Trojans Trek to Salt Lake for Double Against No. 7 Utah
LOS ANGELES – The USC women's volleyball team (1-3, 1-3 Pac-12) looks to end a two-match skid as the Trojans head to Salt Lake City for two contests against seventh-ranked Utah (6-0, 6-0) this weekend. The Women of Troy, under the direction of first-year head coach Brad Keller, dropped a pair of hard-fought five-set matches at home last week and want to avoid a three-match streak, but will have to do it against the Pac-12 favorite. Utah was chosen to win the league title in a poll of the conference head coaches. USC was picked to finish fifth. The Utes represent the first ranked foe the Trojans will face this season. Due to travel concerns with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pac-12 programs are scheduled to play a league-only schedule in which teams will face the same opponent twice each weekend. The Women of Troy had two players voted to the Pac-12 preseason all-conference team: senior outside hitter Brooke Botkin and junior setter Raquel Lázaro.
LAST TIME OUT: USC played its first two home matches of the Brad Keller era but fell in equally hard-fought five-set decisions to Oregon. The losses dropped the Trojans to 1-3 on the season. It was the third consecutive time that USC and Oregon went to five sets; all played at Galen Center. Senior outside hitter Brooke Botkin led USC with her fourth straight double-double to start the season while junior setter Raquel Lázaro put up two double-doubles against the Ducks. Freshman libero Sam Hastings had back-to-back 20-dig matches including a season-high 25 in the first of the two with Oregon. The Trojans led, 2-1, in the first match and had match point once in the fourth set. USC also claimed leads in the fifth before the Ducks fought back to win, 15-8, each time. The losses put the Trojans at 169-44 all-time at Galen Center and gave the Ducks the upper hand in seven of the last nine meetings.
- The Women of Troy are under the direction of first-year head coach Brad Keller who previously served as an assistant coach for the Men of Troy.
- Sr. OH Brooke Botkin and Jr. S Raquel Lázaro were each chosen to the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team.
- USC was picked top finish fifth in a preseason poll of the league's coaches.
- The Trojans are 18-6 all-time against the Utes but are just 5-5 in the last 10 meetings. USC is 8-2 all-time against Utah in Salt Lake City with the two losses coming in 2014 and 2019.
- USC is 29-4 all-time in the Beehive State and is 12-2 in Salt Lake City.
- Brooke Botkin has posted a double-double in each of the Trojans' first four matches this season and has 22 such matches in her career. Raquel Lázaro leads all current Trojans with 34-career double-doubles.
- The Women of Troy look to snap a three-match losing streak to the Utes; Utah's longest in the series' history.
- USC also seeks to avoid its first 1-4 start to a season since 1986 when the Women of Troy went 2-32 overall and lost nine straight to begin the season.
This season, the Pac-12 will play a 22-match Conference-only schedule as its 2020 season, which began on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. 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.
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.