Volleyball deserves more fan support

The USC men’s volleyball team, has a rich tradition of success, including four NCAA championships and 12 Final Four appearances.

Over the last couple years, USC coach Bill Ferguson has directed the USC men’s volleyball team back to the top of the collegiate volleyball hierarchy; his teams have been synonymous with the word “success.”

In just his first year coaching in 2007, Ferguson guided USC to its best season since 2001. Two years ago, he led the team to the NCAA championship game. And this year, the Trojans (19-2, 18-2) are off to their best start since 1994 and have already clinched the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.

But as the team has grown increasingly dominant, student support has simultaneously been shrinking.

As good as the volleyball team has been, it’s unfortunate that not many students show their faces inside the Galen Center for home games.

There is definitely a ton of cardinal out there, but it’s not fans — it’s empty seats.

And you know it’s not good when you start getting emails from USC athletics advertising that the first 500 fans get something free just to come out to the match.

Yes, volleyball might not get the same national media attention as basketball or football, but I’d argue it’s just as exciting.

Who doesn’t want to see Murphy Troy six-pack an opposing player?

Even when the men’s basketball team was hit with sanctions a year ago and banned from playing in the postseason, students decked out in Trojan Fever shirts filled the entire student section as if they were playing for something. And no matter how bad this season’s losses to teams like Rider, Cal and Oregon were, the men’s basketball team still had support from the student body.

The USC men’s volleyball team is just as exciting and features one of the most dominant players in collegiate volleyball in senior opposite Murphy Troy.

Troy, a contender for National Player of the Year, has already etched his name into the USC record books, compiling 1,812 kills, 133 aces and 31 matches with 20-plus kills. All of these are USC scoring-rally era records.

Alongside Troy, the Trojans boast one of the more accomplished senior classes in USC volleyball history including, senior setter Riley McKibbin, senior outside hitter Tri Bourne and senior middle blocker Austin Zahn.

This year, USC is poised to make a deep run into the NCAA tournament and challenge for  the NCAA title.

And even though this core group will be leaving, next year holds even more promise for the Trojans.

Ferguson has managed to bring in a recruiting class featuring Micah Christenson, a 6-foot-5 setter from Hawaii, Cristian Rivera, a 6-foot-6 outside hitter from Puerto Rico, and Robert Feathers, a 6-foot-8 middle blocker from Loyola High in Los Angeles.

All three have distinguished resumés, and along with these three newcomers, USC will also bring back junior outside hitter Tony Ciarelli and junior middle blocker Steven Shandrick.

Nobody has a problem supporting the men’s basketball team, even when times are tough, so all I ask is that you take a trip down to the Galen Center when the USC men’s volleyball team is playing.

In an all-important matchup against crosstown rival UCLA tonight, you can give the Trojans that homecourt advantage.

You’ll be watching a group of men just as talented — and arguably more exciting to watch — and you won’t regret it.


“In the Zone” runs Thursdays. To comment on this article visit dailytrojan.com or email Trevor at trevor.wong@usc.edu.

2 replies
  1. JHM
    JHM says:

    Saw the Trojans decimate the Bruins in three straight on Thursday. Brought a fellow alum and his wife to their first game ever at Galen but were thoroughly disappointed with the lack of student support. C’mon. I know it was Thursday night but we’re talking about the NUMBER ONE team in the country with a great chance to beat on their cross-town rivals.

  2. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    You forgot to mention Henry Cassidy, the starting libero who is only a freshman will be back next year. Add Tanner Jantzen a redshirt freshman who subbed for Murphy Troy one game when he had the flu, and played real well. Also, Madison McKibbin a soph who is the younger brother of Riley, and left handed will make a strong bid for a starting spot on the outside.

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