Sunday, February 23

Around the League: Winter sports open with strong matchups and sweeping wins

The Bruins came into this season projected to win the Pac-12 and are ranked fifth nationally. The No. 4 Utes kicked off their season with a win over Brigham Young behind standout performances from Mykayla Skinner and MaKenna Merrell-Giles. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

Men’s volleyball

Melissa Zhang, Assistant Sports editor

No. 3 UCLA (3-0) is currently the highest ranked MPSF team in the NCAA, coming in behind Ohio State (1-0) and Long Beach State (4-0). The Bruins swept nonconference opponents McKendree and King in the Wooden Men’s Classic this weekend.

No. 13 Grand Canyon (3-0) has also started off the season undefeated, after recently being added to the conference along with Concordia this season to replace six teams that left to form the new men’s volleyball Big West Conference. Concordia’s first game will take place this weekend against Springfield College.

No. 6 BYU (1-1) took down No. 11 Lewis (0-2) in four sets this weekend, with the Cougars’ 10 blocks overpowering the Flyers’ 3.5. Outside hitter Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga led BYU offensively with 13 kills after the Cougars lost their season opener to No. 13 Loyola-Chicago in five sets.

UC Santa Barbara (2-1) swept Stanford (0-3) at Robertson Gymnasium in Santa Barbara on Saturday night, with each Gaucho starter logging between four and nine kills. The Cardinal struggled offensively, hitting .165 overall. They dropped to Saint Francis in four sets and Princeton in five sets Friday, two games that were as part of the UCSB Asics Invitational.

No. 4 Hawai’i (3-0) swept No. 12 USC (3-1) on Saturday as part of the Texaco Rainbow Warrior Classic, led by outside hitter Stijn Van Tilburg’s 14 kills. The Rainbow Warriors outhit the Trojans .479 to .207 and outdug them 24 to 17. Hawai’i hasn’t dropped a single set since it kicked off the 2018 season.


Kelsey Angus, Assistant Sports editor

No. 5 UCLA topped the Pac-12 women’s gymnastics preseason poll, beating out Utah by just three points. However, the Utes are still ranked higher than the Bruins in the NCAA polls.

No. 4 Utah (1-0) opened its season with a 197.000-194.275 win over BYU (0-1), marking the third time in history the Utes broached the 197-point threshold in their season opener.

NCAA all-around runner-up and floor exercise champion MyKayla Skinner tied MaKenna Merrell-Giles to win the all-around, with both posting scores of 39.475.

Women’s basketball
Ryan Smith, Assistant Sports editor

No. 14 UCLA rounded out its first week of Pac-12 play at 2-2 after splitting a two-game home stand with Oregon and Oregon State over the weekend. The Bruins took on three ranked teams in that time, with the only nonranked opponent being a road game at Stanford .

Despite a loss to the Ducks on Sunday, senior forward Monique Billings has been red-hot, posting a double-double in four of her last five games.

Next, the Bruins will head out onto the road for match-ups with Utah and Colorado this weekend.

No. 8 Oregon, who snapped UCLA’s 20-game home winning streak against Pac-12 opponents Sunday night, currently sit atop the conference standings at 4-0. They are 15-2 on the season.

The only other unbeaten team in the Pac-12 is No. 18 Arizona State, who also finished the opening week of conference play at 4-0. However, they have only faced one ranked team in Pac-12 play – No. 23 California.

Melissa Zhang
Assistant Sports editor

Angus is an assistant Sports editor. She was previously a reporter for the women's water polo, women's volleyball and men's volleyball beats.

Sports Senior Staff

Smith is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the football and men's basketball beats. He was the 2018-2019 Sports editor and an assistant Sports editor in 2017-2018. Smith was previously on the women's basketball, men's water polo, baseball, men's golf and women's golf beats.

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