Top moments from this year’s Crosstown Cup

USC baseball players tosses his bat and starts running to first base.
USC baseball won a home series against the Bruins for the first time in 18 years and clinched the series in dramatic fashion with a walk-off win. (Louis Chen | Daily Trojan)

As the city of Los Angeles hosts two highly competitive athletic institutions in USC and UCLA, the Crosstown Cup was created back in 2001 to determine which school’s athletics were stronger during that particular year. Points are awarded to both schools throughout the head-to-head matchups: 10 points for a win, 5 points for a tie and 0 points for a loss. The school with the most amount of points at the conclusion of athletic competition is crowned the winner.

The Trojans reclaimed the Crosstown Cup this year 105-85, ultimately beating the Bruins 17-16 in head-to-head competition across the 19 sports that both schools play. While there are too many highlights to note, there are a handful that stand out:

Football beats UCLA 48-45 in dramatic fashion

Over the last eight years, the Trojans have beaten the Bruins six times, making USC’s all-time record against UCLA 50-33-7. Despite starting this year’s game down 14 points, the Trojans stormed back and went into halftime with a one-point deficit. Although the Bruins got a field goal shortly after the start of the second half, USC countered by scoring two back-to-back touchdowns in a three-minute span to go ahead 34-24 with momentum on its side.

In the game’s final minutes, UCLA forced USC to punt the ball away with just 2:21 remaining, giving the Bruins a chance to tie the game or take the lead. However, the Trojans’ defense, which had already forced redshirt senior UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson into three turnovers on the night, intercepted him again to seal the deal for the Trojans.

Thanks to sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams’ career-high 470 passing yards and redshirt senior running back Austin Jones’ then-season-high 120 rushing yards, the Trojans were able to beat the Bruins by three points.  

Women’s water polo dominates UCLA over three-game season series

Throughout another successful campaign for USC women’s water polo, the Trojans took down the Bruins three times on their way to an NCAA championship appearance. The first of three matchups occurred in Irvine, during which the Trojans beat the Bruins 10-8 in a tight overtime matchup, crowning them Triton Invitational champions. 

In its second matchup against UCLA, during the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in San Diego, USC won 13-10, led by 2-meter redshirt junior Tilly Kearns and redshirt junior driver Alejandra Aznar, who had seven goals combined. 

In their final matchup against the Bruins this season, the Trojans won convincingly by a score of 14-9 in their rival’s aquatic center, leaving no doubt they were the better team this year. Once again, Kearns contributed heavily on the offensive end with five goals, but redshirt senior driver Paige Hauschild led the Trojans in assists with six and added three goals.

Season sweep by men’s tennis

USC men’s tennis, like women’s water polo, completed a season sweep over UCLA, winning three times by a score of 12-0 across all three matches. Starting their season off strong, the Trojans beat UCLA 4-0 to punch their ticket to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championship. A month later, the Trojans repeated the same outcome, dominantly beating the Bruins 4-0. 

Toward the end of the season, the Trojans beat UCLA one last time before they went on to win the Pac-12 regular season championship and, eventually, the Pac-12 tournament in late April. Although USC was led by veterans senior Stefan Dostanic and graduate student Bradley Frye, the performances put on by sophomores Ryan Colby, Peter Makk and Wojtek Marek helped push the Trojans to yet another championship-winning season.

Women’s soccer upsets No. 1 UCLA

In its first victory over UCLA since 2015, USC women’s soccer took down the No. 1 Bruins 2-0 in a game that crushed the Bruins’ hopes of a Pac-12 title. The win pushed the Trojans into the postseason with a 4-0 record against ranked opponents.

USC got off to a fast start, with redshirt senior defender Kaylin Martin putting the ball in the back of the net in the 15th minute off an assist from sophomore defender Kayla Colbert. Just 14 minutes later, junior midfielder Zoe Burns put the Trojans up two goals after slotting home a penalty kick.   

The Trojans survived the Bruins’ attack thanks to graduate student Anna Smith’s phenomenal goalkeeping. Smith had five saves as USC shut out the Bruins, something it hadn’t done since 2015.

Baseball wins series at home against UCLA for the first time since 2005

Although the Bruins won the series opener 9-3, USC bounced back and won the second game 5-1 when senior infielder Johnny Olmstead starred and went 2-3 with a home run and two RBI. With the series tied 1-1,  the Trojans had a chance to win home a series against UCLA for the first time since 2005. 

Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the game was tied at 5 apiece and senior outfielder Cole Gabrielson stepped up to the plate as the Trojans’ last batter before extra innings. With the count at 5-5, Gabrielson smashed one just over the right outfielder, giving the Trojans the run they needed to secure the win at a sold-out Dedeaux Field. 

The Trojans and Bruins had many fierce battles this season, but with both teams heading to the Big Ten conference in 2024, this upcoming season will be the last time the two teams face off against each other in the Pac-12.