USC Women's Volleyball Hits Cactus Path For Cataclysmic Cat Clash
LOS ANGELES – The USC women's volleyball team (4-8, 4-8 Pac-12) treks to the desert for two duels with Arizona (9-9. 9-9) this week; the final two regular-season road contests on the Trojans' schedule.
MATCH #13 • Friday, March 26 • 6 p.m. PT
MATCH #14 • Sunday, March 28 • 12 p.m. PT
McKale Center • Tucson, Ariz.
USC (4-8, 4-8 Pac-12) at Arizona (9-9, 9-9 Pac-12)
SERIES RECORD: USC leads, 62-22 (.750)
LAST MEETING: W 3-1 (Sept. 28, 2019 • Galen Center)
STREAK: Won 4 • LAST 10 MEETINGS: 7-3
OPPONENT WEBSITE: ArizonaWildcats.com
- 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 to finish fifth in a preseason poll of the league's coaches.
- The Trojans are 56-25 all-time in the state of Arizona, including a 25-16 mark when they face the Wildcats in Tucson.
- USC's five five-set matches this season (1-4). Including 2019, the Trojans have played 16 five-setters over the course of the two seasons.
- Five different Women of Troy have recorded at least one double-double in their careers led by Lázaro's 37 and Botkin's 25.
- USC has had six matches canceled this season due to COVID-19 protocols. From the Pac-12, only Stanford has had more matches canceled (10).
Due to forced cancellations, the Women of Troy have played the vast majority of their spring schedule on the road, and despite the record, USC has held its own against the Pac-12's top teams. Half of the Trojans' losses have come in five sets against Utah, Oregon, and Washington.
The Trojans broke through and got their first win over a ranked opponent and their first in a five-set match in five tries when USC defeated crosstown rival UCLA on the road last Sunday. It was a big win for first-year head coach Brad Keller who used to coach the Bruins (2019) behind another gritty performance by Trojan senior OH Brooke Botkin's 25th-career double-double (23 kills, 19 digs); a 37th-career double-double by junior setter Raquel Lázaro (56 assists, 13 digs) and the first ever by junior OH Brooklyn Schirmer (16 kills, 11 digs).
LAST TIME OUT: USC split matches with crosstown rival UCLA. The Bruins claimed a four-set win at Galen Center, but the Trojans got revenge with a five-set win at Pauley Pavilion. It was the fifth five-set match for the Trojans and came after USC won the first two frames but yielded the first victory over a ranked opponent for first-year head coach Brad Keller; and came against the last team he coached (2019). Three Women of Troy contributed double-double performances led by the 25th of senior OH Brooke Botkin's career (23 kills, 19 digs). Junior setter Raquel Lázaro put up 56 assists and 13 digs for her 37th-career double-double and junior OH Brooklyn Schirmer recorded the first of her career with 16 kills and 11 digs.
DESERT DWELLERS: Seven USC letterwinners have come from the state of Arizona. OH Kalen Owes is a native of Phoenix. Two-time All-American OH Khalia Lanier (2016-19) hailed from Scottsdale, Ariz., and three-time All-American MB Emily Adams (2001-04) is from Phoenix. Yvonne Lewis (1984-87) was the first Trojan from the Copper State and the only from Tucson where she prepped at Sahuaro HS. MB Candice Denny played two seasons at Arizona (2017-18) before joining the Trojans. USC is 56-25 all-time in the state of Arizona with a 25-16 record in Tucson.
PAC-12 POW(ER)S: USC players have received Pac-12 Player of the Week honors 78 times (third most). Since 2011, when the Pac-12 began honoring separate offensive and defensive players of the week and introduced a freshman award, Trojans have earned 21 offensive awards, 11 defensive awards, and 19 freshman honors. Trojans Samantha Bricio (9), Natalie Hagglund (5), Asia Kaczor (5), and Jennifer Kessy (5) have had the most individual career selections.
DOUBLE DOWN: Five current Trojans have recorded career double-doubles. Junior setter Raquel Lázaro has logged 37 double-doubles (5 this season) and is the owner of the first and only USC triple-double in the rally scoring era (36 assists, 16 digs, 11 blocks; at Northern Iowa, Sept. 7, 2019). Senior OH Brooke Botkin has 25-career double-double matches (7 in 2020-21). Sophomore OH Kalen Owes has recorded three-career double-doubles and sophomore OPP Emilia Weske has had two-career double-double matches (one this season). Junior OH Brooklyn Schirmer joined the club with the first of her career this season.
LONG DISTANCE: The Trojans have played five sets five times (1-4) this season. In 2019, USC played five a school-record 11 times and went 4-7 in those contests. Previously, USC played nine five-set matches in a season three times (1980, 2007, 2010). In each of those seasons, the Trojans went 8-1 in five-setters. The Women of Troy are 141-94 all-time in five-set matches: 56-34 at home; 62-47 on the road; and 23-13 in neutral locations.