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Smart And Sporty

Five Trojan teams recently earned Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for their outstanding performance in the classroom.

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USC baseball, men's volleyball, women's cross country, women's golf and women's tennis teams all earned the awards, which are based upon teams' commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving multiyear Academic Progress Rates (APR) within the top 10 percent in their respective sports. A team's APR comprises eligibility, retention and graduation.

This recognition comes just around a week before the latest class of USC student-athletes graduates. Student-athlete commencement takes place on May 11 at the Galen Center.

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All-American Aces

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Outgoing seniors Andy Benesh and Lucas Yoder earned All-MPSF honors this season, the conference announced yesterday.

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Yoder earned ACVA Second Team All-American honors, while Benesh earned honorable mention.

It's the second All-American honor for both Benesh and Yoder. Benesh earned AVCA honorable mention as a sophomore in 2015, while Yoder earned AVCA honorable mention as a freshman in 2014.

Yoder led the nation in kills per set (4.85) and points per set (5.22) this season, fighting through injury to make an impact every time he was able to step on the court.

Benesh, meanwhile, ranked fifth in the nation in hitting percentage (.429) after starting in 27 of USC's 28 games this year.

Benesh and Yoder helped USC double its win total from 2016 and earn a trip to the MPSF Tournament after missing it in 2016.

Join The Club

usc-mens-volleyball-03292017-ucla-mcgillen-1196.jpgUSC men's volleyball announced the signing of six new players to its incoming Class of 2017 yesterday.

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Four Southern Californians and two out-of-towners will join four other incoming Trojans who signed in November.

USC's new local products are outside hitter Clay Dickinson (Corona del Mar - Newport Beach), setter Chris Hall (Notre Dame - Sherman Oaks), outside hitter Christopher McBee (Palos Verdes - Palos Verdes Estates) and outside hitter Pete Obradovich (Laguna Beach).

Outside hitter/middle blocker Billy Fauntleroy joins the Trojans from New Trier HS in Winnetka, IL, and outside hitter Kyle Gear comes from Gates Chili HS in Rochester, NY.

For many of the incoming Trojans, athleticism runs in the family.

All three of Fauntleroy's sisters earned college volleyball scholarships, as did both of Gear's siblings.

McBee's older brother, Charlie, won back-to-back national championships with USC water polo in 2012-13, and both parents played collegiate water polo as well.

Obradovich's father, Steve, lettered in both volleyball and football during his time at USC, then hit the beach circuit for 20 years. His sister, Paige, was on USC's women's team from 2008-09 and his uncle, Jim, was a two-time letterman in football at USC, winning a national championship in 1974 before a six-year NFL career.

These incoming freshmen join a Trojan squad that went 14-14 last season, doubling its win total from the year before and making it to the MPSF Tournament after a one-year hiatus. The Trojans ended the season by winning eight of 10 matches, and hope to carry that momentum into next season with the addition of some fresh talent.

Out But Not Down

USC's 10th-ranked men's volleyball team closed out its 2017 season with a loss to No. 1 Long Beach State in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament.

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The Trojans battled it out on Saturday night, but fell in four sets (25-22, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23) to finish the year with an even 14-14 mark.

In his final match in cardinal and gold, senior Lucas Yoder notched a match-high 23 kills. Fellow seniors Andy Benesh and Christopher Orenic finished with eight and seven kills, respectively, to keep the Trojans in it all the way until the end.

But the top-ranked 49ers outhit, outserved and outblocked the eighth-seeded Trojans to clinch a victory and end USC's season.

Despite the loss, the Trojans have much to be proud of this season. They doubled their win total from 2016 and earned a few crucial wins down the stretch to make the MPSF Tournament after missing out last year.

Click here to watch USC head coach Jeff Nygaard's season wrap-up!

Yoder, Benesh, Orenic and fellow seniors Vinnie Rios and Michael Mullahey, who played their last match on Saturday, helped get the team back on track to contend for MPSF and national titles in the years to come.

Volley-B-All-Stars

all-mpsf mvb.jpgUSC men's volleyball senior Lucas Yoder earned a spot on the 2017 All-MPSF First Team, while senior captain Andy Benesh landed on the All-MPSF Second Team, the conference announced today.

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Yoder earned first team honors for leading not only the conference, but the nation in kills this season (4.80 per set). He also led the conference and ranked second in the nation in points (5.17 per set) this regular season. This is the third year that Yoder has received an MPSF award, after being named the MPSF Freshman of the Year and a second teamer in 2014 and earning honorable mention in 2016. Yoder is one of four members of this year's first team to have earned three MPSF awards in his career.

Benesh also picks up his third MPSF honor, after earning All-MPSF honorable mention in 2014 and 2015. The middle blocker ranks sixth in the nation in hitting percentage (.430) and 10th in blocks (1.09 per set). Only one other member of the second team has earned three MSPF honors in his career.

On Saturday, Yoder, Benesh and the Trojans take on MPSF Player of the Year TJ DeFalco and the Long Beach State 49ers in the first round of the MPSF Tournament. That match begins tomorrow at 7 p.m. at LBSU.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 15

With USC's MPSF Tournament game against Long Beach State on the horizon, men's volleyball head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss his team's health and mindset heading into the playoffs.

The No. 10 Trojans head to No. 1 Long Beach State for an MPSF quarterfinal matchup at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Top 10 And Tourney Bound

mvb-ranking-10.jpgUSC men's volleyball moved up to No. 10 in the nation after winning its regular season finale.

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The Trojans topped Cal Baptist, 3-1, in Riverside on Saturday, to take a three-match win streak into the MPSF Tournament.

The match was USC's second in a row against the Lancers, as the two teams had just faced off two days prior. The Trojans won in four sets in both matches.

USC closes out the regular season at 14-13 (8-10 MPSF). The team's first MPSF Tournament matchup comes Saturday at 7 p.m. at Long Beach State.

Locked Up

USC men's volleyball earned a crucial win last night to secure the final spot in next week's MPSF Tournament.

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On Senior Night, the Trojans topped Cal Baptist in four sets (25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22), improving to 13-13 on the season and 7-10 in MPSF action.

Seniors Lucas Yoder and Andy Benesh shined in their final match in the Galen Center. Yoder led the Trojans with 17 kills, while Benesh (pictured) notched 13 kills and six blocks. Yoder's 4.76 kills per set is tops in the MPSF this year, while Benesh, the team captain, ranks eighth in the nation in blocks and hitting percentage.

Senior Vinnie Rios, meanwhile, led the way with seven digs on the night.

With the win, the 11th-ranked Trojans cemented a Top 8 finish in the MPSF and a spot in the conference tournament, as only eight of 12 teams can compete. Before the tourney, though, they face Cal Baptist one more time. Tomorrow, the Trojans close out the regular season in Riverside, CA with another battle against the Lancers.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as they gear up for the MPSF Tournament, which begins on April 15.

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USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 14

USC men's volleyball split its matches this weekend as the Trojans make their final push toward the MPSF Tournament. USC's 3-0 win over UCSB gave the Trojans a one-game lead over the Gauchos in the race for the eighth and final spot in the tourney.

Hear what head coach Jeff Nygaard had to say about the important win and staying focused in the last two matches of the regular season:

McGillen Gallery: USC MVB vs. UCLA

Last night, USC's 11th-ranked men's volleyball team lost its first match since March 3, at the hands of No. 6 UCLA.

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Something had to give, as both teams entered the battle sporting five-match win streaks. The Bruins were too strong on the night for the Trojans, racking up a 3-0 victory.

USC team photographer John McGillen captured every second of the tough test:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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