USC Women's Volleyball Closes Regular Season With Cardinal and Bruins
LOS ANGELES – The USC women's volleyball team (14-14, 9-9 Pac-12) completes its regular-season schedule as host to traditional rivals No. 18 Stanford (16-10, 11-7) and No. 13 UCLA (22-4, 15-3) at Galen Center this week. The Trojans—currently on a four-match win streak—need to win one more match to guarantee postseason eligibility. Two victories and a six-match streak would position the Women of Troy for an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament. USC is solidly entrenched in seventh place in the Pac-12 standings after earning their first 4-0 regular-season sweep of the Arizona schools over the weekend.
MATCH #29 • Wednesday, November 24 • 4 p.m. PT
USC (14-14, 9-9) vs. No. 18 Stanford (16-10, 11-7)
Galen Center • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES RECORD: USC trails, 26-67-1 (.277)
LAST MEETING: L 1-3 (Nov. 15, 2019 • Stanford, Calif.)
STREAK: Lost 8 • LAST 10 MEETINGS: 1-9
WEB STREAM: Pac-12 Insider/USC Live Stream (Mark Beltran)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: GoStanford.com
MATCH #30 • Friday, November 26 • 7 p.m. PT
USC (14-14, 9-9) vs. No. 13 UCLA (22-4, 15-3)
Galen Center • Los Angeles, Calif.
SERIES RECORD: USC leads, 60-57 (.513)
LAST MEETING: L 1-3 (Sept. 22, 2021 • Los Angeles, Calif.)
STREAK: Lost 1 • LAST 10 MEETINGS: 4-6
LIVE TV: P12N (Anne Marie Anderson & Holly McPeak)
OPPONENT WEBSITE: UCLABruins.com
- USC is under the direction of second-year head coach Brad Keller who has also served as an assistant coach for the USC men's volleyball team.
- Gr. OH Brooke Botkin was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in kills (396 kills) and points (434.5).
- Fr. S Mia Tuaniga was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (Nov. 22) and ranks 10th in the league for assists (693) and assists per set (8.15 aps).
- USC is the only Pac-12 team with three players in the top 10 for hitting percentage: Gr. MB Candice Denny sixth (.366), Fr. MB Tyrah Ariail seventh (.360), and Gr. MB Sabrina Smith ninth (.353).
- The Trojans are 7-6 in home matches this season and are 178-51 (.777) all-time at Galen Center since the arena opened in 2006.
- The Women of Troy are alone in seventh place in the Pac-12 standings.
- USC and Stanford have not met since 2019 due to last season's COVID-19 cancellations. The Cardinal has won eight straight over the Trojans and while USC is 15-23 all-time against Stanford at home, the last win came in 2013.
- Last season, USC and UCLA split with the road team victorious each time.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans extended their winning streak to four matches to equal the longest run of the season. USC earned a 3-0 sweep of Arizona and then took down Arizona State in four sets to complete the team's first 4-0 regular season sweep of the Arizona schools since 2015. The Women of Troy then faced Ivy League champion Brown in a non-conference match-up and defeated the Bears in straight sets to improve to 14-14 on the season. OH Brooke Botkin had double-digit kills in all three matches and registered a career-high .591 hitting percentage in USC's win over the Wildcats. She also moved ahead into sole possession of 11th place in school history for career kills in the Trojans' win over Brown. S Mia Tuaniga dished out 60 assists against the Sun Devils in just four sets of action and helped the Trojans hit .366 and .315 in the two wins. LIB Shannon Scully posted her 23rd match of the season with double-digit digs.
SET FOR SUCCESS: Setter Mia Tuaniga earned her first Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award on Nov. 22 following a weekend when she set the Trojans to .366 and .315 hitting percentages for wins over Arizona and ASU. Tuaniga had 28 assists in the sweep of the Wildcats and went off for 60 assists in a four-set win against the Sun Devils. It was the 20th time a USC player earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors since the conference instituted the award in 2011; and was the first for a Trojan since Kalen Owes was chosen on Sept. 26, 2019.
BRIGHT FUTURE: USC signed a trio of highly coveted prep athletes to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 10. OPP/S Adonia Faumuina (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS), OH Jordan Middleton (Phoenix, Ariz./Hamilton HS), and LIB Gala Trubint (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch HS) will join the Women of Troy for the 2022 season. Middleton is the nation's No. 2-ranked recruit and Faumuina comes in at No. 7 on PrepVolleyball.com's recruiting rankings. Trubint rates 90th and the trio comprises the publication's No. 1-ranked recruiting class of 2022. All three signees will represent USC as Under Armour All-Americans and both Middleton and Trubint were named to the AVCA's High School All-America first team. USC pulled in the nation's No. 2-ranked recruiting classes in 2013 and 2014 but has earned the top spot for the first time since 2010 when its class included three All-Americans in LIB Natalie Hagglund, OH Falyn Fonoimoana, and MB Alexis Olgard to go with Kirby Burnham, Sam Hirschmann, and Sara Shaw.
SHARP-SHOOTERS: USC is the only Pac-12 team with three players in the league's top 10 for hitting percentage. Gr. MB Candice Denny ranks sixth (.366), Fr. MB Tyrah Ariail ranks seventh at .360, and Gr. MB Sabrina Smith is ninth with a .353 percentage. No other team is represented by two individuals. Stanford (No. 12 and 14) and Washington State (No. 5 and 15) each have two players within the top 15, but only one of those four players ranks within the top 10.
AGREE TO DISAGREE: The Women of Troy lead the all-time series with rival UCLA by a 60-57 margin. Ask someone in blue and gold and they'll tell you otherwise. The Bruins claim to lead the series, 68-59, but how? UCLA's program, which started in 1972, is several years older than the one at USC, which began in 1976. The Bruins earned a handful of victories over the Trojans before the Women of Troy officially started a varsity program. In those four seasons, the Bruins racked up 11 wins against USC's club team, which are included in UCLA's all-time record.
CROSSTOWN CONNECTIONS: USC head coach Brad Keller has the unique distinction of having coached both the men's and women's volleyball programs at both USC and UCLA. Prior to his arrival at USC, he served one season (2019) as UCLA's associate head coach. USC technical coordinator Virginia Pham graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2015 and served three seasons as a student assistant for several of the Bruins' volleyball programs. Trojan graduate MB Sabrina Smith played three seasons (redshirt in 2017) at UCLA and received her bachelor's degree in psychology in May 2021 before transferring to USC for her graduate studies. UCLA assistant coach Eric Barber served as USC's volunteer assistant coach during the 2018 season.