USC Men's Volleyball Falls To Pepperdine In MPSF Tourney Semis
Jaylen Jasper had 24 kills to help the No. 8-ranked Pepperdine men's volleyball team upset No. 5 USC, 25-23, 28-26, 20-25, 27-25, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament semifinal match on Thursday (April 21) at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.
The Trojans, seeded second in the tourney, fell to 22-7 on the season and now must wait to see if they will be selected for one of two at-large berths in the upcoming NCAA Championships at Pauley Pavilion (May 1-3-5-7).
The third-seeded Waves improved to 18-9 and will now face fifth-seeded and 13th-ranked Stanford in the championship match on Saturday. The Cardinal were a 5-set upset winner in the other MPSF semifinal over top-seeded and top-ranked UCLA. An automatic berth as the MPSF representative into the NCAA tourney goes to the Pepperdine-Stanford winner.
Sam Kobrine led USC with a match-best 27 kills while hitting .465. Teammate Simon Gallas added 21 kills (hitting .368), Lucas Frassrand had 7 kills (hitting .583) and 5 blocks, Brandon Browning had 5 kills (hitting .571), Liam Schroeder had 4 kills (hitting .571) with a match-leading 6 blocks and Chris Hall had a match-best 11 digs to go with his 60 assists.
Jasper hit .425 and served 2 aces for the Waves. Teammates Alex Gettinger and Spencer Wickens added 11 kills each (with Gettinger hitting .409 and Wickens getting 6 digs), while Trey Coles also had 6 digs.
USC outhit Pepperdine, .454 to .321, and had more blocks (12.5 to 6.5) and digs (34 to 25). But the Waves served 4 aces, while Troy had none.
The first set was tied at 10-10 before USC scored the next 2 points to go up 12-10 and then built the lead to 16-13. But Pepperdine tied it at 19-19, moved ahead at 23-22 and then scored the set's final 2 points. The Trojans hit .571 in the set to Pepperdine's .500, but USC had 7 serving errors.
USC jumped out to a 6-1 start in the second set, but Pepperdine clawed back to within 8-6 before the Trojans regained control by scoring 5 of the next 6 points to go up 13-7. The Waves closed again within 2 points at 19-17 but Troy got the next 3 points (including a pair of Frassrand solo blocks) to build a 22-17 edge. Pepperdine rallied within 23-21, then scored 3 of the next 4 points to tie it at 24-24 and soon went up 26-25. The Wave got the final points on a kill followed by an ace. Again, USC outhit Pepperdine, .480 to .200, in the set, and Troy had 6.0 blocks, but the Waves served 4 aces.
USC built an 8-5 lead in the third set, but Pepperdine tied it at 11-11 and the set stayed tied until back-to-back points gave Troy a 19-17 lead that it soon extended to 21-18 and 24-19 to secure the set. USC hit .500 in the set to Pepperdine's .281.
In the fourth set, neither team could build a lead larger than 2 points early on, then at 9-9 the teams proceeded to stay within a point of each other until Pepperdine scored 2 straight points to go up 18-16. USC tied it at 20-20, the Waves scored the next 2 points, Troy got the next 2 to knot it at 22-22, then the teams exchanged points until a Wave kill followed by a block ended the match.
USC's 22 victories in 2022 are its most since getting 24 in 2012.