No. 1 USC serves its way to 3-0 win over Long Beach State
April 12, 2012
LONG BEACH - The eighth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team suffered a 25-17, 28-26, 25-19, defeat to No. 1 USC in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action Thursday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
The Trojans, who have now won 16 in a row, improved to 21-4 overall and 17-4 in the MPSF, while the 49ers dropped to 14-14, 9-12 MPSF.
USC took the win behind a strong serving performance as it finished with 14 aces, including an MPSF record 11 aces from Tony Ciarelli.
In the opening set, USC raced out to a 5-0 lead behind four-straight aces from Ciarelli. Ciarelli was credited with the final ace when the 49ers were called for being out of rotation. LBSU took a quick time out and got on the board with a Ryan Meehan kill, but the Trojans proceeded to go up, 9-1. Long Beach State then regrouped, going on a 7-1 run to close the gap to two at 10-8. USC pulled back ahead by five, but the 49ers used another 5-1 spurt to make it 15-13. LBSU stayed within striking distance before Ciarelli reeled off four more aces to put the Trojans on top, 22-14. They eventually took set point at 24-16 and after Long Beach State sided out with a Brad Hemmerling kill, USC ended it at 25-17.
The Trojans started strong again in set two, taking a 10-3 advantage before the 49ers came back within three at 11-8. USC then responded with five unanswered points to break open a 16-8 lead. The visitors held a comfortable edge until LBSU went on an 8-3 run, capped by a Connor Olbright ace, to make it 21-18. The Trojans looked like they were going to cruise to the victory when they pulled ahead, 23-18, but Long Beach State caught fire, scoring six consecutive points to take its first lead of the night at 24-23. USC held off two set points before it went up 26-25 and eventually took the set at 28-26 on a service ace by Steven Shandrick.
Long Beach State had the momentum early in the third stanza, going up 4-1 on a double block by Olbright and Jeff Ornee. The 49ers stayed out front until USC knotted it up at 8-8. The two teams then went back-and-forth with five more tie scores before the Trojans used a 6-0 spurt to pull ahead, 18-13. LBSU would only come as close as four as USC ran away with the 25-19 win.
Long Beach State closes out the regular season on Saturday, April 14, when it hosts Pepperdine in a key MPSF showdown at 7 p.m. The Waves (14-13, 9-12 MPSF) also lost at Cal State Northridge tonight, which makes Saturday's match a battle for the No. 6 seed.