Brooke Botkin, Raquel Lázaro Named to Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 announced its 2020 Women's Volleyball Preseason All-Conference team and coaches poll on Wednesday, Jan. 20. In a poll of the league's 12 head coaches, USC senior outside hitter Brooke Botkin (Houston, Texas) and junior setter Raquel Lázaro (Málaga, Spain) were each named to the preseason all-conference team and the Trojans as a team were picked to finish fifth in the final standings under first-year head coach Brad Keller.
For the first time in the program's Pac-12 history, Utah was voted as the preseason favorite for the upcoming 2020 season to be held during the winter and spring of 2021. The Utes secured nine first-place votes and totaled 119 points for their highest preseason poll position since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. Utah's previous high was fourth in 2017.
Only two points separated second place through fourth place. 2019 league runner-up Washington was voted second (100 points), reigning Pac-12 champion Stanford was picked third (99 points), and UCLA was slotted at fourth (98 points). Each team received one first-place vote. USC (81 points) and Washington State (71 points) completed the top half of the preseason poll at fifth and sixth respectively. Oregon (59 points) was picked to finish seventh and was followed by Colorado (51), Arizona State (41), Arizona (34), California (26), and Oregon State (13).
Among players named to the preseason all-conference team, returning AVCA first-team All-American Dani Drews of Utah and 2019 Pac-12 Player of the Year Mac May of UCLA headlined the 14-player list.
Botkin was chosen for Pac-12 preseason honors for the second straight season. She was a 2018 AVCA All-America second-team choice and was a member of the 2018 Pac-12 All-Conference Team. Lázaro was 2018's Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and received AVCA All-America honorable mention status. Lázaro was also a Pac-12 preseason all-conference choice in 2019 and was an all-league honorable mention choice at season's end.
The Pac-12 will play a 22-match Conference-only schedule for 2020 beginning on Friday, Jan. 22. All volleyball competitions will be conducted in accordance with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee health and safety recommendations and guidelines available at Pac-12.com/health.
USC is in its first season under the direction of first-year head coach Brad Keller, who was hired in January of 2020. Last season (2019), USC faced one of the nation's toughest schedules and finished the with an 18-14 overall record despite myriad injuries and changes to the Trojans' lineup. The Women of Troy went 11-9 in the Pac-12 and landed in sixth place. USC received an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament and made its 37th all-time appearance in the tourney (29th consecutive) where the Trojans advanced to the second round before falling to top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Baylor. Outside hitter Khalia Lanier was honored as an AVCA second-team All-American.
For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/WVB. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.