Fifth-seed USC Upsets No. 1 UC Irvine, 3-0 In MPSF Semifinal
Irvine, Calif. - Fifth-seed USC upset No. 1 seed and No.1 ranked UC Irvine, 3-0 (30-25, 30-25, 30-25) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation semifinal match at the Bren Center Thursday.
Pepperdine defeated Cal State Northridge in the other semifinal, 3-1 (27-30, 40-38, 30-26, 30-23) so the Waves will meet the Trojans in the championship match Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the Bren Center.
The Trojans, who are ranked fourth nationally, end UCI's six-match winning streak and knock off the Anteaters for the first time in 11 tries. UCI goes to 25-5 overall while USC improves to 19-10.
UCI hit .462 (53-11-91) for the match, the third highest offensive total for the Anteaters this year. USC hit .392 (52-12-102) and fired 12 service aces, the most aces registered against UCI this season. The Anteaters had committed just four receiving errors in the last three matches combined. UCI had a season-low 4.5 blocks and still managed to out-block the Trojans who had just 4.0.
UCI was led by Taylor Wilson with 19 kills, hitting at a .484 clip (19-4-31). The senior also recorded two aces. Opposite Carson Clark added 13 kills, three aces, a team-high three blocks and a match and career-high 12 digs. Middle blocker Kevin Wynne hit .545 with seven kills and two blocks.
Murphy Troy led the Trojans with 19 kills hitting .600 (19-1-30). Tony Ciarelli put away 18 kills and a team-best eight digs. Setter Riley McKibben added 42 set assists and seven digs.
USC jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set and never trailed in the game. The Trojans led 18-13 before UCI went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 20-20. Following an Anteater service error, Riley McKibben recorded a kill to give USC a two-point cushion, 23-21. Taylor Wilson put away a kill following an Irvine timeout, but the Trojans responded with a 3-0 spurt to go ahead 26-22 on their way to a 30-25 victory.
UCI hit .527 in the second set, but the Trojans took a 2-0 lead with another 30-25 victory. USC fired five aces and hit .457. All USC needed was a kill by Murphy Troy followed by a pair of kills by Tony Ciarelli to take a 9-6 led and the Anteaters would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
In the third set, UCI jumped out an early 6-3 lead but USC knotted the score at 18-18. The teams remained closed and with the score tied at 25-25, USC used a kill by Ciarelli and an Anteater attack error to go ahead 27-25. USC would side out for the 30-27 victory and the match 3-0.
courtesy UC Irvine athletics