LOS ANGELES -- GCU didn't make things easy for
No. 7 USC at Galen Center Thursday.
The Antelopes (14-21) lost 3-0, but had leads in each contest against last year's national runner-up and four-time national champ, in dropping sets 30-27, 30-20, 30-26.
In the first set, GCU led 7-6 on a kill from freshman Connor Dougherty (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and after trailing 21-17, rallied to tie it 22-22. Dougherty had five first-set kills. Frosh setter Brad Moore (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) had 14 assists.
A Dougherty kill and USC attack error put the Antelopes ahead 10-8 in the second set. The Trojans answered with the next four points. GCU couldn't catch up. Moore had nine assists and a block assist in the set.
GCU's best set was the third, scoring the game's first four points. Sophomore Brock Hutchins (Gilbert, Ariz./Highland/Hawai'i) had two kills and combined on a block with Dougherty. GCU led as much as 7-2. USC came back to lead 11-10, but back-to-back kills from Hutchins tied it, 20-20. Hutchins had four kills and two blocks in the third.
Dougherty finished with 13 kills and a .391 attack percentage. Hutchins had 11 kills. Moore had 36 assists and freshman libero Trent Bruns (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) had 11 digs.
USC improved to 11-9.
GCU returns to Antelope Gym April 1-2 for a pair of 7 p.m. matches against MIVA leader Loyola-Chicago.