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USC Falls to No. 7 Utah in Hard-Fought Five-Setter

Feb 14, 2021

Box Score | Highlights | Boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY – The USC women's volleyball team (1-5, 1-5 Pac-12), with more of its lineup assembled, pushed seventh-ranked Utah (8-0, 8-0) to five sets before suffering its fourth straight loss. Set scores were 24-26, 25-19, 25-18, 24-26, 15-13, for the Utes, who remain undefeated as the Pac-12 favorite. 
 
KEY PLAYERS

  • Sr. OH Brooke Botkin put up a season-high 21 kills (8e, 57att) and hit .228 to go with 12 digs for her fifth straight double-double and the 23rd of her career. Botkin also had four blocks (two solo). 
  • So. OPP Emilia Weske contributed 13 kills and had four blocks.
  • So. MB Aleksandra Gryka put up 10 kills (22att) and hit .455 without an error, with seven blocks (one solo) and six digs.
  • Sr. MB Candice Denny scored 11 kills (6e, 21att, .238) and had four blocks.
  • Jr. setter Raquel Lázaro put up 46 assists with 10 digs for her third straight double-double and the 35th of her career.
  • On defense, Fr. LIB Sam Hastings posted 18 digs with five assists and So. DS Sophia Theriot had a season-best 10 digs.
  • For Utah, Dani Drews recorded a double-double with 21 kills (9e, 58att, .207) and 14 digs. Kenzie Koerber had 14 kills (6e, 38att, .211) with three aces. Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres had the double-double with 45 assists and 17 digs.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The Trojans weathered 12 tie scores and seized set point in the first at 24-21, but the Utes fought back to tie the score at 24-all. USC completed the 26-24 win with five blocks and by holding Utah to a -.025 hitting percentage (10k, 11e, 40att).
  • Utah controlled much of the second set, but USC chipped away until it closed the gap to one point at 18-17. The Utes regrouped and came out with a 7-2 run to even the match on a 25-19 win.
  • USC held a 6-4 lead in the third before Utah roared ahead with a 6-0 run and never looked back en route to a 25-18 win. Despite six kills from Botkin and four more blocks, the Utes served tough to get four aces and kept the Trojans out of synch. USC never came any closer than within a point before Utah pulled away at the end.
  • The Trojans opened up a five-point lead in the fourth and threatened to push to a fifth set when they led, 18-13, but the Utes never backed down and came all the way back to tie the score at 22-all. Botkin scored five more kills kin the set and helped the Women of Troy get to set five on another 26-24 victory.
  • The fifth set was tied 10 times, the last of which was at 10-all, before Utah went ahead for good. USC saved one set point but came up just short as the Utes completed the 3-2 win, 15-13, in the final set. 

UP NEXT

  • USC returns to California and heads north to the Bay Area to take on California at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. Matches are set for Friday (Feb. 19) at 7 p.m. PT and Saturday (Feb. 20) at 3 p.m.

MATCH NOTES

  • USC fell to 18-8 all-time against Utah and to 8-4 against the Utes in Salt Lake City.
  • Utah extended its series-long winning streak against the Trojans to five straight and has won six of the last eight.
  • The Trojans fell to 29-6 all-time in the state of Utah and to 12-4 all-time in Salt Lake City.
  • USC's 1-5 start is its worst since 1986 when the Trojans were 2-32 and lost nine straight to open the season. The Trojans' four-match losing streak is the team's longest since it lost four straight to end the 2016 season (Nov. 19-Dec. 2).
  • The Trojans fell to 0-3 on the season in five-set matches and to 140-93 in all-time five-setters.

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.