Trojans stay undefeated in dominant fashion

first_imgRemaining undefeated early in the regular season, the men’s volleyball team took down Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival Long Beach State in straight sets Wednesday at the Galen Center.The No. 2 Trojans (6-0, 5-0 MPSF) maintain their spot atop the conference standings and trail only defending national champions No. 1 Loyola-Chicago in the American Volleyball Coaches Association national poll.The Trojans  took down the No.11 ranked 49ers by a final score of 25-17, 25-18, 25-19, and finished the match swinging just under 35 percent.Senior middle blocker Robert Feathers led the team with eight kills, while redshirt sophomore  outside hitter Christopher Orenic added seven kills on the night and senior setter Micah Christenson orchestrated the attack with 27  assists. The team, which has put an emphasis on aggressive serving throughout the season, recorded six aces.Senior Cristian Rivera got the start at opposite in place of junior opposite Josh Kirchner, who had started the last two matches.USC began last weekend with a three-set win at UC San Diego by a score of 25-14, 25-16, 25-19 on Thursday, Jan. 22. The following night, USC pulled out a five-set win at UC Irvine by a score of 28-30,      25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13.Kirchner led the way against UC San Diego with 12 kills, then also led the team in kills against UC Irvine with 15. Rivera was recovering from a sprained ankle from earlier in the season.Kirchner, who grew up in Sussex, Wisconsin, converted to an opposite after playing as a middle blocker most of his career.He started 13 matches as a middle blocker his freshman year in 2013, appeared in only one match last year as a middle blocker, but should factor into the rotation much more at opposite this season.In an interview with the Athletic Department after the UC Irvine win, Christenson said the team’s deep bench is a real strength of the team. He noted Kirchner as well as freshman outside hitter Larry Tuileta as key pieces to the team outside of the usual starting rotation.“We’ve had some injuries,” Christenson said. “Tuileta came in and really swung strongly, and [Kirchner] replacing the injured [Rivera] didn’t miss a beat. It’s really nice knowing we have that team depth. There really is no step down, they can come in and raise the level.”Tuileta recorded six kills off the bench against UC Irvine but did not make an appearance against Long Beach State.Tuileta, a Honolulu native, is also a member of the football team.In head coach Bill Ferguson’s weekly video recap with the Athletic Department, he likened the squad’s depth, resilience and team-oriented style of play to that of the San Antonio Spurs, the defending champions and            five-time winners of the NBA title.“They understand the greater concept of team,” he said. “I’d like to think of us, if things are going well, like the San Antonio Spurs where sure everybody in the world knows who Tim Duncan is but by and large, their concept of team and ‘next guy up’ […] is what I think this team can be.”While Rivera is the more experienced of the two at the position, having started at opposite frequently last season, Ferguson referred to the two as a “1a and 1b” at the position.The Trojans will next host Cal State Northridge in another MPSF match on Friday Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Galen Center.The match will feature the jersey retirements of former USC National Players of the Year Tom Duke (1988) and Bryan Ivie (1990, 1991).last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *