCSB kept up the intensity and finished the set with dominant services from senior opposite Evan Licht. At 23-19 Gauchos, Licht's first serve was too hot to handle for the Rainbow Warrior defense. The miss-hit ball sailed over the net for an easy slam by Jake Staahl. Licht's sealed the set win with an authoritative fastball passed Hawai'i.

The second set was contested with an early 4-4 tie. Thompson and Kingi teamed up for another block to break the tie, and then Licht added his own solo block to put the Gauchos ahead 9-6. However, the UCSB drive stalled with hitting errors, which enabled Hawai'i to tie the match at 13. Despite a UCSB timeout, the Rainbow Warriors were able to strike for six straight points. Not even four team blocks in the set could prevent Hawai'i from taking the set 25-21. Brook Sedore for the Rainbow Warriors carried his team with 19 total kills for the match followed by Sinisa Zarkovic with 12 kills.

Hawaii kept the pressure on UCSB in the third set by jumping out to a 10-6 lead. The Gauchos found their intensity, as they had late in the first set, to turn a five point scoring streak and take the lead 11-10. This time UCSB relied on their service game, landing four aces in the set, In particular, Staahl's two services aces were critical to the early comeback and required Hawai'i to burn their first timeout.  The third set also witnessed the Gauchos unleash their offensive prowess at the net. Matt Hanley was subbed in late during the second set, only striking for one kill. However, in the third set, Hanley, Licht, Thompson, and Kingi each blasted three kills against the porous Rainbow Warrior defense that could only manage two blocks. Thompson finished with eight kills on the night and continued his efficiency with a .455 clip. Despite their early setback, the Gauchos overpowered Hawai'i to win the set 25-22.

UCSB fell behind early in the fourth set, similar to the third, 11-7. Yet, also similar to the third set, the Gauchos found a spark to fight back in the match. Staahl's solo block invigorated the team to three straight points that was interrupted by a Hawai'i timeout. Undaunted, Licht and Thompson on the very next point teamed up for a critical block to tie the match at 13. After losing a point to Hawai'i, the Gauchos again reeled-off three straight points. The duo of Licht and Thompson would not allow the Rainbow Warrior offense any chance to get rolling as they stuffed two of the three straight points. Thompson assisted in seven total blocks for the match while Licht's three blocks in the set gave him a total of four for the match, not including his solo block. Hawaii was forced to burn their second timeout of the set. UCSB extended their lead to 20-17 before the Rainbow Warriors rallied to within one point, still down 24-23. Austin Kingi sealed the set, and the match, for the Gauchos with the winning kill. He pounded three kills in the set for a total of 13 in the match. Further, Hanley continued his strong play off the bench with an additional four kills for a match total of eight.

No. 10 Lewis 3, Missouri Baptist 0

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. -- Tenth-ranked Lewis extended their winning streak to six with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 26-24) sweep of NAIA opponent Missouri Baptist on Thursday at Neil Carey Arena.

The Flyers improve to 7-2 on the season while the Spartans fall to 4-1 on the year.

"Coming into the match, we had a few different areas that we wanted to improve," Lewis head men's volleyball coach Dan Friend said. "All and all, the team put together a great team effort, as a lot of guys got to see playing time."

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Will McCall led the Flyer offense, hitting .400 (8 K, 2 E, 15 TA) in two sets of action, while redshirt junior outside hitter Geoff Powell chipped in six kills and three block assists. Junior outside hitter Greg Petty added four kills, two assists and a block assist as redshirt sophomore opposite Patrick Lilly also collected four putaways and a service ace.

Redshirt senior setter BJ Boldog dished out 15 assists while sophomore Scott Fifer tallied 10 helpers.

The Flyers collected 34 kills with 13 errors on 79 total attempts to hit .266 while holding the Spartans to a .187 hitting percentage (35 K, 18 E, 91 TA). Lewis out-blocked Missouri Baptist 7.5-4.0, including two solo blocks freshman middle blocker John Hodul.

The Missouri Baptist offense was led by Mico Janicijevic with 14 kills, while Jordan Pinto tallied eight putaways. Shane Welch chipped in six kills as setter Rober Esser dished out a floor-high 30 assists.