No. 5 Southern California Defeats No. 8 UCLA for Third Consecutive Match


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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Austin Zahn had 12 blocks and 7 kills and Tony Ciarelli added 15 kills and 10 digs to help the No. 5 ranked USC men's volleyball team defeat No. 8 UCLA, 30-23, 28-30, 30-27, 30-18, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Friday (Feb. 20) before 1,200 fans in USC's Galen Center.

USC, which improved to 10-3 overall and 7-2 in the MPSF, posted its third consecutive win over the Bruins.  It marks the Trojans' longest winning streak over their crosstown rival since capturing 4 in a row in 1980-81.  The win also upped third-year USC head coach Bill Ferguson's record to 4-1 against legendary UCLA head coach Al Scates, whose Bruins fell to 7-8 overall and 4-5 in the MPSF

In the match, the Trojans outhit the Bruins, .273 to .129, and had more blocks (16.5 to 5) and digs (45 to 36).

Murphy Troy had 13 kills and 6 digs for USC, while teammate Sean Dennis added 11 kills, 7 blocks and 6 digs, Riley McKibbin had 11 digs with his 46 assists and Luke Morris had 8 digs.

For UCLA, Thomas Amberg had 15 kills and 5 blocks, Jack Polales added 10 kills, Jamey Ker had 11 digs and Matt Wade had 7 digs and 47 assists.

USC got off to an early 9-5 lead in the first set and UCLA couldn't catch up.  In the second set, the Bruins hit .400 and overcame a 27-25 deficit by scoring 4 consecutive points on an Amberg kill and then 3 straight blocks involving Amberg.  The third set see-sawed until USC-which had 7 blocks in the set-broke a 26-26 tied by scoring 3 consecutive points to gain control.  It was all USC from the start in the final set, as the Trojans broke out to a 6-3 lead and steadily pulled away while hitting .480.

USC next hosts a pair of MPSF matches, first against No. 13 UC Santa Barbara on Thursday (Feb. 26) and then versus No. 4 Cal State Northridge on Saturday (Feb. 28).  Both matches begin at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center.

Article courtesy of Southern California athletics.

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