Sophomore Taylor Gregory had a match-high eight blocks in a 3-1 loss at No. 7 USC.
March 22, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team dropped a tough 3-1 decision to No. 7 USC Saturday evening at the Trojans' North Gym. Set scores were 25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 27-25.
The 49ers (15-6, 12-6 MPSF) were held to a .180 attack percentage and were led by senior Taylor Crabb's 15 kills. He was the only player to finish in double figures as senior Ian Satterfield was second on the team with eight kills. Sophomore Taylor Gregory also had six kills and eight blocks, while senior Jeff Ornee chipped in six blocks. As a team, LBSU outblocked USC, 14.5-to-7.5.
USC (14-8, 13-8 MPSF) took an early 7-2 lead in the opening set, but Long Beach State started chipping away and eventually knotted it up at 13-13 on a double block by Crabb and Gregory. It went back-and-forth with four more tie scores before LBSU pulled ahead, 20-18. The Trojans then responded with a 7-2 run to close it out at 25-22.
The 49ers never trailed in set two as they went up, 10-4, following another block from Crabb and Gregory. USC was able to come within one, but Long Beach State would not relinquish the lead as it outscored the home team, 5-2, down the stretch with a Gregory kill ending it at 25-21.
The Trojans regrouped and started the third frame on a 10-3 run. LBSU answered with a 6-1 spurt to cut the deficit to two, but USC came right back to reclaim an eight-point edge at 18-10. The Trojans would stay out front by at least five the rest of the way as it claimed the 25-19 victory.
The fourth set was a game of runs and USC started off hot once again, taking an early 7-2 advantage. Long Beach State then notched four unanswered to close the gap to one, but the Trojans responded with a 5-1 spurt of their own to go on top, 12-7. USC looked like it was going to pull away late as it went up, 19-13, but the 49ers dug in and battled back with a 9-3 rally to even it up at 22-all. The two teams traded points until a USC ace ended it in favor of the home team, 27-25.
The Trojans hit .270 on the night and were paced by Tanner Jansen and Lucas Yoder, who finished with 26 and 22 kills, respectively. Henry Cassiday led a strong defensive effort with a match-high 19 digs, while Micah Christenson compiled 53 assists and 15 digs.
After seeing its eight-match win streak come to an end on Thursday, LBSU suffered its second-straight defeat, marking just the second time this season that it has been dealt back-to-back losses.
Long Beach State will look to bounce back next week when it heads to UC San Diego (March 27) and UC Irvine (March 28) for a pair of MPSF matches.
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