Match No. 25
No. 11 UCSD (8-16, 6-13) at No. 1 USC (18-4, 14-4)
Thursday, April 5 • 7 p.m. (PT)
Galen Center • Los Angeles, Calif.
Match No. 26
No. 11 UCSD at No. 6 Pepperdine (13-11, 8-10)
Saturday, April 7 • 7 p.m. (PT)
Firestone Fieldhouse • Malibu, Calif.
All-time series vs. USC: USC leads 37-6
First Meeting: 1/14/89 (USC 2-0)
Last Meeting: 1/28/12 (USC 3-0)
Last UCSD Win: 3/6/09 (3-1)
Current UCSD Streak: Lost 6
All-time series vs. Pepperdine: PEPP leads 39-3
First Meeting: 1/17/89 (PEPP 3-1)
Last Meeting: 1/27/12 (PEPP 3-2)
Last UCSD Win: 3/12/11 (3-2)
Current UCSD Streak: Lost 1
We’ve Got You Covered
If you can't make it to the Galen Center or Firestone Fieldhouse this week, both matches will be covered by live video and live stats. For the USC match, access the coverage at http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-volley/sched/usc-m-volley-sched.html. For the Pepperdine match, go to http://www.pepperdinesports.com/sports/m-volley/sched/pepp-m-volley-sched.html.
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UCSD Wins Five Straight for First Time Since 1990
With victories at home over UCLA and UCSB last week, UC San Diego has now won five consecutive matches. The string started on Mar. 9 at UC Santa Barbara (3-1) and continued at Long Beach State (Mar. 15, 3-2) and at Cal State Northridge (Mar. 16, 3-1). The last time the Tritons won five straight was back in 1990, prior to joining the MPSF. In fact, UCSD had a pair of five-match win streaks that year. The first went from Mar. 29 until Apr. 6 (two vs. UC Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Menlo, La Verne). Following a loss against Long Beach State, the team won its next five between Apr. 18 and Apr. 28 (La Verne, two vs. Santa Clara, Menlo, UC Santa Cruz) to close out the season.
In the Hunt
The hunt to secure a spot in the eight-team MPSF Tournament has turned into a barn-burner. So far, five teams have clinched a berth including BYU, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA and USC. The remaining seven teams are still alive in the race for a spot. Each team will play a total of 22 regular season league matches. Currently, Long Beach State and Pepperdine are tied at 8-10. Cal State Northridge and UC San Diego are next with six wins apiece, CSUN at 6-12 and UCSD at 6-13. Pacific is 4-14, Hawaii is 4-16 and UC Santa Barbara sits in last place at 3-15.
Lennon Named National Player of the Week
Outside hitter Vaun Lennon was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Tuesday. On Monday, he was tabbed the MPSF Player of the Week. On Saturday, Mar. 31, Lennon posted a career-high .632 attack percentage with 13 kills, two aces and six digs in a sweep over No. 15 UCSB at RIMAC Arena. The previous night, he hit .333 with 12 kills, an ace and nine digs in a four-set upset over No. 3 UCLA. For the week, Lennon hit .465 and averaged 3.57 kills per set, 2.14 digs per set and 4.14 points per set. He has has totaled 12 or more kills and at least 13.5 points in four of his last five matches. Lennon is the third AVCA National Player of the Week to come out of UC San Diego. Jason Spangler was honored in 2008 and Donald Chen earned the title in 2000. He is also the third Triton to be named the league's player of the week as Spangler won the award in 2008 and Eric Mai garnered the accolade in 1997.
Tritons Continue Roll with Two Huge MPSF Wins
UCSD kept itself in good position in the MPSF playoff race with two league wins at home last week. On Friday, the Tritons upset No. 3 UCLA in four sets and followed that with a sweep over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara the next night. The victories gave the team five straight wins for the first time since the 1990 season.
Against UCLA, scores went 25-20, 25-21, 21-25 and 25-21. The Tritons put forth solid efforts on both offense and defense. They out-hit the Bruins .248 to .186 and collected 52 kills to UCLA's 42. They also held a 10-dig advantage, totaling 42 scoops to the Bruins' 32. UCSD libero Chase Frishman accounted for 19 of the digs, a new career-high. Outside hitter Vaun Lennon had 12 kills, hit .333 and added a service ace, nine digs and a block for UC San Diego. Fellow outside Carl Eberts led all players with 16 kills and Johl Awerkamp finished with 13 kills, an ace, three digs and three blocks. In the middle, sophomore Sebastian Brady hit .636 with eight kills and just one error in 11 attacks. It was UCSD's fourth win in the last five matches vs. UCLA at RIMAC Arena.
Scores were 25-21, 25-18 and 25-17 against UCSB. The Tritons hit .420 with 47 kills and 10 errors in 88 attacks. It was the team's highest attack percentage since swinging at .477 (50-8-88) in a sweep at Stanford on Feb. 11, 2011. UCSD out-blocked Santa Barbara 11 to 4.5 and held the Gauchos to a paltry .158 (35-20-95) attack. The Tritons sided-out 73% of the time, converted more than 50% of their sets and held a .905 serving percentage, committing just seven errors in 74 attempts from the line. Individually, Vaun Lennon set a new career-high by hitting .632 with 13 kills and only one error in 19 attacks. He had both of UCSD's service aces, dug six balls and finished with 15.5 points. Carl Eberts led all players with 16 kills and 19.5 points. He hit .393 (16-5-28) while adding six digs and five blocks. For the 10th straight match, Johl Awerkamp recorded a double-digit kill total with 13. Fred Stahl had six blocks and setter Garrett Dempsey amassed 37 assists in 68 sets. On the defensive side, Chase Frishman had a match-high 17 digs.
USC took over the No. 1 spot in this week's national rankings by virtue of its 13-match win streak. The Trojans wrap up their regular season home slate this week by hosting UCSD Thursday and UC Irvine Saturday. In the MPSF, Robert Feathers ranks first in blocks (1.66/set), Tony Ciarelli is second in aces (.48/set), fourth in points (4.75/set) and fifth in kills (3.89/set), Steven Shandrick is third in hitting percentage (.455) and Micah Christenson ranks fourth in assists (10.96/set). Collectively, the Trojans are first in opponent hitting percentage (.191), second in blocks (3.18/set), third in digs (8.84/set), fifth in hitting (.296), assists (12.05/set) and aces (1.13/set) and sixth in kills (12.88/set).
Sixth-ranked Pepperdine also wraps up its regular season home slate this week with UC Irvine Thursday and UCSD Saturday. Last week, the Waves played two five-set matches, losing to Stanford and defeating Pacific. In the league, Matt West ranks second in assists (11.36/set), Maurice Torres is second in points (4.83/set), third in kills (4.04/set) and seventh in aces (.40/set) and Matt Pollock is fourth in hitting percentage (.454) and sixth in blocks (1.20/set). As a team, Pepperdine ranks third in assists (12.37/set), fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.274), kills (12.92/set) and blocks (2.54/set), sixth in hitting (.294) and 10th in aces (.84/set) and digs (7.93/set).
Pacing the Offense
Either Carl Eberts or Johl Awerkamp has led the Tritons in kills in nine of the team's last 10 matches. Eberts, who has posted team-high kill totals in the last four contests, has led the team 10 times and Awerkamp four, despite playing in just 12 matches. Awerkamp has totaled double-digit kill totals in ten consecutive matches, which includes a career-best 19 vs. Long Beach State on Feb. 25.
Junior libero Chase Frishman has recorded 10 or more digs in his last three matches. He had 15 at Cal State Northridge on Mar. 16, tallied a career-high 19 vs. UCLA on Mar. 30 and followed that with 17 more in a sweep over UC Santa Barbara the next night. Frishman has totaled 10 or more digs six times this season and needs 81 more for 500 in his career.
UCSD moved up from 13th to 11th in this week's AVCA national poll, its highest ranking of the season. The last time the Tritons were ranked as high was in the Apr. 11, 2011 poll, when they were also 11th.
In the MPSF
As a team, UCSD ranks fifth in digs (8.70/set), seventh in aces (.91/set), ninth in assists (11.53/set) and kills (12.32/set), 10th in opponent hitting (.286), 11th in hitting (.218) and 12th in blocks (2.06/set). Individually, Chase Frishman ranks fifth in digs (2.23/set), Fred Stahl is 11th in blocks (1.00/set), Garrett Dempsey is 13th in assists (7.60/set), Mike Brunsting is 14th in assists (7.12/set) and Carl Eberts is 15th in kills (3.14/set) and points (3.73/set).
USC to Host NCAA Final Four
USC will play host to the 2012 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The semifinals will be held on May 3rd at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and the national title match will be on May 5th at 7 p.m. For tickets, go to http://www.GetTrojanTix.com and click on the Championship Events link. For complete information on the Championships, visit http://www.ncaa.com/championships/volleyball-men/d1.
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