MPSF Volleyball Results, Jan. 4

Photo by Hali Helfgott

USC 3, Juniata 0

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES--Jack Wyett had a match-high 14 kills while hitting .684 to lead the No. 12-ranked USC men’s volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-9, 25-21 sweep over Juniata on Thursday (Jan. 4) in the opening match of the 3-day Texaco Rainbow Warrior Classic in Honolulu, Hi. It was USC’s (2-0) first-ever meeting with Juniata (0-1), an NCAA Division III program. Wyett and Matt Douglas each had 5 digs, while Gianluca Grasso added 8 kills and 2 aces, Jon Rivera came off the bench to get 7 kills and Sam Lewis had 3 blocks For Juniata, Matt Vasinko and Quinn Peterson each had 6 kills, while Joe Fick added 5 kills, Chris Heron had 5 digs and Dave Hibner had 3 blocks. USC hit .386 in the match to Juniata’s .057. The Trojans served 8 aces. USC went on a 7-0 run early in the opening set to go up 11-5 and maintained a lead the rest of the set while hitting .360. In the second set, the Trojans scored 10 quick unanswered points to build a 13-4 lead and were never threatened while hitting .474 and serving 4 aces. USC tallied 3 straight points to move out to a 20-16 lead in the third set and held off the Eagles while hitting .346. USC next faces Stevens Institute, another NCAA Division III team and first-time USC opponent, on Friday (Jan. 5) at 4 p.m. PT before meeting host No. 5 Hawaii on Saturday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m. HT.

Grand Canyon 3, Barton 1

Recap by GCU

No. 15 Grand Canyon men's volleyball started 2018 on a high note with a 3-1 win over Barton 25-20, 17-25, 25-18, 25-21. The Lopes improve to 1-0 on the year while the Bulldogs go to 0-1. Junior outside hitter, Will Schwob made his presence known on the night with 18 kills and three blocks.

In addition to Schwob, Cody Williams posted double digit kills with 15 while hitting .542 on the night. In limited time Shalev Saada netted nine kills with a .312 hitting percentage and Caleb Blazer brought the defense with a match-best seven blocks, two of which were solo. Senior setter Puna Kaniho recorded 45 assists to go along with a team-leading five digs.

"Relieving to get the first win of the season under our belts." Said head coach, Matt Werle. "Barton played well defensively and have some strong offensive weapons. We've talked extensively about winning the serve and pass battle, we did that tonight. Our serve receive was really excellent tonight."

After two sets, GCU and the defending Conference Carolinas champions appeared to be even. However, the Lopes would take the lead early in the third set and did not look back. GCU recorded 51 kills compared to Barton's 48 as well as having the edge in blocks with 11.5 while hitting at a .337 mark.

The first set of the night had GCU up early 10-6 thanks to a couple of Schwob kills and Barton errors. Barton would come back to tie the match 10-10 with eight more ties to follow. The Bulldogs took the lead 19-20 but after an attacking error, the Lopes would go on a 6-0 run to end it 25-20.

Two early errors and a kill from Blazer had the Lopes leading the second set early. Barton would use a kill, ace and capitalized on an error to take the lead before GCU battled to tie it back up at 10. Vasilis and Angelos Mandilaris, who led their team in kills on the night, gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish on the way to a 25-17 set win.

After being tied at three in the third set, an Ashton King kill would give GCU the lead for good. Barton would bring the match within two at 12-10 but a triple block by Williams, Blazer and Schwob kept the Bulldogs at bay. The Lopes went on to claim seven of the next 10 points and ultimately won the set 25-18.

The fourth set was more of the same for the Lopes. Williams recorded four kills in an early back-and-forth battle to give GCU a 5-4 lead. The Bulldogs fought late to bring the set within three at 24-21 before Schwob gave the Lopes the set and match victory.

"We need to get a lot better blocking and getting the middle of the court involved offensively." Werle commented. "There were some first match mental lapses that we will have to eliminate right away. We will look to move on and learn from this match!"