With the victory in their first home match of the 2013 season, the Tritons evened their overall record at 2-2 while moving to 1-0 in the MPSF. It was UCSD's first-ever three-set sweep over the Trojans among seven wins all-time in 45 meetings. Contesting its first match of the year, USC dropped to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The result snapped a string of seven straight losses for UCSD against USC, dating back to a 3-1 win, also in La Jolla, on March 6, 2009. The Tritons have now knocked off two top-eight opponents during the first week of the new season, having upset then-fifth-ranked Lewis to begin the UCSB Asics Invitational last Friday morning.
Senior outside hitter Carl Eberts led all players with 16 kills on the night, hitting at a .414 clip with four errors on 29 swings. The Huntington Beach native also added a match-high nine digs and five total blocks.
In his first start of 2013, junior middle blocker Fred Stahl provided a lift at the net, getting his hands to six total blocks to equal the match high. Outside hitters Vaun Lennon and Cheyne Hayes had nine kills apiece while sophomore setter Garrett Dempsey produced 29 assists and eight digs.
Freshman outside hitter Alex Slaught led USC with nine kills. Trojan setter Micah Christenson, the 2012 MPSF Freshman of the Year, compiled 24 assists, three digs, three blocks and one service ace.
The Tritons looked to be in control midway through the first set, using a run of five points to turn an 8-7 deficit into a 12-8 advantage, with four of those points served by Lennon. They later went up by as many as seven at 19-12 on a Lennon kill. USC rallied to tie it at 21-21, prompting eighth-year Triton head coach Kevin Ring to call his second and final timeout. Christenson served the ball into the net coming out of the break, and Lennon followed with an ace. An Eberts kill pushed UCSD to set point, with Stahl ending it moments later.
Each of the next two sets featured 11 tie scores, yet UCSD prevailed in the end in both. An Eberts attack closed out the second set, with Lennon sending the Triton fans home happy and early with a kill off a Mike Brunsting feed in the third. The Tritons trailed by as many as four in the final frame, 15-11, and 19-18 late, but rolled off six successive points to send the Trojans to the brink at 24-19.
UCSD continues a three-match homestand this Saturday, Jan. 12, with a matinee against No. 4 Pepperdine (0-1, 0-1 MPSF). First serve is set for 1 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.
Triton Notes: Previous Triton wins over USC came in 1997 (3-2 in La Jolla), 2003 (3-2 in Los Angeles), 2004 (3-1 in Los Angeles), 2005 (3-1 in La Jolla), 2007 (3-1 in Los Angeles) and 2009 (3-1 in La Jolla) ... UCSD swept its highest-ranked opponent since a 3-0 triumph at No. 5 UCLA on April 1, 2011 ... The Tritons have now won eight of their last 13 matches going back to the end of the 2012 season, including a first-ever five-match MPSF win streak from March 9-31 and upsets of No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Lewis, No. 8 USC, No. 9 Long Beach State, No. 12 UC Santa Barbara and No. 13 Cal State Northridge ... With 16 more kills tonight, Carl Eberts upped his career total to 805, and needs 195 to become just the fifth player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau ... The performance marked Eberts' 42nd career match with a double-digit kills total and third in four outings this year ... Senior libero Chase Frishman was back on the court after leaving the UCLA match through injury following the first set and missing the Long Beach State contest ... To open the 2013 campaign, UCSD has faced, in order, No. 5 Lewis, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Long Beach State and No. 8 USC, with No. 4 Pepperdine up next on Saturday afternoon.
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