Men’s volleyball comes back to defeat Concordia

Redshirt senior outside hitter Jack Wyett blocks a Pepperdine opposite hitter in a win at Galen Center on March 2. (Feitong Du/Daily Trojan)

No. 11 USC men’s volleyball took down Concordia in a 3-1 win Saturday night in USC’s North Gym.

Senior outside hitter Ryan Moss lead the offense with 18 kills and  a .412 hitting percentage while redshirt senior outside hitter Jack Wyett added 14 kills, hitting .500. Moss collected nine digs and seniors libero Matt Douglas and outside hitter Gianluca Grasso added seven apiece to anchor the defense.

The victory marks USC’s third win over Concordia this season, having beaten the Eagles twice before, at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Warrior Classic in Honolulu in January and on Concordia’s home court in Irvine in February.

The Eagles (10-14, 1-6 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) came hot out of the gate, scoring 6 consecutive points to secure a 6-1 lead in the first set of the match. Aided by service errors by USC (12-8, 4-4 MPSF), Concordia maintained its lead the entire set for a 21-25 finish.

“We rebounded really well from a slow start,” Moss said. “That’s the first time we’ve lost that first set like that at home in a while, so it was kind of the opposite of how our matches have been going.”

The roles reversed in the second set as USC scored 6 consecutive points to set the score at 10-5. Although Concordia began to close in on USC’s lead, the Trojans pulled ahead once more to win the set 25-17.

The third set stayed tight with neither team dominating through 14 tie scores. Once the Trojans took an 18-16 lead, the Eagles couldn’t bring their score back up, and USC ran with its lead to a 25-21 set finish.

The Trojans steadily built their lead in the fourth set until the Eagles could no longer keep up. USC finished strong with a 25-20 set to ultimately win the match.

“I thought we showed good fight and poise and won the next three sets pretty controllably, so it was good to see us come back from a first set loss like that,” Moss said.

Redshirt junior outside hitter Barsemian led the Eagles with 13 kills and 9 digs. Redshirt junior Jordan Hoppe and redshirt sophomore Zachary Meyer had 8 kills each, with 9 and 3 digs, respectively. Hoppe put up 3 service aces on the night.

Moss said the Trojans can improve by working to make their serves and passes cleaner right from the start, having a greater sense of urgency on defense and playing with more fight from the start of the game.

The match was played in USC’s North Gym, rather than the Trojans’ usual home court at Galen Center due to a scheduling conflict. Moss said the unexpected change in location affected the team’s focus throughout the match.

“Since we were in the North Gym, a lot of guys on our team hadn’t been in there before,” Moss said. “But our senior class had — and a couple of the juniors — so we were just focused on controlling that environment. The ball can be played off the ceiling or the basketball hoops so we had to make sure we were steady throughout and didn’t let those factors affect our game.”

The Trojans remain at home to host  defending national champion No. 1 Long Beach State Saturday at 7 p.m. in USC’s North Gym.