Closing in on Spring Championships

USC spring football may be over, but the postseason is just beginning for a few other Trojan teams.

USC spring football may be over, but the postseason is just beginning for a few other Trojan teams.

Volleyball

Men's

Never has USC men's volleyball been so lauded than in the last two years. In consecutive seasons, two different Trojans were named the MPSF Player of the Year in Murphy Troy (2011) and Tony Ciarelli (2012). Troy also won the AVCA Player of the Year last season and it's likely Ciarelli will soon snatch up that award as well.

Ciarelli was a dominant player for the Trojans last year, playing a variety of positions and serving with great poise. But he reached a consistency this year in both hitting (averaging 4 kills a set) and serving (he broke the university's career ace record) that helped his team go from a poor 5-4 start to 22-4, as the team grabbed its 18th straight victory Saturday with a MPSF quarterfinal win over Cal State Northridge.

The Trojans face UC Irvine in the semifinals on Thurs., April 26. USC hosts the NCAA Championships the following weekend, May 3 and 5, in the Galen Center whether or not the Trojans qualify.

Women's Sand

The final tournament of the first ever sand volleyball season will take place April 27 and 29 in Gulf Shores, Ala. Two trojan teams in Sara Shaw-Geena Urango and Kirby Burnham-Kelly Irvin were selected to play in the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship.

As a team, however, USC (7-4 overall) was not selected to compete. Pepperdine, Florida State, Long Beach State and College of Charleston were among the teams invited.

Tennis

Women's

The Trojan women got off to a lightning-hot start this season, winning seven consecutive matches, until crosstown rival UCLA exploited their weaknesses and handed them two of their three total losses on the year.

But last weekend the team enacted revenge on the nation's top team and beat the Bruins to take the Pac-12 title. While the NCAA tournament begins on May 11, the Trojans head to Ojai, Calif. first to compete in individual play at the Pac-12 Championships on April 26. The singles and doubles matches run through April 29.

Men's

The Trojans' other tennis team, the men's, didn't have the same result against crosstown rival UCLA, who snapped the Trojans 45-match winning streak last Friday.

But in individual play, No. 2 Steve Johnson kept his unfathomable streak of 58 consecutive wins intact by beating UCLA's Clay Thomspon 6-2, 6-1.

Although it appears the Trojans will hold onto the nation's top spot with just a single loss on the season, the second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers also boast just one loss, to Ohio State earlier in the season.

Both the men's and women's teams will participate in Pac-12 play in Ojai, Calif. this week. The conference title match will take place Sat., April 28 at 4 p.m.

Baseball

Despite starting off on an electric seven-game winning streak, the Trojans' baseball team now holds a 20-15 (4-8) record. While the team still has more than a quarter of its season left, a near-miracle is needed to turn the current tide.

The Trojans boast a solid 14-5 home record, but still play nine of their final 20 games on the road. Senior infielder Matt Foat is hitting .398 in 34 games (with a .503 OBP) while junior infielder Adam Landecker is averaging .324 in 139 at bats (35 games). The two lead the team in runs, with a combined 54 scored.

Water Polo

The Trojan women's water polo team finished its season ranked third in the MPSF. After a nonconference win against CSU Bakersfield over the weekend, they will head into the MPSF Championships April 27 through the 29th with a bit more momentum. The tournament will be hosted by Stanford, the Trojans' last defeat (a 9-8 loss in overtime). The team has a legitimate chance to do well though with an Olympian goalie in their corner. Last week, sophomore goalie Flora Bolonyai helped her native Hungary earn a spot in the upcoming Olympic games.


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