USC will host Oregon State at the Galen Center for a Pac-12 conference matchup Friday.
The Trojans currently stand with an overall record of 9-8 and conference record of 5-3, placing them seventh in the Pac-12 conference. The Beavers stand with an overall record of 3-15 and conference record of 1-7.
Just this past weekend, USC traveled eastward and delivered a statement sweep to both Arizona schools, Arizona State and University of Arizona, who are 3-2 and 3-1, respectively. With these additional victories, the Trojans now hold a three-game winning streak.
The Beavers currently rank second to last place in the conference standings; however, the Trojans are far from relaxed as they prepare for them.
Even though they have high hopes for continuing this streak, the team is focusing on one game at a time.
“It will always, always be about the next team,” said Head Coach Brad Keller. “It is about Oregon State. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but at the end of the day, you start getting ahead of yourself and you start losing perspective on all that you’re trying to do. So, for a lot of us, it was about getting the proper rest, having a good mindset today and having a good game plan for Oregon State.”
Now, as USC moves into the second half of the season, Keller made lineup changes to find the best fit for the team. Junior outside hitter Kalen Owes entered the game against Arizona State to cause a reverse sweep in favor of the Trojans.
“We have a lot of new faces, and we’re trying to figure out in one year’s time how to get to know one another,” Keller said. “That doesn’t happen overnight like people think. It takes time. So, I think we have been through a lot of different lineups which tells you that we’re open to whatever it takes to win, and this is a team effort and at the same time, we’re starting to get closer to a solidified lineup.”
To come out on top this weekend, USC needs to focus on minimizing their unforced errors. In past matches, the Trojans struggled at the service line, giving away a total of 27 points in the two matches in Arizona.
Regardless of their standing, the Beavers will put forth all efforts to capitalize on service errors, so the Trojans plan to be diligent with limiting their errors and place more emphasis on their consistency, according to graduate student outside hitter Brooke Botkin.
“Consistency is getting more common,” Botkin said. “I feel that each game we are getting more consistent with our numbers and staying consistent all the way through to the end.”
With the end of the scheduled season on the horizon, the Trojans project what needs to happen in the coming moments.
“Honestly, it’s about winning games,” Keller said. “This team has been through a lot, but at some point, you either believe in this or you don’t, and I think this team is starting to believe and we’re starting to go in the right direction. So, it’s about gritting through tough situations and winning games.”
The Trojans will play the Beavers this Friday at the Galen Center at 7 p.m. and Oregon at 1 p.m.