Unranked USC Men’s Volleyball Upsets No. 6 UCLA In Season Opener
LOS ANGELES — Billy Fauntleroy had a match-high 18 kills and Brandon Browning added 16 kills to help the unranked USC men's volleyball team, playing its 2021 season opener after a 2-week COVID-related delay, post a road upset at No. 6 UCLA, 30-28, 32-30, 19-25, 26-24, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Saturday (Feb. 13).
The Trojans' season was delayed 2 weeks because of COVID-19 issues in the program, causing their first 3 originally-scheduled matches to be postponed and practices to be paused for 10 days.
It was USC's first win at UCLA since 2014. It was the fifth time that USC opened a season against UCLA, but the first time the Trojans prevailed. It also was the fifth consecutive year that the Trojans opened their season with a victory.
UCLA fell to 2-2 overall and in the MPSF.
Fauntleroy added 7 digs and Browning hit .393. Vecas Lewin had 9 kills for USC, Lucas Frassrand had 7 blocks and 6 kills while hitting .400, Cole Paxson had a match-best 12 digs and Chris Hall dished 49 assists.
Sam Kobrine led UCLA with 14 kills, Ethan Champlin had 13 kills, Austin Matautia had 9 kills and 5 blocks and Cole Pender had 8 assists.
USC hit .246 in the match to UCLA's .175.
USC jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the first set before UCLA tied it at 18-18, then neither team had more than a 1-point lead until the Trojans staved off 3 match points and used a Bruin service error followed by a Bruin hitting error to claim the set while hitting .360 and getting 5 blocks.
In the second set, USC built an 8-3 lead and kept the lead to 24-21 before UCLA tied it 24-24, then the Trojans held off a couple of match points until a Lewin kill followed by a pair of Bruin hitting errors gave Troy the set (USC hit .349).
USC held a 7-5 edge in the third set but UCLA scored 9 of the next 13 points to go up 14-11 and then pulled away.
The Trojans were up 8-4 in the fourth set before UCLA tied it at 14-14 and then the Bruins moved ahead 19-17, but soon after USC went on a 4-point run to take a 22-20 lead only to see UCLA tie it at 24-24 before a Fauntleroy kill and a Bruin attack error gave Troy the match.
The teams will meet twice more next week at USC, on Thursday (Feb. 18) and then on Saturday (Feb. 20). Both matches will start at 5 p.m. in the Galen Center. The Saturday match was originally USC's opener on Jan. 30 before it was rescheduled due to Troy's COVID issues. Fans are not allowed at USC home matches this season because of COVID state, county and city health and safety protocols.