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USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 13

Over the last few weeks, USC men's volleyball has won five straight matches and moved up to No. 11 in the nation.

The Trojans have momentum on their side as they head into Wednesday's battle with crosstown rival UCLA.

Head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss the growth of his team in the latest episode of Nygaard at the Net.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 12

USC men's volleyball is currently riding a four-match win streak, going unbeaten against Lewis, George Mason, Harvard and Sacred Heart to improve to 10-12 on the season.

In the latest edition of Nygaard At The Net, head coach Jeff Nygaard discussed the progression of his younger players, carrying momentum into the MPSF Tournament and more.

Take Down The Ivy

After two matches at USC's North Gym, the Trojan men's volleyball team returned to Galen Center to beat Harvard last night.

Click here for the full recap!

For the third match in a row, recent transfer Gianluca Grasso led the Trojans in scoring and led them to a win. The Brazilian posted 18 kills, while sophomore Woody Cook and freshman Lucas Lossone added 15 kills each. USC's top outside hitter, senior Lucas Yoder, missed the match with an abdominal strain.

Momentum swung back and forth throughout the match, as USC won the first and third sets, while Harvard took the second and fourth. After a tight start to the tiebreak, the Trojans pulled away, and won the match, 3-2.

The win is USC's third and a row and helps the Trojans improve to 9-12 on the season, including a 6-3 mark at home.

This Sunday, the Trojans host Sacred Heart, aiming to inch closer to .500.

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USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 10

No. 14 USC men's volleyball was swept on the road at No. 4 Hawai'i this weekend, bringing the team's record to 6-12 on the season.

Despite the losses, head coach Jeff Nygaard was glad to have battled the Warriors in case the Trojans face them again in the postseason. Watch him break down the games and preview USC's eight upcoming home matches in the latest edition of Nygaard at the Net:

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 9

USC men's volleyball got hot in February, earning three straight wins against ranked opponents, before getting swept by No. 2 Long Beach State last week.

Head coach Jeff Nygaard praised the emergence of sophomore outside hitter Woody Cook during the win streak and keyed in on what the Trojans have to do on their upcoming trip to Hawai'i in the latest episode of "Nygaard at the Net."

Three In a Row

USC men's volleyball topped No. 11 Cal State Northridge last night in five sets for its third consecutive win over a ranked opponent.

Click here for the full recap!

The three-match win streak is USC's longest since the 2015 season and brought the No. 14 Trojans to 6-9 (5-7 MPSF) this year.

For the second straight match, the Trojans shot out to a 2-0 lead. But the Matadors clawed their way back to tie things up at 2 sets all before USC took the tiebreak and won, 25-22, 25-21, 18-25, 22-25, 15-10.

Senior Lucas Yoder (pictured) racked up 24 kills in the win to extend his nation-leading mark to 260 on the season.

The Trojans have now split the season series with Stanford, Pepperdine and CSUN after losing their first matchups with each. Tomorrow, they go for a season sweep over No. 2 Long Beach State.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on scores and information!

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USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 8

USC men's volleyball earned two victories over ranked opponents this weekend in Stanford and Pepperdine to move up to No. 10 in the nation.

After a slow start to the season, USC head coach Jeff Nygaard calls the success the culmination of "little things" and says the team must control its own side of the net in the two upcoming games.

Catch the latest episode of Nygaard at the Net:

Back-to-Back

USC men's volleyball cracked the Top 10 after winning back-to-back matches over ranked opponents this weekend.

On Thursday, the Trojans upset No. 6 Stanford in a three-set sweep.

USC knocked off another contender in a five-set victory over No. 9 Pepperdine on Saturday. Freshman Lucas Lossone posted 16 kills, while Andy Benesh added 12, plus 7 blocks.

The Trojans got off to a two-set lead before the Waves charged back to even it at two sets all. In the tiebreak, USC rattled off four straight points to earn an 11-7 lead and didn't look back.

USC now stands at 5-9 this season (4-7 in MPSF play) and looks ahead to its next match at Cal State Northridge tomorrow.

Upset SCity

USC men's volleyball shut down the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal for a three-set sweep at Galen Center last night.

Click here for the full recap!

Senior leader Lucas Yoder stepped up with 15 kills, helping the Trojans hit .286 to Stanford's .089. Sophomore Woody Cook posted 10 kills and five digs as USC managed a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 victory.

The win avenged USC's 3-0 loss at Stanford last month and marked the Trojans' first three-set win of the season. They now stand at 4-9 on the year, with a 3-7 mark in conference play.

USC, which now has three wins over Top 10 opponents this season, is gearing up to take on No. 9 Pepperdine tomorrow at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets!

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 6

USC men's volleyball couldn't pull off the upset against No. 3 BYU on Friday, falling in three sets. Head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss the match and the team's outlook going forward.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 5

USC men's volleyball picked up its third win of the season with an impressive upset over UC Irvine this weekend, before dropping a four-setter to UC San Diego.

Watch head coach Jeff Nygaard break down what went right against the Anteaters and what went wrong against the Tritons in this week's Nygaard at the Net:

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 4

USC men's volleyball added a new member to the team on Jan. 23, who came in and started contributed immediately in the Trojans' two matches this week.

USC dropped both, to No. 8 Stanford and No. 9 Pepperdine, but head coach Jeff Nygaard was impressed with newcomer Gianluca Grasso, his team's steady improvement and the Trojans' "Fight On" spirit.

Hear everything he had to say in this week's "Nygaard at the Net."

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Vinnie Rios

USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

Vinnie.jpgName: Vinnie Rios
Class: Senior
Sport: Men's Volleyball
Major: Global Medicine (Master of Science)
GPA: 3.26

Aubrey Kragen (AK): So when did you first realize that you were interested in medicine?

Vinnie Rios (VR): To be completely honest, I think it's something I've always known I've wanted. Throughout even high school and middle school -- as far back as I can remember in my schooling -- sciences were always the thing I was most intrigued by. As I took classes throughout high school and my undergrad here as well, I started keying in on the more biomechanical side of things. Being an athlete, I just love the way the body works and when things go wrong, I wonder why and how I can fix that. Also, as an athlete, I've had my fair share of injuries and I had an orthopedic surgeon who did wonders for me. He was able to not only heal me but get me back on the court in a pretty understandable amount of time. So I think for me, I want to go into orthopedic surgery -- that's kind of my goal. I just want to be able to give back. I want to be able to help out future athletes in the way that he helped me.

AK: Can you go into detail on what being an orthopedic surgeon entails?

VR: Bone breaks, muscle tears, joint dislocations -- and I want to specialize in sports injuries as well, because orthopedics can be anywhere from old age just needing a hip replacement. Dr. Dorr, a hip replacement surgeon in the Keck Medical School, did my grandpa's knee replacements. So I'm looking at an internship right now through him, but I specifically want to get into sports injuries, so if I could follow a team around that would be great. More of the biomechanical side of things.

AK: You mentioned you had an injury experience that opened your eyes to this field?

VR: Yeah, I broke my ankle my freshman year of high school, and then I ended up breaking my back a year later. I think it really stemmed from me starting to compensate ... Because I was compensating and walking a certain way it ended up causing stress on my back, so the second doctor I went to was able to figure that out and worked from the ground up, essentially. He was able to not only address the back issues, which was what I came for, but also addressed some of the underlying causes of how to walk again -- I had a weird limp.

AK: There are many different programs at the Keck School of Medicine, so what led you to the Global Medicine program specifically?

VR: I mainly just talked to my advisor. When I was finishing up the undergraduate side of things, people were asking, 'Where do you want to go? What's your plan?' I honestly said I was not ready to take the MCAT yet -- I knew I wanted to go to med school, but I wasn't ready yet. So I was looking for internships or a way to buy some time. And my advisor ended up guiding me toward the Global Medicine program ... I'm very appreciative toward my advisor, Laura Ames, my academic athletic advisor, Darrick Brown. There have been so many people who are helping me talk to the right people at the right time.

AK: How do you make your med school schedule work with practice?

VR: It's actually an oddity. This semester is my last semester -- I'll be finishing my Master's this spring. And for the first time since I've been in school for five years now, I have class for two hours Wednesday and two hours Friday. And it is unbelievable. Amazing. I love it. There are times when I don't really know what to do with my life, but I usually just fill it with rehab. I spend a lot of time with my trainer in the training room.

AK: You started your college career at Pepperdine, right? How was the transition coming here, both academically and athletically?

VR: That was a struggle. I loved Pepperdine -- It was a great school, I have nothing bad to say about it. But it was a very small science program. So with me being an athlete and trying to go the pre-med route, it just wasn't working. If I would have stayed an extra semester, I would have been missing four to five days of practice. So I talked to advisors and said this isn't working out, and I talked to my coaches to try to change practice time, but everywhere I turned, they said, 'Well, you can quit the team, or you can change your major.' And I kind of thought, 'I've been working so hard to have both of these in my life, and I'm not passionate about anything else,' so those just weren't good options for me. I quit the team there, got into contact with some coaches around here and luckily found my spot here. It was the best decision I made -- I would do it 10 times out of 10, 100 percent.

AK: So you have your Bachelor's degree, you're getting a Master of Science and then you're going to med school right? How do you stay motivated throughout all that schooling?

VR: I definitely want to take a gap year between the Master's and medical school. I'm feeling a little burnt out right now. It's been a lot of summer school for me, too, because I was behind from Pepperdine, so I almost feel like I've been in nonstop schooling for the past three or four years. My mom's been very understanding of that. She's excited -- I'll hopefully be the first doctor in my family, so she's all about moving on and getting into med school. I told her I need to do this at my own pace, kind of slow it down and enjoy my time for a little bit. She was worried that I wasn't going to want to go back once I took a year off. And the thing that I tell her is just that I am passionate about this. I guarantee the drive will not ever go away for me.

USC MVB - Week 3 Recap

USC men's volleyball dropped its matches to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara and No. 2 UCLA this week despite impressive play from veteran Lucas Yoder and freshman Aaron Strange.

The Trojans now sit at 2-5 on the season (1-3 in MPSF) play and must prepare for three straight road matches.

Head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss how his team has improved this season and what it still needs to work on in his weekly recap:

USC MVB - Week 2 Recap

After two hard-fought losses to Top 15-ranked teams, USC men's volleyball bounced back this week with an upset win over No. 3 Long Beach State. The Trojans couldn't hold on to their momentum, though, falling in three sets to No. 13 Cal State Northridge just three days later.

USC head coach Jeff Nygaard discussed the potential he saw in his team during the upset and dubbed senior outside hitter the team's "work horse" in his Week 2 recap.

Upset City

USC men's volleyball bounced back from two straight losses to upset Long Beach State at the Galen Center last night.

Click here for the full recap!

The unranked Trojans hosted the No. 3 49ers in their home opener, and pulled off a four-set win (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22). Senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder racked up 28 kills and 6 digs to lead the way along with teammate Andy Benesh, who hit .526 with 12 kills, 5 digs and 4 blocks.

After the match, USC head coach Jeff Nygaard insisted the Trojans could beat anybody. Watch his full post-game interview here!

The Trojans gear up for another upset opportunity when No. 13 Cal State Northridge comes to town on Saturday at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets!

One Down

Aiming to improve on last year's losing season, the USC men's volleyball team opened 2017 up with a 3-1 win over Concordia last night.

Click here for the full recap!

Freshman OH Aaron Strange made a statement in his debut as a Trojan, racking up 13 kills and hitting .667 with only 1 hitting error in 18 swings.

USC came from behind to win the first set, 30-28, but dropped the second set, 23-25, before hitting its stride and winning the last two sets, 25-13 and 25-18 to earn the 29th season-opening win in program history.

The win marks an immediate improvement from last season, when the Trojans under first-year head coach Jeff Nygaard opened up the season with six straight losses.

The Trojans also got big contributions from Lucas Yoder (9 kills, 5 digs), Andy Benesh (6 blocks) and Gert Lisha (3 aces).

USC has no time to celebrate, as the team heads straight to Columbus, OH for the AVCA Showcase Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Trojans face defending national champion Ohio State on Friday before taking on Penn State the next day.

The tournament will be a huge step in determining how far the team has come since going 7-19 last year.

Click here for a full season preview!

Four More New Trojans

USC men's volleyball added four local recruits to their class of 2017 yesterday.

Click here for the full release!

Sam Lewis, a 6-foot-10 middle blocker from Long Beach Poly, plus 6-foot-7 middle blocker Mitch Haly of Corona del Mar, 5-foot-10 libero Cole Paxson of Laguna Beach High and 6-foot-6 outside hitter Noah Franklin of Huntington Beach High all signed national letters of intent for USC yesterday.

All four have Junior Olympics experience and hope to contribute immediately during the 2017 season. In the meantime, though, they'll watch this year's team tackle the 2016-17 schedule. The Trojans are coming off a rebuilding year in which they finished 7-19. They'll get a fresh start in their first match of the regular season, on Jan. 3 against Concordia (Irvine).

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Trojan Tune-Up

USC men's volleyball is gearing up to host a nine-team preseason tournament this Saturday at USC's Galen Center Pavilion.

Click here for the full preview.


The Trojans will split into two teams ("Cardinal" and "Gold") and will compete against Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge, Cal Baptist, Grand Canyon and Concordia.

USC hopes to get back into the mix this season after going 7-19 in its first year under head coach Jeff Nygaard.

The team kicks off competition at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday on the upstairs courts at the Galen Center Pavilion, which is adjacent to the Galen Center. Admission to the event is free.

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21 Pilots

Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

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Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)
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