Pacific men's volleyball: Tigers Take Two, Fall In Five to No. 6 USC
The men's volleyball team dropped a five game contest to No. 6 USC, by a score of 3-2.With the loss the Tigers fell to 0-19 (8-19 MPSF), while the Trojans improved to 11-8 (14-9 MPSF).
Game scores for the match were: 24-30, 24-30, 30-25, 30-20, 15-12.
In what was two completely different halves of the same match, the Tigers dominated the first half of the contest while the Trojans took home the second half to force the fifth and deciding game. As with the whole match, the final game proved to be a battle of wills that swayed the Tigers way early before the Trojans pushed back late to put down Pacific's upset bid.
In the fifth game, the Tigers erased a quick two point lead by the Trojans in the first to 15 shortened contest as they took four of five points midway through the game to take a 7-6 lead. Pacific got its points from both sides at the net as sophomore Sean Daley (Moorpark, Calif.) and freshman Taylor Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) each picked up kills while senior Jason Borchin (Roseville, Calif.) denied the Trojan attack with a solo block at the net. The block was Borchin's first solo block while marking his fourth total block of the night.
The small run by Pacific forced a Trojan timeout as USC's coaching staff sensed the momentum swinging towards the Tigers. The timeout would pay off for the Trojans as they took the next four points to take a commanding 10-7 lead after picked up their defense at the net against the Tigers. The three point lead would hold up for USC over the final 10 points of the match as the Tigers closed no closer than a single point, the last of which came at 13-12. The Trojans' Troy Murphy finished off the Tigers with the final two points of the game, tallying his 33rd and 34th kills of the match.
Prior to the game five loss, the Tigers had taken early control of the match against the No. 6 ranked Trojans as they stormed out of the gate to take the first two games of the match. Pacific's energy and adrenaline proved to be too much for the visiting Trojans early as Pacific forced USC into 16 hitting errors through the first two games while picking up 13.5 team blocks at the net. Daley was at his best in the opening games for the Tigers as he tallied nine of his team-high 10 blocks in the first two games, including posting three solo blocks. Offensively, Hughes led the way as he tagged the Trojans for 13 kills and just one error on 23 swings to start the match as the Tigers hit .364 as a team through the first two games while USC posted a .197 hitting percentage.
Despite the early lead, the Tigers could not maintain their momentum against the Trojans as USC stormed back in the third and fourth games to even the match. Like the Tigers in the early going, the Trojans used a relentless attack and a smothering defense at the net to control the games. After posting just six total blocks in the first two games, the Trojans flipped the tables on the Tigers to tally 11.5 blocks in the second two games led by Tony Ciarelli's eight block assists while hitting around and threw Pacific's block to score 32 combined kills. After posting 13 kills through game two, Murphy continued his assault on Pacific's defense with 15 more and just two errors on 18 attacks for 28 kills through four games. For the two games, USC posted hitting percentage of .406 and .444 while the Tigers dropped to .162 and .116.
Overall, Murphy led all attackers with 34 kills on 53 attacks to post a .491 hitting percentage. He also added 12 digs to post the double-double. Hunter Current joined Murphy on the double-double list as he posted 12 kills and 10 blocks while Ciarelli had 14 kills and nine blocks. For the Tigers, sophomore Florian Gornik (Schwechat, Austria) ked the Tigers with 22 kills on 51 attempts while Hughes finished his night with 18 kills.
Pacific will be back in action on Saturday, April 10, as the Tigers say good-bye to their senior class as their five seniors play their final match at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers will take on Pepperdine in their match which is scheduled for 7:00 pm.