Men’s volleyball falls to Pepperdine in straight sets

first_imgOn Saturday night, men’s volleyball ended its road trip with a visit up Highway 1 to Pepperdine. In their first match of the year in late January, the Trojans upset the No. 8 Waves at the Galen Center 3-2. Two months later, they were looking for similar magic on the road to keep their postseason hopes alive.The now-No. 6 Waves fought off the Trojan onslaught to win in straight sets (31-29, 25-22, 25-23) and tie the season series at one apiece.  The Waves improved to 12-7 overall and 11-7 in the MPSF and secured a MPSF Tourney bid over the weekend.  They currently sit in fifth place in the MPSF, three games behind No. 4 Long Beach State and one ahead of No. 7 UC Santa Barbara.On Saturday, Pepperdine was playing to secure that fifth seed in the MPSF while 10th-place USC (4-14, 6-16 MPSF) was fighting toward that elusive eighth seed.  Hence, both teams played all-in from the first point.The first set was gut-wrenching through all 62 points. USC took its largest lead at 21-17, and Pepperdine took its only 2-point lead to win 31-29. There were eight lead changes and 26 ties. Pepperdine took the set by winning 3 points in a row off USC errors — the only 3-point run in the game.Errors continued to be a problem for the Trojans. They suffered 18 errors from the service line and nailed only two aces. Their attacking came together nicely, though. As a team, they hit .356. Junior outside hitter Lucas Yoder hit .500 with 19 kills. Senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard, who did not play in Thursday’s match at Stanford, hit .714 with 5 kills plus an ace and a block.Pepperdine was sharp offensively, too. The Waves hit .381 and served five aces. Redshirt senior opposite Matt Tarantino hit .462 with 15 kills and 3 aces. The Waves only tallied four blocks as redshirt senior middle blocker Tommy Carmody had a quiet night, but USC only tallied 6.5.After USC fell behind 14-9, head coach Jeff Nygaard took a timeout, and whatever he said worked. The Trojans 9-5 run after the timeout brought their deficit to just one point. However, a service error by senior middle blocker Tommy Leonard backed up by an ace from Pepperdine’s Matt Tarantino put the set out of USC’s reach.In set three, the two teams came out nose-to-nose once again. Finally, USC broke the game open with a 3-0 run to take an 18-14 lead. They traded points with the Waves until they had a 23-20 lead, and the set looked to be theirs. However, Pepperdine ended the match on a 5-0 run which included two Tarantino kills and three USC attack errors.It was an abrupt end to an intense match that went the way of the favorites. In the box score, this one will go down as a three-setter with no big surprises, but the match felt a lot closer.USC has four matches left this season. Next up, their final two home games will be against UC San Diego on April 2 and UC Irvine on April 3.last_img read more

Adoree’ Jackson forgoes final season at USC

first_imgAs Martin Luther King Jr. Day approached last weekend, USC football fans felt an increasing sense of optimism about the status of junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson began attending classes for the spring semester and was regularly seen on campus and in the USC athletic facilities over the past week. The lack of chatter about a draft decision soothed many into believing that Jackson would be returning to the football team for his senior season in 2017.However, on Monday — the final day for eligible players to declare for the NFL Draft — Jackson announced via social media that he would be forgoing his senior season to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Jackson’s announcement included an open letter addressed to the Trojan  Family regarding his decision. Jackson, a unanimous All-American in 2016, declared for the draft after a junior season in which he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and helped lead USC to its first Rose Bowl victory since 2009. With his decision, Jackson joins junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and junior guard Damien Mama as one of three Trojans who will be forgoing their senior season to enter the draft in April. “Thank you to the Trojan Family for embracing me and my family the way you guys did! Being a Trojan was the best time of my life and I’ll never ever forget my time here at USC,” Jackson said. “I hope you continue to support me throughout the rest of my career.”A triple threat for the Trojans, Jackson was the ultimate Swiss army knife during his collegiate career. In addition to reeling in five interceptions during his Thorpe Award-winning junior season with USC, Jackson finished his Trojan football career with 39 receptions for 628 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. Over his career, Jackson established himself as arguably the top kick returner in USC football history. In 2016, Jackson was the only player in the nation to return multiple kickoffs and punts for touchdowns; he took two punts and two kickoffs to the house for a total of four return touchdowns his junior year, and he finished with eight in his collegiate career. Jackson leaves USC with the all-time record in kickoff return yardage (2,141 yards). His football portfolio at USC is flooded with iconic moments, all of which contributed to turning the Trojans back into a nationally relevant football program. USC’s run to a Rose Bowl Trophy was sparked by a plethora of big plays from Jackson. His interception on Oct. 8 against then-No. 21 Colorado is one that will live in highlight reels forever. He picked a pass from Colorado quarterback Steven Montez almost completely out of bounds, but then inexplicably found a way to spread his legs in mid-air to get a foot in-bounds for the interception. The play built up acclaim for Jackson and earned him hype for the Thorpe Award he would eventually win. His two-interception effort against No. 4 Washington on Nov. 12 helped propel USC to its biggest win of the regular season and get the Trojans back in the national spotlight. While Jackson’s football resume is extensive, perhaps the greatest exhibition of his dynamic abilities came against Notre Dame on Nov. 26. Against the Fighting Irish, Jackson scored a total of three touchdowns in three different ways: He had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 52-yard touchdown reception. Jackson’s final performance in the Coliseum may have been his most impressive, as the Trojans defeated Notre Dame, 45-27, in the season-finale rivalry game. From his first game at the Coliseum in September 2014 against Fresno State, in which he caught a touchdown as a true freshman, to his heroic finale against the Irish, Jackson gave Trojan fans memorable plays on a regular basis. And when Jackson wasn’t cementing himself into Trojan football lore, he almost casually built up a winning legacy as a track and field athlete for USC. Jackson was the Pac-12 champion in long jump in 2015 and 2016. He missed football spring practices in 2016 as he attempted to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team to compete in Rio as a long jumper. But beyond the innumerable merits, the All-Pac-12 honors, the remarkable interceptions and even the Thorpe Award, Jackson cherished one accolade above all during his time as a Trojan: bringing the Rose Bowl Trophy back to Heritage Hall.“It’s been an incredible three years playing for one of the great traditions in college football,” Jackson wrote about his collegiate career. “I made the best decision of my life when I chose to come to USC, and finishing it off with a Rose Bowl win is one of the best ways I could have ever hoped for it to end.”last_img read more