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USC Men's Volleyball Defeats No.11 UC Santa Barbara 3-2 in 2022 Season Opener

Jan 6, 2022

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--Sam Kobrine had 18 kills while hitting .200 to help the USC men's volleyball team claim their first victory of the 2022 season with a 3-2 upset win (19-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-8) over No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on Thursday (Jan. 6) in UCSB's Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. 
The Trojans are now 1-0 overall on the season, while the Gauchos begin their 2022 campaign with a 0-1 record. 
This is the sixth season in a row that the Trojans have opened with a victory. 
This non-conference match was the first of two matches that will be played in the 2022 Asics Invitational hosted by UC Santa Barbara. Due to health and safety protocols affecting UC San Diego, the Trojans will now challenge the Gauchos again tomorrow (Jan. 7) at 3 p.m. PT in Santa Barbara, Calif. Additionally, USC head coach Jeff Nygaard was not in attendance this afternoon due to health and safety protocols. 
Kobrine's 18 kills set a new career-high (previously 14 at while playing at UCLA). Simon Gallas added 17 kills and 3 blocks for USC, while Liam Schroeder and Brandon Browning each tallied 10 kills and hit .833 and .500 respectively. Schroeder also collected 4 blocks. 
For UC Santa Barbara, Haotian Xia collected 21 kills hitting .349, while Ryan Wilcox added 18 kills hitting .342.
As a team, USC collected 61 kills (.328) compared to UC Santa Barbara's 52 (.333). The Trojans also scored 8 aces throughout the match to UC Santa Barbara's 5.
In the first set, the Trojans and the Gauchos exchanged points back and forth until 10-10, but then the Gauchos pulled ahead 16-11. UC Santa Barbara maintained their lead through the end of the set winning 25-19. 
UC Santa Barbara took a 12-7 lead in the second set, but the Trojans battled back to 18-21 where they then went on a 7-0 point run led by Kobrine to claim the lead at 24-21 and ultimately won the set 25-22. 
The third set remained close in the beginning, then the Gauchos jumped ahead with a 16-11 lead. They maintained control of the set to win 25-17. 
USC went on another 5-0 scoring run in the fourth set to take a 16-11 lead. Although the Gauchos fought back, USC continued to dominate from the pins and won the set 25-23. 
Holding the momentum entering the decisive fifth set, USC was efficient out of the middle with kills from Schroeder to take a 5-2 lead. The Gauchos closed the gap at 7-7, but Kobrine and Gallas continued to shine for the Trojans and helped then win the set 15-8 and claim the match.