LA JOLLA, Calif. - Fifth-ranked USC hit .487 and held a commanding blocking advantage at the net in a 3-0 win over UC San Diego in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men’s volleyball match at RIMAC Arena on Friday night. Scores were 25-13, 25-21, 25-15.
A short-handed UCSD (0-12, 0-11 MPSF) managed just two block assists for 1.0 total team block, to 13.5 by the visitors.
USC, coming off of a 3-2 loss at ninth-ranked two-time defending national champion UC Irvine on Thursday night, improved to 7-5 overall and 6-5 in league play. The Trojans had previously beaten the Tritons, also 3-0, at their own Galen Center in this season’s first meeting back on Jan. 10, after UCSD had posted the first season sweep of USC in program history a year ago, including a first-ever straight-set defeat of the Trojans in the previous match-up inside RIMAC Arena on Jan. 10, 2013.
UCSD produced the first two points of the night on a service error and then its one and only combination block, turned in by senior Mike Brunsting (Poway/Francis Parker School) and freshman middle Shayne Beamer in his first collegiate start.
The Trojans tallied the next three points, and despite three subsequent Brunsting kills, used a four-point run on their way to eventually taking an 11-5 lead and forcing the contest’s first timeout.
The second set that saw 11 tie scores and four lead changes was still in UCSD’s favor at 17-14 when USC went on a 5-0 run and wrestled the upper hand. Another kill by Brunsting and a Trojan attack error knotted the score one final time at 19-19 as USC called for time before collecting the next three point. Ahead by only one at 22-21 after Triton freshman Ian Colbert’s service ace, the Trojans scored the next three.
A six-point run put USC firmly in control of the third game at 13-5.
Brunsting finished with a season-high 12 kills, two assists, one ace, six digs and the one block. Sophomores Kirill Rudenko and Eric Barber each managed career bests with eight and seven kills, respectively, off the bench. Rudenko hit .462 (8-2-13) and added a career-high three digs. Sophomore libero Elliott Shaw had a team-high eight digs and junior setter Garrett Dempsey dished out 30 assists.
Tanner Jansen (13), Lucas Yoder (12) and Tommy Leonard (10) also reached double figures in kills for USC. Michael Mullahey had 35 assists and seven digs. Maddison McKibbin got to a match-high 11 digs.
USC had one triple block early in the first set, by McKibbin, Mullahey and Andy Benesh.
UCSD remains at home to host No. 3 Pepperdine on Saturday, Feb. 15. First serve at RIMAC Arena is set for 7 p.m.