USC defeats Pacific in straight sets

first_imgWhen the USC men’s volleyball team learned that they would need to play Saturday night’s match without its captain senior opposite Murphy Troy, the team’s depth chart received a serious test.The undermanned No. 1 USC men’s volleyball team (8-1, 8-1), however, refused to use Troy’s absence as an excuse for diminished play, disposing of No. 15 Pacific (6-9, 2-7) in straight sets, 25-15, 25-23, 25-21.Troy’s replacement, redshirt freshman opposite Tanner Jensen, did not know he was inserted into the starting lineup until a half hour before the game, as Troy has been battling the stomach flu since Thursday’s match against Stanford.But Jensen performed admirably given the circumstances, hitting seven kills at an efficient .600 clip, to go along with seven digs and three blocks.“I wasn’t that nervous,” said Jensen. “Actually, I was more excited than anything else. I’ve been practicing for awhile now and have been waiting for my chance to play. Our team’s really deep, and it’s impressive that we can miss our best player and still come out with a win.”Junior outside hitter Tony Ciarelli and senior outside hitter Tri Bourne picked up most of the slack, doing their best Murphy Troy impersonations by combining for 25 kills.In spite of the two veteran’s crucial contributions, USC coach Bill Ferguson made certain to commend Jensen, especially for his play in the highly-competitive third set.“(Jensen) stepped in at the last minute and did a fantastic job,” said Ferguson. “He had two real key blocks at the end of the third set which really gave us some separation.”At the beginning of the first set, the team’s energy was not what the home crowd was accustomed to seeing.The Trojans got off to a sluggish start, trailing 5-2, as this new lineup struggled to communicate, especially in regards to the setting game.At that juncture, it was fair to question how this team would recover from an emotional victory against powerhouse Stanford for a quick turnaround game.“We came off an emotional win, in what was a big rivalry game for us, especially since a lot of us know each other,” Ciarelli said. “We weren’t as emotional [tonight] probably because we didn’t have our emotional leader in Murphy Troy. It was a different win for us, but we still swept.”Ferguson even drew a parallel between this game and the game against Stanford in that both games tested the Trojans’ ability to rebound from a taxing previous game.“We were a little bit crisper against Stanford,” Ferguson said. “There is no doubt about that, but I’m really proud of the way we came out tonight. It’s a testament to our team’s maturity and focus.”last_img read more

Beat writers unanimous in prediction of Syracuse’s game at Miami

first_imgAfter losing at home to North Carolina State, Syracuse (17-9, 6-7 Atlantic Coast) to take on a Miami (18-7, 7-6) with plenty of offensive weapons. The Hurricanes hosted No. 1 Virginia on Tuesday and lost, 59-50. But with just five games remaining in both teams’ ACC schedules and within one win of each other in-conference, the Orange and Miami have plenty to play for when Saturday’s game tips off at noon.See how our beat writers think the matchup will play out.Matthew Gutierrez (22-4)Hurricane Season in FebruaryMiami 70, Syracuse 55As Sam soaks up the South Florida sun, there’s a decent chance Syracuse loses each of its last five games. Several signs point to that beginning at Miami this weekend. With its frontcourt now in a flux, Syracuse’s identity has not differed much from three main scorers and a strong defense that struggles at times defending the outside. The latter was evident early in the year, even against Colgate. Stopping the 3-point shot is a glaring weakness for SU and, when combined with an injury-depleted frontcourt, it becomes difficult to suspect SU will come out with a win against a good Miami team on the road.Sam Fortier (19-7)A Bay BayMiami 68, Syracuse 61AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Hurricanes and Orange are about even in terms of defense, but Miami can really shoot the ball and that, at home, gives them enough of an advantage to pick them comfortably in this game. Led by 5-foot-7 freshman point guard Chris Lykes, the Hurricanes have 67 or more points in all but three conference games. UM surrounds Lykes with four capable scoring options and some nice complementary length. The one thing about UM: They are one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the nation, hitting 66.4 percent from the stripe. If the Orange can make it a contest there down the stretch, there’s a chance for SU. But even still, Miami might have too much offense.Tomer Langer (18-8)U are doneMiami 65, Syracuse 59Syracuse’s loss to N.C. State on Wednesday night stings, particularly because SU played fairly well. Now, it’s put a damper on the hope this team showed one week earlier. The narrative throughout the ACC this year has been about how difficult it is to win on the road in conference. And even in last year’s disappointing campaign, Syracuse only lost one ACC home game. But the loss to the Wolfpack was SU’s third ACC loss in the Carrier Dome this year. One came against a powerhouse in Virginia, but then there’s this most recent one to the Wolfpack and a still-inexplicable loss to a Notre Dame team missing its two best players. Now, the Orange has to play UM. The only teams to beat the Hurricanes in Miami are Virginia and then-No. 5 Duke. SU isn’t in the same class as those teams, so give me Miami in this one. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 16, 2018 at 5:14 pmlast_img read more