Top-ranked UCLA returned to its winning ways with a straight set victory at No. 5 USC on Sunday evening. Scores of the match were 25-20, 25-23, 25-19. The Bruin block and service game were in top form as UCLA owned a 12.0-3.0 advantage at the net and a 7-2 margin on serves.
UCLA grabbed a 4-3 edge early in set one only the to see the Trojans come back to take an 8-10 advantage. The Bruins evened things up at 13-all on a block by Trent Kersten and then pulled out to a 17-13 lead. A Gonzalo Quiroga kill and ace, sandwiched around a Spencer Rowe block, propelled the Bruins to a 23-18 margin. UCLA, hitting .545, then brought home set one by a score of 25-20.
In set two, the Bruins broke open a close battle by taking a 10-7 lead on an ace from setter Michael Beals. Freshman Jackson Bantle’s kill had UCLA in front 13-9. USC wiped out the lead and tied the set at 15-all forcing a timeout by Coach John Speraw. The score was then level at 20 and 21. UCLA earned a 22-21 edge and took set two 25-23 after a kill by Rowe.
UCLA quickly moved to a 5-1 lead in set three after a kill and a block by Rowe. The Trojans regrouped and UCLA needed an ace from Kersten to move in front 10-9. Back-to-back blocks from Robart Page pushed UCLA into a 16-13 lead. The Bruins enjoyed a 22-17 gap after another Rowe block and went on to post a 25-19 win.
Quiroga led UCLA with 15 kills and added a couple of aces. Page had 10 kills, five block assists and a pair of aces. Kersten finished with a block solo and a career-best seven block assists. Setter Michael Beals added three block assists.
The Bruins finally return to Pauley Pavilion with a match this Wednesday against No. 6 Long Beach State. First serve is at 7 p.m. and the contest will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks. Tickets will be available at the door.