May 3 & 5 43rd Annual National Collegiate Men's Volleyball
Championship, Los Angeles, CA - USC
9pm ET : No. 1 UC Irvine def. No. 4-Penn State - streamed
live on www.NCAA.com., 3-1 (18-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19)
11pm ET : No. 2 Southern California def. No. 3 Lewis -
streamed live on www.NCAA.com/. 3-1 (25-18, 25-12, 18-25, 27-25)
10pm ET : No. 1 UC Irvine vs. No. 2 Southern California -
broadcast live on ESPNU.
May 4 USA Men's Volleyball Team Red vs. Blue Scrimmage - Long
May 7-12 NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification
Tournament - Long Beach, CA
Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic,
Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, United States
Broadcast : NBC
Sports Network , May 13 at 3-5 p.m. ET.
May 7-12 Swatch FIVB Bejing, China Women's Pro Beach
Broadcast : Universal Sports
May 8-13 Swatch FIVB Bejing, China Men's Pro Beach Volleyball
Broadcast : Universal Sports
Title match should be a battle
USC, UC Irvine no strangers to each other this season
Lee Feinswog, NCAA.com
LOS ANGELES - USC coach Bill Ferguson walked across his home court,
perhaps a bit numb after what he had just seen. His top-ranked Trojans
had survived a four-set victory against upstart Lewis to advance to
the title match of the NCAA NC Mens Volleyball Championship.
Ferguson shook his head and smiled just before shaking hands with the
Lewis team that his Trojans had escaped 25-18, 25-12, 18-25, 27-25.
Im already fat, he cracked. I dont need to go bald.
Luckily for him, he still has a full head of thick, dark hair and a
chance to finally break through and win it all after making it to the
national semifinals for the third time in four years. In 2009, USC
lost to Irvine in the championship match. Last year, the Trojans lost
in the semifinals to UC Santa Barbara.
And now they get to play the same team that ousted them from the
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation semifinals a week earlier. Again,
Saturdays match will be in the Galen Center on the campus of USC and
if Thursday nights crowd of 4,375 is any indication, Saturday night
should be something else. It was the second-largest gathering in the
building for mens volleyball this season, surpassed only by the MPSF
regular-season matchup won by USC 3-1 against Irvine on April 7.
The crowd sure seemed to energize us at the end when it seemed like
we were a bit tired, Ferguson said. We spent a lot of energy in the
initial sprint in the first two sets.
Certainly it seemed at that point the rout was on, but Lewis was
ridiculously scrappy and refused to go quietly as it made it this far
for the first time in eight years. Lewis coach Dan Friend was asked to
assess Saturdays title match.
I think its going to be a battle, for sure, Friend said. Well, if
you want me to pick a team its tough. I told Bill good luck. I really
hope he can win. Hes been here three times and it would really
awesome for them to win.
At the same time, Irvines tough. If youre going to make me pick a
team, Im going to go with Irvine. But I want USC to win. Its tough.
At this point, no one should expect anything but tough. Irvine got
past Penn State 18-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19, in the first semifinal.
This will be like the 15th time weve played them, said USC senior
outside hitter Tony Ciarelli who had a match-leading 18 kills against
Lewis while hitting .412. Its pretty unreal. And its the [third]
time this year. So it seems like we know each other pretty well. We
dont know what theyre going to do but we know what they like to do.
They know what we like to do. So I think its going to be real
exciting, because its going to be two teams that know each other and
know how to beat each other, because they beat us twice and we beat
We know how to beat them, they know how to beat us. I think its
going to be two really, really good teams going up against each other
just giving it their all. Im real e***d and I think its going to
be really good volleyball.
USC (24-5) had won 18 matches in a row before losing to Irvine. Senior
middle blocker Steve Shandrick, who had 15 kills in 20 attempts with
one error, hit a whopping .700 and had three block assists against
Lewis, said in the last set the Trojans got back to the mindset they
had during their winning streak.
After winning the first two sets easily, we made a lot of errors on
our side, Shandrick said. I dont think we made a lot of smart plays
when the ball went out of system. I think we could have done a better
job with that. Also the energy was a factor and we didnt bring it so
we had to make some changes. All in all we got off to a better start
in the fourth and we were more fired up and we were feeding off that
energy from the crowd.
USC made two personnel adjustments, bringing in junior Maddison
McKibben in on two occasions in the last two sets, the first as an
outside and then as an opposite to get better blocking on the right
side. Ferguson also used junior Jeff Carlson as a server and while he
didnt get any aces, seemed to give his team a spark, including
serving tough late in the match when it was delayed after a line judge
went down with an injury.
Ciarelli said the Trojans made it a point to pull together after every
play and pump each other up the suggestion of USC assistant coach Jeff
Nygaard, the former Olympian.
After every point we were in the middle, talking and kind of re-
setting, Ciarelli said, and I think we need to get back to that a
little more to stay more consistent.
The most consistent in that fourth set was Shandrick, who had five
kills in seven attempts despite having his only hitting error of the
We were loving it and having a good time and getting back to our
roots, not really thinking about the semifinal game we were in or the
implications of whether we were to win or lose, Shandrick said. We
just played volleyball and had a blast doing it and thinking less and
playing more is why we won that fourth game.