No. 5 Southern California Defeats No. 9 BYU in Five Tight Sets


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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Murphy Troy had a match-high 24 kills to lead the No. 5-ranked USC men's volleyball team to a 34-32, 33-35, 29-31, 30-23, 15-10 comeback win over No. 9 BYU in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Saturday (Feb. 7) in USC's Galen Center.

USC upped its record to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the MPSF, while BYU dropped to 5-6 overall and 3-3 in the MPSF.  The win gave the Trojans victories over the Cougars on consecutive days, with the win on Friday (Feb. 6) snapping a 14-match losing skid to BYU.

This win marked only the second time in USC history that 3 sets in a match went over 30 points (the other was in 2001 in a 5-set loss to UC Irvine).

After getting 28 kills on a .610 hitting performance the previous night, Troy hit .391 in this match and he added 5 digs and 3 aces.  Freshman teammate Tony Ciarelli had 18 kills, 6 blocks and 5 digs, Austin Zahn had 15 kills (hitting .522), Sean Dennis posted 13 kills, 10 digs and 4 blocks, Hunter Current recorded 7 blocks and Luke Morris had a match-best 16 digs.

For BYU, Mat Taylor had 18 kills, 6 blocks and 6 digs, Futi Tavana added 16 kills (hitting .517), 5 blocks and 5 digs, Kevin Sagers also had 16 kills along with 6 digs, Andrew Stewart had 15 kills and 8 digs and Russell Lavaja had 13 kills and 4 blocks.

The teams each hit .311 overall.

In the first set, BYU got out to a 16-12 lead and USC-despite hitting just .194-didn't catch up until it was 28-28, then the Trojans closed out the set on a Cougar hitting error and a Ciarelli ace.  BYU overcame a 9-5 deficit in the second set, catching up at 11-11 and then the set see-sawed until a Taylor kill and a Trojan hitting error finished it.  The third set was tight throughout, with neither team forging more than a 2-point lead, and it wasn't decided until a Tavana kill was followed by a USC hitting error.  USC jumped out to leads of 9-4 and then 13-6 in the fourth set and was never threatened while hitting .467.  The Trojans got an early 4-2 lead in the final set and BYU could never make it up as USC hit .421 to the Cougars' .158.

USC next travels to Northern California for a pair of MPSF matches, facing Pacific on Feb. 13 and then No. 6 Stanford on Feb. 14.

Article courtesy of Southern California athletics.

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