The losing streak continues for men’s volleyball after being swept by No. 7 Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday. The Trojans kept each set close but ultimately succumbed to the Waves in three sets: 25-21, 25-23, 25-22.
The loss drops the Trojans to 0-3 MPSF record and 2-10 overall. USC has been able to keep its matches within reach but continues to fail to pull off the win — this season is its slowest start since 2016.
Strong efforts from sophomore outside hitter Brandon Browning and junior middle blocker Kyle Gear led the Trojans with nine kills, while junior libero Cole Paxon recorded a match-high 12 digs.
Despite the big numbers, the Trojans were unsuccessful collectively, committing 21 errors throughout the match.
Redshirt freshman opposite hitter Jacob Steele led the Waves with 12 kills, hitting .524. Along with solid blocking, the Waves were completely in sync against the Trojans.
The Trojans got off to a strong start in the first set, taking a 7-3 lead with three kills from Browning.
After intense back-and-forth battling, the teams were tied at 17 apiece. Four late kills by redshirt sophomore outside hitter Billy Fauntleroy kept the Trojans close, yet untimely errors for the Trojans secured the first set for the Waves.
The second set was a thrilling fight to the finish, with the Trojans and the Waves tying 13 times throughout. Pepperdine rallied for a seven-point lead, but kills from Browning and errors by the Waves brought the Trojans back.
The Waves were able to capitalize on errors committed by the Trojans, putting an end to their potential comeback. Pepperdine finished off USC with a kill from Steele.
The third set was just as thrilling with the Trojans and the Waves exchanging point for point in the beginning. The Trojans, plagued by errors and the Waves’ blocking execution, allowed Pepperdine to establish a late lead.
Freshman outside hitter Simon Gallas nailed six kills to keep the Trojans alive, but it wasn’t enough to knock the Waves off their lead and force a fourth set.
The loss extends USC’s losing streak to four games. The Trojans head into another tough battle on Sunday against crosstown rival No. 8 UCLA.