Pac-12 Serves Its Way Into New Era

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A new era is set to begin this weekend with the start of the 2011 volleyball campaign. With the additions of COLORADO and UTAH, the new Pac-12 Conference becomes official as teams open non-conference action.

A Pac-12/Big Ten clash is slated for the weekend opener at the AVCA Showcase hosted by the Nittany Lions. Pac-12 teams will have the first crack at the four-time NCAA Champions, the first two of three possible matchups against PSU.

Five Pac-12 teams enter the 2010 campaign ranked in the AVCA Preseason Poll. The Trojans were tabbed No. 2 in the nation, with 2010 NCAA Finalist CALIFORNIA coming in third. STANFORD (6), WASHINGTON (7) and UCLA (11) were also ranked.

The Pac-12 is coming of one of its most successful seasons, sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament, with four teams advancing to the regional finals. CAL and USC were national semifinalists, while the Golden Bears fell short of the national title.

The Conference welcomes back a wealth of talent in 2011, with eight AVCA All-Americans making a return to the court. The league is also very young, with 65 percent of the players being freshmen and sophomores, including 13 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 recruits.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Fri., Aug. 26
Arizona vs. Wichita State (1): 5 p.m. HT
Denver at Arizona State (2): 7:30 p.m. PT
UC Riverside at California (3): 7 p.m. PT
Colorado vs. UNLV (4): 11 a.m. MT
Colorado vs. UC Davis (4): 4 p.m. MT
Oregon at Penn State (5): 7 p.m. ET
Oregon State vs. DePaul (6): 10 a.m. MT
Oregon State at Wyoming (6): 2:30 p.m. MT
UCLA vs. Quinnipiac (7): 4 p.m. PT
USC vs. Minnesota (5): 6 p.m. ET
Weber State at Utah (8): 7 p.m. MT
Washington vs. Prairie View A&M (9): 5 p.m. PT
Washington State vs. Santa Clara (10): 1 p.m. PT

Sat., Aug. 27
Arizona vs. San Francisco (1): 5 p.m. HT
Milwaukee at Arizona State (2): 12 p.m. PT
San Jose State at Arizona State (2): 7:30 p.m. PT
Fairfield at California (3): 11 a.m. PT
Florida International at California (3): 7 p.m. PT
Oregon vs. Minnesota (5): 5:30 p.m. ET
Oregon State vs. South Dakota (6): 10 a.m. MT
Oregon State vs. Gonzaga (6): 6 p.m. MT
Stanford vs. Delaware (11): 4 p.m. CT
UCLA vs. Cal State Fullerton (7): 12:30 p.m. PT
UCLA at Loyola Marymount (7): 7:30 p.m. PT
USC at Penn State (5): 8 p.m. ET
Cal State Northridge at Utah (8): 12 p.m. MT
Northwestern at Utah (8): 7 p.m. MT
Washington vs. UMBC (9): 12 p.m. PT
Washington at Long Beach State (9): 7 p.m. PT
Washington State vs. Eastern Washington (10): 11 a.m. PT
Washington State at Seattle University (11): 7 p.m. PT

Sun., Aug. 28
Arizona at Hawai'i (1): 5 p.m. HT
Northern Colorado at Colorado: 4 p.m. MT
Stanford at Rice (11): 1 p.m. CT

1 - Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational, Honolulu, Hawai'i; 2 - Arizona State Tournament, Tempe, Ariz.; 3 - Cal Molten Classic, Berkeley, Calif.; 4 - Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic, Greeley, Colo.; 5 - AVCA Showcase, State College, Pa.; 6 - UniWyo Wyoming Invite, Laramie, Wyo.; 7 - LMU Invitational, Los Angeles, Calif.; 8 - Utah Classic, Salt Lake City, Utah; 9 - Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational, Long Beach, Calif.; 10 - Seattle University Tournament, Seattle, Wash.; 11 - Rice Nike Invitational, Houston, Texas.

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