#12 USC Rolls Straight Through George Mason On 14 Grasso Kills

  0 Carly DeMarque | March 15th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, EIVA, MPSF, News

Match Stats

  • #12 USC def. George Mason 3-0, (25-17, 25-23, 25-17)
  • USC improves to 8-12
  • George Mason falls to 8-11
  • Hosted by USC
  • Match results

#12 USC was able to take down George Mason in three sets in a non-conference match up with Gianluca Grasso leading the way with 14 kills on a .550 hitting percentage.

Overall as a team, USC hit for .453 while George Mason only hit for .275.

The first and third sets were a breeze for the Trojans, while the second was more of a back and forth battle to lead to a USC victory.

Leading USC was Grasso with 14 kills, while Connor Inlow was able to add eight kills on a high .778 hitting percentage. Gert Lisha was able to dish would 35 of the 37 assists for the Trojans. Andy Benesh was able to put down a match-best three aces.

For George Mason, Graham Gresham put down 12 kills while Brian Negron handed out 28 assists.

Press Release

Courtesy of USC Athletics

Gianluca Grasso had 14 kills on the night (hitting .550) as the No. 12 USC men’s volleyball team swept the George Mason Patriots in three sets, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17 in a non-conference match on Monday night (March 13) in USC’s North Gym.

The Trojans improved to 8-12 overall with their second sweep in a row after upsetting previously ranked No. 5 Lewis last Thursday (March 9).

As a team, USC hit .453 while sophomore middle blocker Connor Inlow scored eight kills (hitting .778) and his counterpart senior captain and middle blocker Andy Benesh tallied four kills (hitting .667). Freshman opposite Lucas Lossone also notched seven kills from the pin (hitting .294). The ball was evenly distributed by junior setter Gert Lisha who recorded 35 assists on the night.

For George Mason, senior middle blocker Graham Gresham led the Patriots with 12 kills (hitting .625) and freshman outside hitter Hayden Wagner collected seven kills of his own (hitting .286). As a team, George Mason hit .275 on the night.

USC collected 39 kills to George Mason’s 35, and the Trojans had 15 digs while the Patriots tallied six. In addition, the Trojans served up five aces, three from Benesh, while George Mason only had one scored by Wagner.

The Trojans were once again without top outside hitter Lucas Yoder who is recovering from an abdominal strain.

USC started off strong in the first set. After taking a 15-11 lead, Lisha dished the ball to hot hitters Grasso and Inlow to push the score to 19-14. George Mason attempted to even out the score, but at 22-17, the Trojans scored three in a row to take the first set 25-17. As USC had a 9-6 lead in the second set, George Mason responded with two kills and a block to tie up the score at 9-9. The score remained close until the Trojans found their groove to surge ahead 20-15. The Patriots hadn’t given up and fought back to force USC into a timeout with the Trojans holding onto a small 22-20 lead. After the timeout, points were exchanged, but USC would come out on top 25-23. In the third set, Benesh set the tone as he served up two aces for the Trojans to push ahead 9-5. USC’s momentum continued to roll through the third set as they never lost hold of their strong lead and closed out the match with a 25-17 score.

USC will return to the Galen Center tomorrow night (March 14) to face Harvard in a non-conference match at 7 p.m. PT.

Press Release

Courtesy of George Mason Athletics

George Mason University’s men’s volleyball team continued its winless streak against No. 12 USC Monday night by falling to the Trojans in straight sets in a non-conference battle that completed the Patriots’ West coast trip.

Even though Mason (8-11) outblocked USC (8-12) 5.5-2 and had just four kills fewer than its ranked opponent (39-35), the flow of Monday’s match resembled Friday’s loss to No. 2 Long Beach State much more than Saturday’s memorable sweep over No. 11 Cal State Northridge. The Patriots never led in L.A. and was on level terms with USC only seven times on the night, four of those occasions coming early in the sets, while both teams were in single digits.

“We did not execute at a level that we needed to be successful,” Mason head coach Jay Hosack said. “We need to be more consistent against good teams. The second [set] we played better but we still need to find our heart.”

In the second set, Mason and USC were locked at 13 all before the Trojans went on a 7-2 run to grab a five-point lead going into the decisive stage of the set. Three-straight points by Mason, however, cut that lead to two at 22-20 and forced USC’s only timeout in the contest. The Patriots continued to push and a kill by redshirt senior middle blocker Graham Gresham brought them within one at 24-23, but a service error put an end to the late raid, 25-23 USC.

Gresham was Mason’s primary offensive threat in the match, finishing with career-high 12 kills. He had half of those in the second set alone and largely contributed to Mason hitting .600 in the stanza – best by either team in the match. At the same time, USC held Mason to one of the most modest ground-defense performances in program history, allowing the Patriots to grab only six digs in the entire match.


-Gresham hit .625 on the night, best among all three Patriots who had double-digit swings. Only junior setter Brian Negron was more efficient than the middle blocker after turning four of his six attack attempts into kills for a .667 hitting percentage.

-Freshman opposite hitter Hayden Wagner came off the bench and picked up seven kills, second-most by a Mason player on the night.

-Senior libero Johnny Gomez had half of Mason’s digs on the night, but that still marked the second-fewest this season for the nation’s leading digger for 2016.

-Mason was much more efficient defensively at the net with Gresham, Wagner and freshman opposite hitter Bradley Creamer contributing team-high two blocks. The former two were also credited with the only two solo blocks in the match by either team.

– Gianluca Grasso paced USC with match-high 14 kills. His teammate Connor Inlow followed with eight kills. Inlow achieved the feat on nine total attempts for match-best hitting percentage of .778.

-Mason remains winless against USC as the Trojans now lead the all-time series 8-0.


The Patriots will get to enjoy the remainder of spring break and will return on the court on March 24 to complete their non-conference schedule against Barton at home. The following night, Mason will enter the final stretch of conference play against Charleston (W.Va.).

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About Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque

Carly DeMarque has been involved with competitive volleyball for the majority of her life, playing competitively at the club and collegiate level for 15 years and coaching club for five. Now a retired Division I volleyball athlete out of McNeese State University, she continues her volleyball enthusiasm by stepping back into …

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