On 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.
The informal meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe currently chaired by Greece took place on Corfu Sunday following the successful NATO – Russia meeting on Saturday.The OSCE meeting gave European foreign ministers the opportunity to discuss issues of European security, nearly a year after Russia’s war with Georgia raised concerns about stability on the continent’s eastern front.The ministers’ informal meeting on the western Greek island is the first such gathering in 34-year history of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a grouping of 56 countries encompassing regions from North America to Europe, Central Asia and Russia.The meeting between NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saw NATO and Russia resume formal cooperation on broad security threats but failed to bridge major differences over Georgia. The weekend meetings in Corfu also gave the Greek Prime Minister and the Greek Foreign Minister opportunities to meet with their European counterparts.The Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, and Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, met for 35 minutes in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere which saw Berlusconi extend an invitation for Karamanlis to visit Rome.Illegal immigration was the main topic following the decisions taken the previous weeks at the European Union Summit. The Summit had agreed that: The EU should seek to forge new repatriation pacts with migrants’ countries of origin and with “transit countries” such as Turkey and Libya.The activities of the EU’s border monitoring agency Frontex be boosted to curb illegal immigration in the southeastern Mediterranean region.The Greek Prime Minister had said that the decisions taken at the summit were heading in the right direction but agreed with Berlusconi’s insistence that the introduction of the measures should be sped up.The difficulties in implementing repatriation agreements were discussed as well as the proposal for the establishment of a European coast guard. The Turkey – Greece – Italy and South Stream energy agreements were also raised for discussion. The Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyiannis, met with her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, with whom she raised the recent breaches of Greek borders and airspace over the Aegean.“I hope that my discussions with Mr Davutoglu will lead, in the first instance, to a change in the current atmosphere,” the Greek Foreign Minister said.The Greek Foreign Minister met with US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, who deputised for Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, who was unable to attend because of an injury to her elbow.They signed a number of bilateral agreements such as easing the visa requirements for travel from Greece to the United States and on co-operation in dealing organised crime. At the time we went to press it had not been confirmed whether the Greek Foreign Minister had meet with her FYROM counterpart, Antonio Milososki. Bakoyiannis had indicated prior to the conference that she would try and catch up with her counterpart from FYROM.Upon arriving in Corfu Milososki expressed his hope to meet with the Greek Foreign Minister.“I hope that we will be able to meet with our Greek counter parts to continue the dialogue and to send a message of friendship to the Greek nation.”The Greek Foreign Minister met with her British counterpart, David Milliband, her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, as well as her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram