No. 1 Trojans set to face No. 7 UC Irvine

first_imgWith the season just beginning, the No. 1 ranked USC men’s volleyball team has adopted an even-keeled mindset to this season’s grueling slate of games, preferring not to dwell heavily on its past success.Serving it up · Senior setter and co-captain Riley McKibbin looks to lead the Trojans to their first 3-0 start in MPSF play since 2000. – Niranjan Madhavan | Daily Trojan “One of the things we’ve had trouble with [in the past] is looking too much toward the future,” said junior opposite hitter Tony Ciarelli. “We need to focus on what we’re doing every game and make sure that we don’t overlook anyone.”A year ago, the younger Trojan (2-0, 2-0)  squad might have been guilty of overlooking Cal State Northridge, their first round opponent in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, and suffered an embarrassing upset loss as a result.Overlooking their next opponent should not be an issue, however, considering it’s the same team that defeated the Trojans in the 2009 National Championship match: No. 7 UC Irvine. The Trojans will square off tonight at 6 p.m. against the Anteaters (3-3, 1-1) at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.Although the Anteaters dropped two five-set matches against USC last year, that 2009 national title game remains ingrained in the minds of the mostly upperclassmen USC team.The Anteaters are currently led by senior outside hitter Cory Yoder and junior opposite Carson Clark. Yoder, the son of Bob Yoder, who was an All-American at USC and coached the Trojans to a national title, registered 13 kills in UC Irvine’s three-set win against UC Santa Barbara Saturday.“They’re a really good team,” said USC coach Bill Ferguson. “They have a couple of losses, which is kind of misleading because they’ve been trying to find their ideal lineup.”After executing in all facets of their game in their first two victories, Ferguson stressed that the team needs to continue its inspired play.An encouraging development is that the team has carried its intensity into practices, agonizing over every missed spike and blown blocking assignment.“So far, we’ve won the serve and pass battle, which is the most important battle in volleyball,” Ferguson said. “Even when our service game has faltered, we’ve been passing so well that we’ve forced other teams into errors.”last_img