Pac-12 Dominates AVCA Ranking
The Pac-12 continues to dominate the AVCA ranking, with half of the Conference earning national rankings, including three in the top five and five in the top seven. California has made a steady climb after being ranked No. 1 in the nation and dropping to No. 4. This week, with an upset win over the weekend, the Golden Bears are No. 2 in the nation. USC remains at No. 3 with two first-place votes. Stanford also moved up, entering the top-five after picking up an upset victory, as well. The Cardinal are ranked No. 5. UCLA also stayed put, occupying the No. 6 spot, followed by Washington who fell to No. 7 after being ranked No. 2 last week. Oregon is ranked No. 18 this week, making a slight descent from No. 16.
Six Pac-12 teams have been ranked in the AVCA poll all season, including five in the top 10. Cal was the No. 1 team in the nation for four-consecutive weeks, and at least three Pac-12 teams have been ranked in the top five since Sept. 5.
FSN Match of the Week
No. 18 Oregon is set to host Washington State for the FSN Match of the Week. It will be the second meeting between the teams. Both squads will be looking to end current losing skids. The Ducks' last victory was against the Cougars on Oct. 10. Since then, UO has faced four teams currently ranked in the top seven in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Meanwhile, WSU is rebuilding from a tough 2010 campaign, already having won more overall and Conference matches than all of last year. Washington State is on a two-match skid and looks to beat it first ranked opponent since defeating No. 4 Washington on Oct. 23, 2009. The Ducks go up against one of the toughest hitters in the nation. WSU senior Megan Ganzer is ranked fifth in the country in kills (4.87) and points per set (5.45). UO also has a potent offense under the direction of sophomore setter Lauren Plum. Plum ranks eighth in the country in assists per set (11.76), thanks, in part to junior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma's 4.61 kills per set, which ranks 11th, nationally.
In the latest NCAA statistical report, Washington leads the nation in blocks per set with an average of 3.30. Three Pac-12 players are ranked in the top-five in four statitical categories. Washington's State's Megan Ganzer is ranked fifth in the country in kills (4.87) and points per set (5.45). California's Kat Brown ranks fourth with a .428 hitting percentage and Stanford's Carly Wopt is also fourth in kills per set with an average of 1.58.
Welcome to the Club
Washington State's Megan Ganzer and Arizona's Cursty Jackson are the latest Pac-12 players to join the 1000-kills club. Jackson struck her 1,000th-career kill vs. California on Sept 30. Ganzer reached the 1000-kills mark on Aug. 27. USC's Alex Jupiter and California's Tarah Murrey were already members of the all-time list at the start of the 2011 campaign. Currently, 135 players in Pac-12 history have registered at least 1,000 career kills.
Gera Digs It Up
UCLA's Lainey Gera entered the 2011 season as one of 114 Pac-12 players all-time to have collected 1,000 digs. Over the Oct. 14 weekend, however, she entered the top-10 on the list, registering her 1,703rd dig to jump up to the No. 10 spot. On Monday, Oct. 17, she went on to be named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. She is the only active player to be on the Pac-12's 1,000-digs list. To be eligible, player must have at least 1,000 digs while the institution has been a member of the Conference.
UA Pulls Big Upset
The Wildcats snapped a three-match losing skid in grand fashion, upsetting the then-No. 2 team in the nation in UCLA in a five-set thriller on Oct. 8. It was the first win for Arizona over a team ranked in the top two in the nation since Nov. 10, 1993 when the Briuns fell victim to UA. Arizona is led by head coach David Rubio who is seven wins from career-No. 500.
OSU & WSU Show Improvement
After a tough season last year where Oregon State won just two league games all season, OSU surpassed its league win total from last year on Sept. 24, and head into the weekend at 3-7. Its weekend sweep of Colorado and Utah was the first time Oregon State swept two conference opponents on the road since 1990. Earlier in the season, the Beavers pulled off a big upset of then-No. 22 Long Beach State, the first win over a ranked team since 2009.
Washington State also struggled in 2011, going winless in Conference play and posting just six victories all season. This year, the Cougars, under the direction of first-year head coach and former WSU great Jen Greeny, the team has already won three league games and posted 11 victories. Their first league win of the season came again Arizona State on Sept. 23. It was the first Conference win for the Cougars since Nov. 27, 2009.
Ducks Go For Record
Oregon smashed its home attendance record on Oct. 7, welcoming 6,210 to Matthew Knight Arena on the first night of "Beat Call Weekend." The Ducks' previous record was 3,817 set in 2008. Despite a pro-Ducks crowd, Cal head coach Rich Feller said the following: "It was [a] wonderful [atmosphere]. It's a great volleyball venue and it was a super crowd. ... It was fun to play in front of an appreciative crowd."
Trojans Set Record Crowd
On Sept. 9 against UCLA, USC set a new Galen Center record for women's volleyball with a crowd of 5,385 fans, the most since the arena's opening in 2006 when 5,000 fans saw USC play Stanford.
With the non-conference season over, Pac-12 teams can reflect on their performances as Conference play is well underway. League teams faced 15 ranked non-league opponents, winning 10 of those contests. Overall, Pac-12 teams posted a 77-21 record for a 78.6 winning percentage in non-conference action. All but one team posted winning records heading into the Conference play.
Home sweet home
Pac-12 teams have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success at home heading into this week's matches. Teams have posted a 68-33 record (.673) on its home court so far. Of the 12 teams, both USC and UCLA have spent the least amount of time at home. The Trojans spent all their time away from home during the non-conference schedule, while the Bruins hosted just one home non-conference match. California has the most home victories, claiming 14 victories at Haas Pavilion and no losses.