No. 5 Southern California Defeats No. 13 UC Santa Barbara in Four Games


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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Four Trojans - Tony Ciarelli, Sean Dennis, Austin Zahn and Murphy Troy-each had double figures in kills to help the No. 5-ranked USC men's volleyball team to a 30-20, 21-30, 30-25, 30-18 win over No. 13 UC Santa Barbara in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Thursday (Feb. 26) in USC's Galen Center.

USC improved to 11-3 overall and moved to within half of game of the MPSF lead at 8-2 in league play.  The Gauchos fell to 4-10 overall and 2-9 in the MPSF.  The win tied the all-time series between the teams at 45-45.

Ciarelli hit .417 and had 7 digs, Dennis added 11 digs, Zahn hit .667, Troy had 9 digs and Riley McKibbin had 8 digs and a match-high 7 blocks.  Steven Shandrick came off the bench at the start of the third set for USC and recorded 6 blocks to help USC to a 14.5 to 5 edge in team blocks.  Brad Keenan made his first career start and recorded 6 digs as the Trojan libero.

For UCSB, Jeff Menzel had a match-leading 24 kills along with 8 digs and 3 blocks, while Cullen Irons had 10 kills, Andy McGuire had a match-best 12 digs and Vince Devany had 10 digs.

USC outhit the Gauchos, .346 to .147, but had 18 serving errors.

USC went on a 6-0 run in the first set to open up a 15-9 lead and the Trojans were never threatened while hitting .484 and getting 4.5 blocks.  UCSB turned the tide in the second set, hitting .516 to slowing pull away after an early 4-4 tie.  In the third set, USC broke a 16-16 tie by scoring 6 consecutive points and the Gauchos couldn't catch up as the Trojans posted 6.5 blocks.  USC took over the final set by going on a 3-0 run at 13-13, hitting .467 with 17 digs.

USC next hosts a team that it is tied with in the MPSF standings, No. 4 Cal State Northridge, on Saturday (Feb. 28).  The MPSF match begins at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center.

Article courtesy of Southern California athletics.

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