Trojans trounce Stanford in straight sets

first_imgThe No. 1 USC men’s volleyball team, despite its unceremonious first-round playoff exit last season, might have eradicated any doubts as to which team should headline the list of this year’s top national title contenders Thursday night.Strong effort · Senior setter Riley McKibben helped propel the Trojans to a win over the No. 5 Cardinal — the reigning NCAA champions. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan The Trojans (7-1, 7-1) embraced the opportunity to announce their arrival as NCAA men’s volleyball’s dominant power, defeating last year’s reigning national champion and historic rival Stanford.After suffering an unexpected loss to No. 11 Pepperdine in five sets last Friday on the road in Malibu, Calif., many, including the coaching staff, were curious to see how the Trojans would respond to their first dose of adversity this season.Their emphatic response was a 25-15, 25-14, 25-21 victory against No. 5 Stanford (9-4, 6-4), in which the Cardinal often looked outclassed, especially in regard to net play.“[The loss] is all we’ve been thinking about [since last Friday],” said freshman libero Henry Cassiday, who anchored the backcourt defense with 10 of the team’s 38 digs. “We wanted to come out with extra fire tonight and to bring a lot of energy to the court with us.”In the first set, both teams exhibited some nervous energy, as both squads mishit — and even whiffed — on some routine kill opportunities, and committed a fair number of service errors.Senior setter Riley McKibbin quickly reset the tone for the rest of the match with several inspired diving efforts to keep certain kills in play.The second set followed a similar progression, with senior opposite hitter Tri Bourne and senior middle blocker Austin Zahn emerging to dominate the net.Throughout the game, the Cardinal was helpless against the Trojans’ big men, only managing to register one block.In addition to trampling the Cardinal in the blocking game eight and a half to one, USC also controlled the service game.Through a quick three sets, the host Trojans hastily registered seven aces compared to zero for Stanford, while also committing four fewer service errors.With a 17-14 lead in the third set, the Stanford players and bench, sunken throughout much of the match, began to awaken, sensing a shift in momentum.The Trojans quickly quashed any Cardinal hopes on tightening the match, however, as they rattled off an 8-1 scoring streak on the strength of junior opposite hitter Tony Ciarelli’s masterful serving.“Tony was phenomenal all night,” said USC coach Bill Ferguson. “After a sub-par game against Pepperdine, I knew he was going to come out tonight with greater focus.”Also impressive was how the Trojans outwitted the Cardinal in many instances, whether they smartly chose placement over power when spiking the ball or made sound, split-second judgments as to which balls were heading in and out of bounds.“They’re always a tough group of competitors,” Bourne said. “I grew up with them, and many of them are my good friends, which makes this win so much better.”Following the game, Ferguson quickly dismissed any tactical discussion or mention of executing game plans.Instead, he wished to simply commend his team for its resiliency and readiness to move past the obvious low point of the season thus far.last_img read more

T-Time: Here’s who USC won’t hire as coach

first_imgOthers wanted Bohn to roll the dice and row the boat by hiring Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, who at the very least would turn stale press conferences into Disney Plus-level premium content (though it has been nice being able to copy and paste Helton’s phrases from week to week). But any chance of that ended when Fleck signed a contract extension last week that will keep him in the Twin Cities through 2026. “But Alicia, USC was THIS CLOSE to digging up the remains of Howard Jones, re-animating him and surrounding him with a staff from the SEC West,” tweets user kingcambie. “It was going to happen!”  Unless quarterback Russell Wilson abruptly retires to be a stay-at-home dad or Amazon buys out the Seahawks and outsources their coaching to Bangladesh, this isn’t happening. But USC fans can keep dreaming. To cope, I usually watch the first hour of ESPN 30 for 30’s “Trojan War” and drift off to sleep before the NCAA intervenes.  Trevor Denton is a senior writing about sports. He is also a former sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “T-Time,” runs every other Thursday. The other day, I was scouring Twitter for any new information on the head coaching search, and I came across this gem from a USC fan, in response to beat writer Alica de Artola, who was trying to curtail fan expectations.  First of all, Dad, if you already have the answer, then why are you asking me? And second of all, please stop. Florida Atlantic has put up a solid 23-13 record during Kiffin’s tenure, but he’s shown no signs of maturing from when he called for a 76-yard field goal as the Raiders’ head coach. He still tweets more than his own players and burns bridges at every stop.  Special thanks to the king of cambie for inspiring me to come up with this list of the most unlikely candidates to replace Helton. I can’t tell you who USC will hire, but perhaps ruling out a few names will end those recurring nightmares of Jeff Fisher leading the team out of the Coliseum tunnel. Here we go.  New athletic director Mike Bohn is officially on the clock, and that’s bad news for head football coach Clay Helton. Unless the first quarter of the Arizona State game was the only USC football Bohn has ever seen — in that case, brace yourself for a five-year extension.  Every time my dad calls me, he asks me who I think USC’s next head coach will be. Every time, I tell him I don’t know. And every time he responds, “You’re bringing back Lane Kiffin.”  USC had its chance to give Orgeron the keys to the program back in 2013 when he led the team to a 6-2 finish as interim head coach. During Orgeron’s run, which included an upset over No. 4 Stanford, then-athletic director Pat Haden said, “I had 136 pro-Coach O emails today. Those were just emails. That doesn’t count the tweets, letters and phone calls. In my day, they sent ‘em by carrier pigeon. Now, I get ‘em four or five ways.” Honestly, why not? He’s a steady presence. He has the most wins in USC history (127). He understands the program by virtue of constantly lingering around. Give the man his job back.  Let’s leave this idea on the tarmac once and for all.  The only silver lining is that, at age 68, Carroll is youthful enough to coach into his mid-90s. Maybe he’ll come back around 2040, but don’t even count on that.  Why’d he have to go, I don’t know, he wouldn’t say / Reggie did something [not even really] wrong, now I long for yesterday. Since the BYU loss, fans have speculated over USC’s next head coaching hire. Most are clamoring for Urban Meyer to ride in on his white horse, win a few national championships and retreat to CBS Sports when things inevitably go south. This would give him the coveted three rings at three different schools and three retirements at three different broadcast networks (college football’s version of the EGOT).  LSU head coach Ed Orgeron  The John McKay statue outside of the John McKay Center  And yet he ignored all of those messages — through all four or five ways they were delivered — and hired Steve Sarkisian, who, um, wasn’t really head coach material. Now Orgeron is the head coach of LSU, a job the Louisiana-born part-man-mostly-alligator was put on this earth to do. Since taking over, the Tigers have gone 28-7 and just took down No. 2 Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium over the weekend. I’d be more upset about it, but it’s hard to argue with destiny. Orgeron will be coaching the Tiguhs until the bayou dries up and Haden’s decision remains one of USC’s worst in recent history, which says a lot.  Former Rams coach Jeff Fisher  Just no. The last season Fisher led a team at the Coliseum, it finished 4-12 even though that same team had enough talent to make the Super Bowl two years later. Fisher can rest easy knowing he’ll forever go down in history … as the losingest coach in NFL history (tied with Dan Reeves at 165 losses). Fisher will be name-dropped in every USC head coaching search until the end of time, all because he played for the Trojans in the early 1980s (The Trojan Family is real! Fight On!). At least it’s impossible to go 7-9 in college football, if USC does somehow end up with Fisher.  Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll  Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin A lot is up in the air, but one thing is certain: No one knows anything yet, and it’s causing the fanbase to lose its collective mind. last_img read more