Trojans to face Pepperdine at home

The No. 6 USC Trojans men’s volleyball team is gearing up to play No. 10 Pepperdine at home tonight after a stunning loss at the hands of UCLA last week at the Galen Center.

“Any time you lose a match it’s no good. And losing to a rival is less good,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “Even though I’ve seen us go 9-4 against them so far, maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s a wake-up call. We’ve had really good practices with a motivated group of guys.”

Whether it be a result of film studies, on-court drills or weights, the Trojans have showed a refreshed intensity in their practices this week.

“We’re a young team, and it seems like we didn’t realize how good our competition would be,” said senior outside hitter and co-captain Tony Ciarelli. “We realized we need to work harder.”

Pepperdine lost key starters from last year’s squad and is looking to re-establish itself with young, top-tier talent in a manner similar to USC.

Key to the Waves’ attack are junior opposite Maurice Torres and freshman outside hitter Josh Taylor. They are third and eighth in kills in the conference, respectively, with 4.02 and 3.53 per set.

“They’re similar to us in makeup with a couple of upperclassmen and some young guys with a lot of promise,” Ferguson said. “But they’re much bigger physically than us. They focus on hitting, serving and blocking. We have to limit what they do offensively to be successful.”

The clash of styles plays well for the Trojans as their defense has been consistently strong as a unit. They are ranked first in the conference with 9.13 digs per set and second in the conference in opponent hitting percentage  (.214).

“We have to control the ball and serve tough,” Ferguson said. “We have to grind out our points.”

Both teams have played UC Santa Barbara this year with vastly different results. Pepperdine lost 3-1 while the Trojans swept the Gauchos.

“Those couple of losses really humbled us,” said senior middle blocker and co-captain Steven Shandrick. “But any loss is motivation. We can’t get complacent.”

2 replies
  1. trojanelli
    trojanelli says:

    I agree with Stanley Cheng. Our Mens Volley team is very talented. I believe they were a bit “OVER CONFIDENT” AGAINST the bruins. Coach Skates had his boys playing well. They want him to go out a winner in his swan song year. We played well in parts, but made way too many mistakes.

    I believe we will come out and smoke Pep tonight. Our youth will mature and our chemistry will improve.
    Remember we took BYU to 4 games……and then and then the next night at altitude again…. to 5 games, losing 15-13 in game 5 at PROVO.

    Then we gave away a game with set point v. ucla .
    Byu & UCI were #1 &#2 respectively when we played them. We had a chance to beat uci in two of the sets.

    We have to serve better [limit needless service errors.]…..continue to anticipate blocks and hit around them or at the right angle, and BLOCK like we are capable of doing. I thought Ucla beat us on kills from the middle
    way too often. #6 Dunlap?? really hurt us.

    I believe we should set our MB’s more often. We have depth, we lack experience, and sometimes chemistry.

    Keep the Faith Trojans!! This team has what it takes to win it all.
    The Final Four is at Galen. We need to peak going into the MPSF.

    Come out and support these great players and coaches as we show the waves of Pep how its done.

    Fight On!

  2. Stanley Cheng
    Stanley Cheng says:

    This one loss to that school across town should not harm the team. I see it as motivation. Just look at the female counterpart of that team (Women’s Volleyball). It took one messy game against that other school in front of a huge crowd and I wasn’t disappointed at a home game ever again. I even went across town the day before the utter dominance by the football team to witness the women’s win over the baby blue. I want to see the same out of the Men’s team. Fight on!

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