Men’s volleyball No. 6 to host Concordia on senior night
After two tough losses to rival UCLA last weekend, USC’s No. 6 men’s volleyball team is looking to bounce back against Concordia on Friday night at the Galen Center. The game will open a two-game series, with the Trojans scheduled to visit the Eagles on Saturday night.
Last weekend, USC suffered only their fifth and sixth losses of the season as they dropped both games to rivals Crosstown. After being swept 3-0 at the Galen Center last Thursday night, the Trojans lost 3-2 to the Bruins in Westwood on Saturday.
One player who took the two losses to UCLA particularly hard was a grad student outside of opposing hitter/hitter/passer Sam Kobrin. After spending five years in the Bruins program, Kobrin transferred to USC for his final year of eligibility following the 2021 season.
“It was definitely weird,” Kobrin said of playing against his former team. “They came back a lot of guys, so it was a lot of the same guys I played with the year before.”
Adding to the embarrassment of the situation, Kobrin’s brother is on the UCLA roster. However, Kobrine said he had no hard feelings for the Bruins’ volleyball program and was transferred for academic reasons.
“Just in shape overall,” Kobrin said. “SC’s graduate programs were more in line with what I was trying to do.”
For Kobrine and the Trojans to bounce back from their tough streak last weekend, knocking out a sneaky Concordia team is the first step. Despite a losing record this season, the Eagles have four wins over top-25 opponents, including a sweep of a Stanford team that beat USC last month.
“Our biggest key is not to honestly underestimate anyone,” Kobrin said. “Bringing him to every game is going to be key for us, because, I mean, there are no bad teams in our league.”
The game will also serve as a senior night for the Trojans. For Kobrine and the other four USC seniors — all starters/key team contributors — this will be their last game at the Galen Center.
While Kobrine has only been at USC for one season, the other four — outside hitter Brandon Browning, grad student libero Cole Paxson, setter Chris Hall and middle tackle Liam Schroeder — have all gone four or five. years in the program.
If USC wants to beat the Eagles, they’ll need their veterans to step in, as four of the five lead the team in at least one major statistical category.
Hall leads the team in assists with a whopping 947, 900 more than the team member with the second most. Paxson leads the Trojans with 191 digs, Schroeder leads the team with 70.0 blocks and Kobrine is tied for team leader with 26 service aces.
Not to be outdone, Browning racked up over 100 kills and digs during the season, placing in the top four among USC players in both categories.
“There are definitely a lot of things we can improve on,” Kobrin said. “Just take those lessons we learned from UCLA and apply them to Concordia and GCU, which are great teams as well.”
First serve between the Trojans and Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Galen Center on Friday, with Game 2 scheduled for the same time Saturday in Irvine.