No. 5 USC attempts to turn tide against No. 7 Pepperdine Friday

The Trojans celebrate their win against UC Irvine Jan. 26. USC had a 10-3 record on the season, but 0-1 in conference play. (Vonmay Mendoza | Daily Trojan)

USC men’s volleyball returns home to Galen Center Friday to battle Pepperdine at 7 p.m. It is the first home game for the Trojans since Feb. 10, when they defeated CSUN in straight sets. 

The match provides the Trojans with an opportunity for revenge. They lost a tight 3-2 match against the Waves in Malibu Wednesday night. 

Revenge against Pepperdine is something USC has been awaiting. The Trojans have lost six consecutive men’s matchups against the Waves. The last time they beat Pepperdine was in March 2019. 

“We’ve struggled with Pepperdine in past seasons, coming into this season as well,” said senior middle blocker Liam Schroeder in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “But I think our team is a lot stronger than it’s ever been.”

To this point, USC has put up strong results so far, with a 10-3 record going into Friday night’s matchup against Pepperdine. Wednesday night’s loss set them back in MPSF play, however, now sitting 0-1 in conference games. 

This pivotal matchup against a rival presents an opportunity for the Trojans to get on track with a conference win. 

“It’s the start of conference play in the MPSF, and I think it’s time to just buckle down and just keep grinding,” Schroeder said. 

The Waves have had more success in conference play thus far, with a 2-1 record in the MPSF. They have an overall record of 7-4. 

Pepperdine has also suffered two losses against UC Santa Barbara and a loss against UC Irvine, two teams USC has beaten multiple times this season. 

The Trojans and Waves have put up even results thus far. The two teams conveyed their equal skill in Wednesday’s night game, as the two teams matched each other point for point in a back-and-forth battle. 

There could only be one winner, unfortunately for USC, it had a few too many errors in both serving and attacking. 

“When we were down, I didn’t wanna say we were panicking, but we were definitely in an unfamiliar situation for the season so far,” Schroeder said.

To win against the Waves, cutting down on unforced errors will be key. Luckily, the Trojans have played their best when at Galen Center, holding a 6-0 unbeaten record at home this season.

In contrast, Pepperdine has not done well in opposing territory this season. The Waves have put up a 1-3 record in road games this season. 

Playing in front of Trojan fans should help the team relax on their serves and motivate them  to turn the tide on the Waves. 

“We’ll have our home court and some fans at our next game,” Schroeder said. “I’m very confident that we’ll play our game and not worry too much about our last loss.” 

The matchup will start at 7 p.m. Friday at Galen Center.