Volleyball gets first road win on weekend road trip

first_imgThe men’s volleyball team split a weekend road trip with a four-set loss at No. 11 UC Irvine on Friday night and then a four-set win at UC San Diego on Saturday night.The Trojans battled UC Irvine 24-26, 25-2, 18-25, 18-25 but bounced back the next day for a victory over UCSD 25-19, 26-24, 19-25, 25-22.UC Irvine (3-7, 2-6) remains 10th in the MPSF, USC (2-8, 2-6) 11th and UC San Diego (3-9, 0-8) 12th.Saturday’s win was the first road victory of the year for the Trojans. Four players finished with at least nine kills while senior outside hitter and captain Alex Slaught led with twelve kills, and senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard and sophomore opposite Jon Rivera each posted eleven. Junior middle blocker Andy Benesh tagged on nine more while hitting a team-high .533.As a team, the Trojans’ hitting looked shaky at times. Although they hit .364 in the second set, they posted a meager .091 average in the first and .194 in the third. For the match, the team hit .229.The Tritons hit .211 and star junior outside hitter Ian Colbert was limited to nine kills on 26 attempts. Only one Triton, senior outside hitter Kirill Rudenko recorded double-digit kills (11).Hitting-wise, Friday’s match was more or less the same for the Trojans, but they faced a UCI team that was on fire.The Trojans hit .274 despite a stellar .560 in the first set. Junior outside hitter Lucas Yoder and Rivera tied for a team high thirteen kills.Across the net, UC Irvine hit .457 for the match without their star player and kills leader, first-team All-American sophomore opposite Tamir Hershko. Even without Hershko, the Anteaters still managed to field four players with at least eleven kills.Two freshmen, opposite Apfelbach and outside hitter Tucker Pikula, both had career nights. In addition to his sixteen kills, Apfelbach hit .500 and added five digs and five blocks. Pikula added twelve kills on a .524 average and tallied eight digs and a pair of blocks.On both Friday and Saturday, the Trojans lost the blocking battle. Coming into the weekend, the team had a total of 55 blocks while allowing 101 to opponents. However, these weekend matches seemed like chances to turn that ratio around as both UC Irvine and UC San Diego have struggled blocking, as well. The Anteaters entered Friday’s match with only 54 blocks and the Tritons began Saturday’s match with 61.Nevertheless, UC Irvine held USC to only three blocks in four sets. This enabled the Anteaters to control the pace of the match and hit .457. Then on Saturday, UCSD out-blocked the Trojans 13-8.Up next for the Men of Troy is a four-game home stand. All four matches will be against ranked opponents. First up this Wednesday is No.12 Cal State Northridge (7-4, 2-4), a team that beat USC 3-1 in their MPSF opener. On Friday, USC will look to pull off the upset versus No. 2 Long Beach State (9-2, 6-2), who also beat the Trojans 3-1 in mid-January. Next week, USC will finish the homestand with two matches against No. 5 Hawaii (9-2, 4-2).last_img