Men's Volleyball Returns Home For Contests Against USC and Pepperdine
Stockton, Calif. – After two weeks on the road, the No. 11 Pacific men's volleyball team finally returns home to the friendly confines of the Alex G. Spanos Center for a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) matches against No. 6 Southern California and No. 10 Pepperdine. The USC match will be on Friday, February 24 beginning at 7 p.m. While the Pepperdine contest is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on February 25, following the women's basketball game against UC Davis, which is set for a 4:05 p.m. tip-off.
No. 11 Pacific Tigers (5-9, 3-6 MPSF):
The Tigers split four games on the road over the last two weekends. The victories came against No. 9 Long Beach State (3-1) and UC San Diego (3-0). On the first road trip, the Tigers battled to a heart-breaking five-set loss to No. 15 Cal State Nothridge, but showed their resilience to bounce back the following night to grab a 3-1 match victory over the 49ers of Long Beach. The following weekend, Pacific was dominate against UC San Diego in a match-sweep, but was downed by No. 2 UC Irvine the next evening.
Leading the Tigers attack is senior Florian Gornik with 158 kills in just 45 sets played. That puts him 11th in the conference with 3.51 kills per game. He also has added 30 total blocks on the year to rank 12th in the MPSF with 4.11 points per game.
Assisting the offensive attack is junior setter Patrick Tunnell. He has collected a conference seventh-best 10.20 assists per game in 2012. His success has allowed for junior outside hitter Taylor Hughes to have a great season with 145 total kills. Providing great passes for the Tigers is sophomore libero Javier Caceres, who ranks third in the conference with 2.38 digs per set.
Considered one of the premiere blocking teams in the country, Pacific ranks third in the nation with 3.12 blocks per set. The Tiger defense is led by senior Sean Daley, who sits at seventh in all of Division I volleyball with 1.45 blocks per game. Fellow middle blocker Christian Ahlin has also produced a fantastic season for the Tigers with 45 total blocks on the year.
No. 6 Southern California (7-4, 5-4 MPSF):
The Trojans will head to Stockton riding a two-game winning streak after match-sweeps of Pepperdine and Hope International. Leading the USC attack is Tony Ciarelli with 130 kills in 33 games played. He ranks fifth in the MPSF with 3.94 kills per set. The Trojans have the MPSFs and nation's leading blocker in freshman Robert Feathers. His 1.77 blocks per game is tops in the country.
No. 10 Pepperdine (7-5, 5-4 MPSF):
The Waves will travel north following a weekend split with USC and Cal Baptist. Pepperdine claimed its victory over Cal Baptist in five-sets. The Waves are led by Josh Taylor and Maurice Torres, who have 202 and 194 kills, respectively, on the season. Matt Pollock heads their defense with 47 blocks, good for 1.02 blocks per set in 2012
The Tigers will continue play in the Alex G. Spanos Center with a pair of matches against UC Irvine and UC San Diego.