Stockton, Calif. – Pacific Men's Volleyball hits the backstretch of its schedule this weekend with their goal to reach the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) playoffs in sight. The Tigers will take to the road against No. 2 USC and No. 7 Pepperdine on March 30 and 31, respectivley. Pacific sits just 1.5 games back of the final conference playoff spot.
No. 11 Tigers
Pacific heads south after dominating UC Santa Cruz in a match-sweep on March 23. Pacific allowed just 42 total points in a match that took just over an hour to complete. Leading the Tigers was junior outside hitter Taylor Hughes, who hit .556 with 11 kills and seven blocks. Senior middle blocker Sean Daley also jumped in on the action with seven kills on 10 swings to hit .700.
Pacific willn also look for help from senior Florian Gornik, who leads the Orange and Black with 3.59 kills per game to total 244 on the season. Hughes is not far behind with 240 kills, which averages out to 3.43 per set.
The Tiger attackers have benefitted from the duo of junior setter Patrick Tunnell and sophomore libero Javier Caceres. Tunnell ranks seventh in the conference with 10.12 assists per game, while Caceres leads the MPSF with 2.50 digs per set.
The Tigers strength all year has been at the pins with middle blockers Daley and Christian Ahlin. Daley ranks fourth in the conference and sixth in the nation with 1.51 blocks per game to total 112 this season. He currently has the conference-high 20 block solos and with just two more this season he moves in to sole possession of first place in Pacific history with 70 block solos in his career. Ahlin has added 62 total blocks on the season to average .91 per set.
No. 2 Trojans
USC welcomes Pacific riding an 11-match winning streak with its most recent victory coming against George Mason. During the streak the Trojans have lost just five total games.
USC is led by Tony Ciarelli and Tanner Jansen with 265 and 141 kills, respectively, on the season. Also, Tiger attackers must be aware of Robert Feathers wo has 99 total blocks in 61 sets played for the Trojans.
No. 7 Waves
Pepperdine will take on Stanford before hosting the Tigers. The Waves swept George Mason last weekend and have won three of their last four.
Leading the Waves is Maurice Torres and Josh Taylor, who have combined for over 650 kills on the season. Torres is averaging 3.99 kills per set, while Taylor averages 3.59.
The Tiger will take on Stanford in a mid-week contest beginning at 7 p.m. in Stanford, Calif. on April 2.