- USC def. Concordia 3-1, 30-28, 23-25, 25-13, 25-18
- USC (1-0), Concordia (0-3)
- Hosted by Concordia
- Attendance: 310
In USC’s first match of the season, they posted a .348 hitting percentage in their four set win over Concordia.
Freshman Aaron Strange came out in dominating fashion, posting a match-best 13 kills, hitting for .667. Blake Markland added 10 kills and Lucas Yoder put down nine. Defensively at the net, Andy Benesh blocked seven balls and Connor Inlow added five.
Ryan Anselmo put down a team-best 10 kills, while Hunter Howell and Andrew Hammer each added nine kills. In the back court, Jacob Weiser picked up a match-best 12 digs.
Courtesy of USC Athletics
The USC men’s volleyball team, behind 13 kills from first-year freshman opposite hitter Aaron Strange, opened its 2017 season with a 30-28, 23-25, 25-13, 25-18 road win over Concordia in a non-conference match in Irvine on Tuesday (Jan. 3).
USC won its season opener for the 29th time in the program’s 48-year history. Concordia fell to 0-3 in 2017.
Strange hit .667 (only 1 hitting error among 18 swings) and added 4 blocks. Blake Markland, a sophomore outside hitter making his first career start, added 10 kills, 5 digs and 3 aces, Lucas Yoder had9 kills and 5 digs, Andy Benesh had a match best 6 blocks and Gert Lisha had 3 aces.
USC hit .348 to Concordia’s .162 and had more blocks (14.0 to 7.0) and aces (7 to 3).
Ryan Anselmo led Concordia with 10 kills and 5 digs, while Andrew Hammer (the cousin of USC quarterback Sam Darnold) and Howell Hunter each added 9 kills (Howell also had 4 blocks) and Jacob Weiser had 12 digs.
In the first set, USC fought back from a 22-19 deficit to catch the Eagles at 23-23 and then went up 27-26 before scoring the set’s final 2 points while hitting .520. The Trojans trailed for most of the second set, falling behind 20-16 before knotting the score at 22-22 but Concordia scored consecutive points to end the set (the Eagles hit .391). USC jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the third set and was never threatened, hitting .391. It was more of the same in the final set, as USC opened up a 7-2 margin and held off the Eagles.
USC now remains on the road to participate in the AVCA Showcase — Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Columbus, Ohio, first meeting defending NCAA champion and pre-season No. 1 Ohio State (0-0) of the MIVA on its home floor (site of the 2017 NCAA tourney) on Friday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m. ET and then taking on No. 13 Penn State (0-0) of the EIVA on Saturday (Jan. 7) at 3 p.m. ET. The Trojans then open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at home against Long Beach State on Jan. 11.