No. 12 USC clutch serving knocks off No. 9/6 Penn State

Photo courtesy of USC athletics

The moment at the serving line was not too big for the USC freshman setter.

Caleb Blanchette with No. 12 USC leading by one point late in the fourth game delivered an ace to extend the lead and put the Trojans at match-point as the team defeated No. 9/6 Penn State 25-22, 25-19, 15-25, 25-23 on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Blanchette finished with a team-high three aces to help the Trojans earn their second victory of the season against a top-10 ranked team. Along with the late-match ace, the freshman had two aces as part of a 7-3 run to open the match against the Nittany Lions.

USC in the victory had three players finish with double-digit kills.


Outside attacker Riley Haine had 11 kills on a team-best. 429 attack percentage, including having four kills in the final game. Opposite Jack Deuchar finished with a team-high 14 kills, while outside attacker Dillon Klein contributed 13 kills.

Despite the loss, Penn State out-hit USC .250 to .238 and limited the Trojans to a negative-.087 attack percentage in their 10-point game-three win.

Penn State opposite John Kerr led all players with 21 kills on a .405 attack percentage. Kerr, though, was the only Nittany Lion to have double-digit kills.

Middle attacker Toby Ezeonu in the loss had seven kills on a .375 attack percentage and a match-high four aces.

This non-conference match also featured Penn State using multiple setters.

Coach Mark Pavlik at the start of the third game and in a two-game deficit opted to insert freshman setter Michael Schwob into the lineup in place of senior Luke Snyder. Schwob opened the season as the Nittany Lions starting setter but was replaced by Snyder in February.