No. 10 USC Men’s Volleyball Wins Five-Set Battle Against No. 14 UC Irvine
IRVINE, Calif.--Sam Kobrine had 22 kills while hitting .583 to help the No. 10 ranked USC men's volleyball team defeat UC Irvine 3-2 (29-27, 30-32, 25-13, 22-25, 15-10) at the Bren Center in Irvine, Calif. on Friday (Jan. 28).
USC improves to 7-1 on the 2022 season, while the Anteaters drop to 3-5 overall.
It was a record setting night for many Trojans. Kobrine's 22 kills were a career high for the graduate student (his previous high was 18 kills versus UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 6). This was also his best hitting percentage of the 2022 season. He also collected 5 digs, 4 blocks, 1 ace and 1 assist.
Redshirt sophomore Simon Gallas added on 19 kills of his own (.262) and tallied 9 digs (a career-high), 4 aces (a season-high), 1 block and 1 assist. Junior Lucas Frassrand notched 13 kills (a career-high) hitting .733 (a season-high) and added 4 blocks, 2 aces and 1 dig.
For the Anteaters, Francesco Sani collected 19 kills hitting .229, while Hilir Henno added 18 kills hitting .306.
As a team, USC hit .398 compared to UC Irvine's .336.
The Anteaters jumped to an early 6-12 lead to start the first set. The Trojans continued to battle and push points, but there was a significant energy shift on the USC side of the net after Sam Kobrine scored on a change-up shot for a kill to put the Trojans within two at 17-19. After coming back from a timeout called by UCI, the Trojans tied up the score at 22-22. The two teams would exchange points back and forth in a nail biter of a set, but USC had the final word claiming the first set 29-27.
The second set was just as exciting as the first. Once again, the Anteaters started fast with a 5-3 lead, but the Trojans tied up the set at 9-9 with a high-line roll shot from Kobrine. USC and UCI went back and forth the remainder of the set, highlighted by exciting plays like a massive solo block from Chris Hall and an ace from Brandon Browning. After going extra points once again, the Anteaters scored the final two points to win the set 32-30 and tie up the match at 1-1.
In the third set, USC immediately took a 7-3 lead, and the team never let up. Kobrine was outstanding in all facets of the game to lead the Trojans to a decisive 25-13 victory in the third set.
Although USC had a 10-8 lead to start the fourth set, the Anteaters chipped away at the Trojans to push ahead at 12-11. From that moment on, UC Irvine held the momentum. USC continued to battle but the Anteaters won the fourth set 25-22 to force a fifth set.
USC was locked in for the fifth set and sprinted to a 7-4 lead. Just past the midway point of the set, Hall picked up a tip and Kobrine used his setting skills to set up Gallas to score for the Trojans to increase their lead to 11-7. USC looked confident playing its brand of volleyball in the fifth set and was able to decisively win with a 15-10 score to take the match.
Up next, USC returns home to challenge UC San Diego on Wednesday (Feb. 2) at 7 p.m. PT in the Galen Center. The match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.