USC Loses to UC Irvine in Men's Volleyball Championship
The USC Men's Volleyball team lost in straight sets Saturday night against UC Irvine in the 2012 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship. The Anteaters won 25-22, 34-32 and 26-24.
It was a rematch for the title after the Trojans lost to the Anteaters in the 2009 NCAA final. The Trojans also lost two of three meetings with UC Irvine this season, most recently in the MPSF Semifinals.
In a press conference after the game, Head Coach Bill Ferguson said all three sets should have gone on for longer, with two different sets going to deuce, but the second-set proved to be an epic battle. With 11 set points in the second set, the Galen Center heard the loudest fans this year.
The Trojans were lead by great talent, including AVCA Freshman of the Year Micah Christenson and AVCA Player of the Year Tony Ciarelli. Ciarelli was also named to the 2012 NCAA All-Tournament Team, but the senior outside hitter was upset that Christenson was not named also along with him by the NCAA.
UC Irvines's Carson Clark was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and his performance Saturday proved that. Clark lead the Anteaters with 22 kills and 25.5 points. USC's Tony Ciarelli lead for the Trojans with 18 kills and 20 points.
After the game, Tony Ciarelli admitted that "it was clear that UCI was the better team." Although the Trojans were able to stick to their plan and stop UC Irvine's Kevin Tillie, the Trojans had a tough time against the Anteater's Connor Hughes and Carson Clark up front.
The Trojans had a great showing by Tanner Jansen with ten kills, Steven Mochalski with seven and Steven Shandrick with six. The Trojans out served the Anteaters with .899, although their .297 attack percentage was not enough compared to UCI's .320.
Despite the tough loss, Ferguson said he is "incredibly proud" of the USC team and is happy with the season.