LOS ANGELES, CA-So Wednesday night at the Galen Center, city rivals and Top 20 teams USC and UCLA were to see who has the baddest women’s volleyball team this early in the season. The No. 14 Trojans put an emphatic imprint on that with a convincing 3-0 sweep of the Bruins. And it wasn’t really that close.
From the opening tap, USC dominated UCLA, gaining traction with an opening 25-21 match victory. From then on it was downhill for the Bruins as they would go on to lose 8-25, 27-29 in the other two sets. It may have been a matter of homecourt advantage for the Trojans, which outhit the Bruins at a .276 clip to .142.
USC simply doesn’t lose at home, posting an impressive 155-32 mark at Galen Center. So far so good for the Trojans on that front this season. USC is 4-0 in home games this year.
Dominating the night for the Trojans were the Big Three outside hitters of Emily Baptista (15 kills), Brooke Botkin (12 kills), and Khalia Lanier (10 kills, 1 ace, 1, block). Middle blocker Jasmine Gross was on point as well producing nine kills handling the nets with five blocks on the night. With the Trojans going back and forth with the Bruins in the first set, Gross delivered with five kills.
The contest was a Pac-12 Conference season-opener for both teams. UCLA, which came into the match with a No. 17 ranking, dropped to 5-3 on the young season. USC is currently on a four-game win streak, the last three coming via shutouts against Louisiana, San Diego, and the Bruins. UCLA was paced by Mac May (8 kills, 2 aces), Madeline Gates (8 kills), and Kyra Rogers (6 kills, 4 blocks).