Women’s volleyball is currently on a five-game losing streak and has only won five of its last 20 sets. USC’s latest losses came last weekend against Colorado and No. 16 Utah.
Now, USC travels to Eugene and Corvallis to take on No. 17 Oregon and Oregon State this weekend.
Although the team is currently struggling, Head Coach Brad Keller recently finished up a strong 2022 recruiting class. On Wednesday, which was National Signing Day, USC completed an elite recruiting cycle, and inked commitments from three top prospects in the country. The big commitments came from outside hitter Jordan Middleton — the No. 2 ranked recruit in the 2022 class —, right-side hitter Adonia Faumuina and libero Gala Trubint.
“Jordan has grown immensely from the time we began recruiting her and has shown the ability to dominate a match from anywhere on the court,” said Keller in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “She brings athleticism, intensity and a winning mentality that is infectious. Jordan also exemplifies the values we put on family. We anticipate and expect Jordan will have an immediate impact for us.”
Faumuina and Trubint are ranked No. 7 and No. 90, adding some depth to the class.
“I feel absolutely fantastic about it,” Keller said. “We signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Great kids, great people, the whole thing. Looking forward to that group coming in and having an impact for us.”
With matchups against a pair of Oregon schools coming up this week, Keller said that minor tweaks have been made, but overall things are the same as always.
“We actually practiced a little bit more this week, we’re a little bit more fresh this week,” he said. “We worked on a little more specific things that pertain to Oregon and Oregon State, but, other than that, it’s same as usual for us for preparation purposes.”
USC played both the Ducks and Beavers once this season. The Trojans’ last win came on Oct. 22 when they beat Oregon State 3 sets to 1 at Galen Center.
Two days later, however, USC lost a tight one to Oregon at Galen Center after it took the Ducks to five sets, but ultimately fell short 16-14 in the fifth set to seal the loss. Oregon was ranked No. 16 at the time.
Oregon State comes off a loss against Stanford but faces UCLA Friday before USC. Oregon, on the other hand, has won four of its last five matches.
USC won’t have home court advantage this weekend, but that hasn’t been an issue in the past against Oregon teams. Since 2015, USC has a 10-1 record in the state. This season, however, the Trojans are 5-6 in away matches.
With a current record of 10-13, Keller recognizes how the significance of these two upcoming games.
“We gotta go 5-1 in order to be eligible for the NCAA tournament, and the goal will always be to make A) the NCAA tournament and B) to make deep runs to compete for national championships, and no matter what the record is, that’s always gonna be the case,” he said. “We’re always gonna be working towards that goal.”
The next steps to achieving those goals will come this weekend in Eugene and Corvallis.
“We’ll take it one point at a time, one game at a time, and we’re just gonna try to do our best against Oregon coming here first,” Keller said.
USC will face Oregon Friday at 4 p.m. and Oregon State Sunday at noon.