Around the League: Pac-12 and MPSF winter sports continue to be highly competitive
Outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen and the two-time defending national champion, No. 3 Ohio State, fell to No. 2 UCLA on Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. (Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin)
A lot has been happening in the collegiate sports world outside of Westwood. Here’s a look at what’s been happening around the league in four different sports:
Melissa Zhang, assistant Sports editor
Coach John Speraw notched his 300th career win as No. 2 UCLA (7-0) pulled out a five-set victory over two-time defending national champion No. 3 Ohio State (3-2). The Bruins hosted the AVCA Men’s College Showcase this weekend that also featured No. 8 Penn State (3-1), which toppled USC (3-4) in four sets.
UCLA will next travel to No. 3 Hawai’i (6-0) and play two matches there this weekend. No. 1 Long Beach State (7-0), another undefeated top-five team, swept Stanford (1-6) at Maples Pavilion in Stanford this weekend. The Cardinal will next travel to Long Beach, California, for a rematch against the top team in the country.
No. 5 BYU (5-1) logged two straight-set wins over Barton (0-5) this weekend at home, denying the Bulldogs a chance to earn their first win this season. No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (3-1) defeated No. 12 Pepperdine (1-2) in four sets Saturday. The Gauchos logged 52 kills with a .220 hitting percentage.
The new member of the MPSF, No. 11 Grand Canyon (6-2), fell to No. 6 UC Irvine (6-1) in five sets on Saturday. The Antelopes played at home in front of 1,379 fans – a new Antelope Gym record for volleyball.
Women’s water polo
Kelsey Angus, assistant Sports editor
It’s two weeks into the season, and the Big Four of women’s water polo – No. 3 UCLA, No. 2 USC, No. 4 California and No. 1 Stanford – remain undefeated and boast a combined 10-0 record.
Stanford have only played one game so far, but the reigning national champions dominated No. 11 UC Davis 15-3. Two-meter Katie Dudley and driver Mackenzie Fischer each scored three goals in the win.
California swept the Rainbow Invite, taking down Hawai’i, Marist and Loyola Marymount by scores of 9-4, 17-2 and 12-2, respectively.
USC has only faced Loyola Marymount, a shared opponent with both UCLA and California, and came out with a 18-0 shutout.
Trojan utility Maud Megens was named the MPSF Player of the Week and Paige Hauschild earned MPSF Newcomer of the Week honors.
Melissa Zhang, assistant Sports editor
The No. 6 Bruins (3-0) have started off the 2018 season with three 7-0 sweeps. They will next play the Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0) on Tuesday, and are ranked one spot behind the No. 5 USC Trojans (1-0), who started off their campaign with a 6-1 win over UC Davis this weekend.
Both UCLA and LMU, along with USC, will compete at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend this Saturday and Sunday that will be hosted at USC’s Marks Tennis Stadium.
Arizona (3-1) finished their weekend doubleheader with a win over Abilene Christian and a loss to Oklahoma. The Wildcats previously swept their matches Wednesday against Arizona Christian University and Ottawa University Arizona.
Utah (4-0) hosted four teams in its opening weekend, and logged wins in their matches against Montana State, Weber State, Utah State and Idaho State. The Utes will next attend the Harvard Kick-Off, held this weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ryan Smith, assistant Sports editor
No. 13 UCLA women’s basketball (15-4, 6-2 Pac-12) is now second place in the Pac-12, just two weeks after being eighth. Over the weekend, the Bruins completed the season sweep of No. 23 California (14-5, 5-3) and avenged an earlier loss to Stanford with a 64-53 win Sunday.
Senior forward Monique Billings was named Pac-12 Player of the Week after etching her name into the record books. She became the third player in UCLA women’s basketball history to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds, as well as the 14th in Pac-12 history.
No. 7 Oregon (18-3, 7-1) lost its first conference game of the season, falling to No. 17 Oregon State (14-5, 5-3) 85-79 in Corvallis, Oregon, on Friday. Despite the loss, the Ducks remain atop the Pac-12.
Stanford is tied with UCLA for second place in the conference, after having their three-game win streak snapped at Pauley Pavilion. Behind them is a four-way tie for fourth place.