Matadors prove too much for Trojans once again
Itâs been a freefall over the last month for the former No. 1 USC menâs volleyball team and the Trojans couldnât do much to stop that last night.
âWe embarrassed the university and the athletic department tonight,â USC coach Bill Ferguson said. âI was going to say something about nobody coming to watch us and I can see why right now. I donât know why anyone would come to watch us.â
No. 6 USC (8-6, 5-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), lost its fifth match in the last seven games last night when it was picked apart by No. 5 Cal State Northridge 3-1 (30-25, 24-30, 30-22, 30-21).
Aside from the second set, USC was never really in the match. CSUN, who won for the 16th straight time against the Trojans, had eight point leads in the middle of both the third and fourth sets, and USC was never able to recover.
âItâs lack of effort, lack of focus, lack of heart,â Ferguson said.
After winning the second set, it looked like USC was ready to turn the match around. But the Matadors built up a 19-10 lead. The Trojans were able to cut that lead in half, to 20-16, but just as they seemed to do done all night, the Trojans served into the net to halt their momentum.
âWe definitely ended a lot of our own momentum tonight, whether it was a bad pass or bad serve after a big run,â junior opposite hitter Murphy Troy said.
USC also was unable to get anything going on the offensive end. The Trojans had a .043 hitting percentage in the first set and a .156 hitting percentage for the entire match. It seemed like almost everytime Troy and sophomore outside hitter Tony Ciarelli went for a kill, a Matador was waiting on the other side of the net to dig it.
âI was not happy with any phase of what we were doing, other than the fact that our uniforms were clean and we matched,â Ferguson said. âWe canât play offense to save our life right now.â
One area USC is struggling at is the second outside hitter position, complimenting Ciarelli. Junior Tri Bourne started the season in the position, but injuries during the fall impeded his progress, and has since been pulled for freshman Maddison McKibbin.
McKibbin started his second game last night but had trouble early, especially in the first set when he posted a -.400 hitting percentage. He was able to find some kills later in the match, but still finished with a -.142 hitting percentage. Despite his struggles, Ferguson opted to leave him in the match.
âPart of his problems statistically happened at the beginning. He got about three or four poor sets at the beginning of the match,â Ferguson said. âPart of [the reason I kept him in there] was his passing. But Maddisonâs still trying to find his way.â
Heâs not alone. The Trojans are searching for their way as well.