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No. 12 USC Men's Volleyball Upsets No. 3 Penn State Behind Simon Gallas' Career-High 30 Kills

Jan 21, 2022

Simon Gallas had a career-high 30 kills—the fourth most kills in a match by a Trojan in the rally scoring era—to lead the No. 12 USC men's volleyball team to a 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16 upset over No. 3 Penn State on Friday (Jan. 21) on the opening night of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.
USC improved to 5-0 overall in 2022.  The Trojans, who already have tied their win total from all of last season (5), are off to their best start since the 2015 squad won its first 7 matches.
Penn State suffered its first loss of 2022 in dropping to 4-1.
USC returns to action on Saturday (Jan. 22) at 5 p.m. PT in Pauley Pavilion to face No. 11 Ohio State (3-1) on the second night of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge.  Admission is free and open to the public.  The Buckeyes fell to host No. 2 UCLA in 5 sets on Friday.  The Penn State-UCLA match follows at 7:30 p.m. PT on Saturday.
The only Trojans with more kills than Gallas in a match during the rally scoring era, which began in 2001, were record-holder Brook Billings (36 versus Pacific in 2002), Lucas Yoder (33 versus Penn State in 2017) and Billy Fauntleroy (31 vs. Grand Canyon in 2020). 
Gallas hit .583 in the match (with only 2 errors on 48 attempts) and he added 6 digs and 2 blocks.  Teammate Sam Kobrine, a graduate transfer from UCLA who was playing in Pauley Pavilion for the first time since his Bruin days, had 11 kills, 5 digs and 2 aces.  Lucas Frassrand had a match-best 4 blocks along with 4 kills and 4 digs, Chris Hall had a team-best 9 digs to go with 47 assists, 3 blocks, 2 kills and an ace, Brandon Browning had 5 kills and 5 digs, Liam Schroeder had 5 kills, 3 blocks and 2 aces and Cole Paxson had 7 digs.
For Penn State, Cal Fisher had 20 kills and 10 digs, Brett Wildman had 11 kills and 6 digs, Cole Bogner had 8 digs and 3 blocks to go with 44 assists and Sam Marsh had 8 kills while hitting .500.
USC hit .402 in the match to Penn State's .278.  The Trojans had more blocks (7.0 to 4.0), digs (40 to 37) and aces (6 to 5).
The first set stayed tight throughout until USC scored the final 3 points on consecutive kills by Schroeder and Gallas and then a Penn State hitting error (the Trojans hit .391 in the set to PSU's .208).
The Trojans fell behind early in the second set, 5-2, but they tied it at 10-10 and then used a Frassrand kill followed by back-to-back combo blocks by Frassrand and Hall to go up 15-13 only to see the Nittany Lions run off the next 3 points to regain the lead at 16-15.  The set then seesawed until a PSU setting error followed by a Gallas kill gave the final 2 points to USC, which hit .400 in the set with 3 blocks.
In the third set, Troy trailed 5-2 again, but soon after ran off 3 straight points to move ahead 10-9 only to see Penn State run off 6 of the next 7 points to build a 15-11 lead.  USC, fueled by aces from Kobrine and Schroeder, then crept back to within 16-15 but could get no closer despite hitting .400 in the set and serving 4 aces as the Nittany Lions hit .519.
USC scored the first 2 points of the fourth set and increased the lead to 5-1, but Penn State tied it at 6-6 only to have the Trojans soon after tally 6 out of 7 points to build an insurmountable 14-9 edge.  The Trojans hit .414 in the set to PSU's .097.