The Trojans opened up MPSF conference play in Malibu against the Wave. USC came into today’s match having not played in 13 days.
However, the Trojans looked like they were well-rested rather than rusty. Despite this, they lost a heartbreaker to No. 7 Pepperdine.
The first set was back and forth all the way to the finish. Senior setter Chris Hall got everyone involved as every hitter who appeared earned at least one kill. Sophomore opposite hitter Simon Gallas was the best player though and had eight kills in the first set. He fittingly ended the first set with a kill from the back row. The first set finished 25-23 USC.
The second set was riddled with service errors for the Trojans. They had seven service errors with just one ace. Pepperdine got a lot of touch blocks and USC couldn’t find the ground. The Waves led from start to finish and took the second set 25-17.
Set number three was just as competitive as the first two. Neither team led by more than two and there were 20 ties and 10 lead changes. USC was up late in the set at 22-20 but Pepperdine went on a 3-0 run to take a 23-22 lead. USC fought back and ended up having two set points but fell just short and lost the third set 28-26.
USC stepped up its defense in the fourth set. They played scrappy and had a few big blocks at the net by senior middle blocker Liam Schroeder and junior middle blocker Lucas Frassrand. USC was up most of the fourth set and had a 24-21 lead. The Trojans got tight, however, and Pepperdine tied the game at 24 all. Despite the scare, USC was able to force a fifth set thanks to a Pepperdine touch on a hit from senior outside hitter Sam Kobrine to end the set at 26-24.
It should come as no surprise that the fifth set was also extremely close and exciting. In the deciding set, the Wave jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. USC was forced to call a timeout to try and stop the bleeding. It seemed to work, and the Trojans came out firing and went on a 4-0 run themselves.
Now Pepperdine decided to call a timeout to stop the USC run. They also got a much-needed point following the timeout. After that, it was back and forth. USC was up 9-7, but tough serving by Pepperdine sophomore Bryce Dvorak led to a 9-11 Pepperdine lead. USC battled back to tie it at 13-13, but Pepperdine held on and thanks to great blocking won the last two points and the match.
The Trojans battled all night long, but too many serving errors and big hitting from the Wave proved to be their downfall. USC struggled with serving, committing 21 service errors to just three aces. That is not a winning percentage. Kobrine had a great match with 20 kills on 41 attempts and got hot towards the end, but it wasn’t enough.
USC won’t have to wait long for revenge as they play Pepperdine again at home this Friday at 7 p.m.