LOS ANGELES -- Lucas Lossone had 15 kills (hitting .312) to lead the Trojans in scoring as USC won its fourth consecutive match as it defeated Sacred Heart in five sets, 23-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 and 18-16. This victory in USC’s first ever meeting with the Pioneers improves the Trojans’ record to 10-12 overall.
As a team, USC hit .260 while senior middle blocker Andy Benesh scored 14 kills (hitting .538) and teammate, sophomore outside hitter Gianluca Grasso nabbed eight kills of his own (hitting .083). Freshman setter Matt Faraimo made the second start of his career and dished out 42 assists.
For Sacred Heart, senior opposite Christopher DeLucie led the Pioneers tallying 18 kills (hitting .316). As a team, Sacred Heart hit .255 on the night.
The Trojans were once again without top outside hitter Lucas Yoder who is recovering from an abdominal strain.
The score remained close throughout the first set as points were exchanged between the Trojans and the Pioneers. After being tied at 15-15, Sacred Heart scored four points in a row to take a 19-15 lead. They remained in control of the set as they finished with a 25-23 win.
The Pioneers’ momentum from the first set carried over as they took a 7-4 lead in the second set. As the Trojans fought back to close the gap at 7-8, Sacred Heart went on a five-point run to increase their lead to 13-7. The Trojans couldn’t recover from the deficit as the Pioneers claimed the second set 25-18.
After being tied 15-15 in the third set, USC capitalized on a Sacred Heart service error to flip the momentum in their favor. USC pushed ahead and secured their 19-16 lead with a massive triple block. The Pioneers kept batting back and closed the score gap at 23-23. The Trojans took charge as Lossone and Ryan Moss each earned a kill to take the third set 25-23.
Moss gave the Trojans an 11-9 lead in the fourth set. After the Pioneers earned a kill of their own, USC earned two more points to force Sacred Heart into a timeout. The Trojans continued to hold onto their lead, and Benesh punctuated the fourth set with a massive kill to claim the 25-22 win for Troy.
After trailing 4-7 in the decisive fifth set, USC pushed points to tie up the score at 9-9. The Pioneers took the lead, but USC once again closed the gap to 12-12. Benesh served a clutch ace, and Moss immediately put up a block to turn the tide in favor of the Trojans for match point at 14-12. Sacred Heart scored two kills in a row to tie the score at 14-14, and points were exchanged to force another tie at 16-16. The Trojans would have the final word as they claimed the fifth set 18-16 to win the match.
USC’s next action will take the Trojans upstairs to the Galen Center Pavilion where they will take on Concordia on Friday (March 24) at 7 p.m. PT.