Pacific Kept Battling, But Fall In Four To USC
The Pacific men's volleyball team continued Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play on Friday, February 24 in the Alex G. Spanos Center against USC. The No. 11 Tigers gave a valiant effort, but fell to the No. 6 Trojans 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 28-30). The loss dropped Pacific to 5-10 (3-7 MPSF), but improved the Trojans to 8-4 (6-4 MPSF).
Leading the Tigers on the night was junior Taylor Hughes with 22 kills, while hitting an impressive .366.
The Tigers and Trojans played to a 16-all tie in game one, but USC would go on a 9-2 run to close out the set, 25-18. The Tigers fell despite Hughes' four kills, while hitting .375 and adding a pair of blocks. Junior setterPatrick Tunnell added seven assists in the opening set. Junior Christian Ahlin hit .333 and collected two kills for the Tigers offense. Middle blocker Sean Daley added two of his six blocks on the night.
The second set began with the Trojans on a 6-1 run, but the Tigers would battle back to bring it within one before falling 25-23. Hughes continued to swing a heavy arm in the second set to record six kills and hit .500. Tunnell collected 11 of his 47 assists in the frame. Senior Florian Gornik added five kills for Pacific's cause.
Despite trailing in the match 2-0, the Tigers came out firing in game three to take an early 13-9 advantage forcing a USC timeout. However, the Trojans would rally to tie the set at 16. After trading points to leave the score knotted at 19, Pacific would grab the next two points behind a pair of kills from Hughes and Gornik. Then, out of a Trojan timeout, USC would take the next three points to force a Pacific break.
With the Tigers backs against the wall, the squad came out swinging and eventually took the 25-24 lead. Pacific seemed to have the game, serving for game-point four separate times, but USC would continue to answer. Finally on the fifth set-point, Daley closed out the frame with a thunderous slam to the hardwood to take the game 30-28.
Leading Pacific in the third frame was Hughes and Gornik with eight and six kills, respectively. Gornik hit .455 in the set win. Daley added another two crucial blocks to collect the game victory.
Then, the Tigers and Trojans would trade points in the fourth set to tie the score at 22 before USC would eventually grab the game and match 25-23. Dylan Walker, Hughes and Daley all recorded four kills in the set. Walker and Daley were a finished with a perfect hitting percentage in the game.
Leading the Trojans on the night was Tony Ciarelli and Maddison McKibbin with 17 kills each.
The Tigers return to action tomorrow, Feb. 25 for a match against No. 10 Pepperdine at 7:30 p.m following the women's basketball game at 4:00 p.m.