Four Ranked In Top 5, UCLA Is No. 1 Again
Just three more weeks remain in the regular season and not much time is left for teams to make a move in the Pac-12 standings or to make an impression on the NCAA committee. The top six teams are bunched together with only four matches separating them.
In this week's AVCA Coaches Poll, four of the top five teams in the nation are Pac-12 schools, led by top-ranked UCLA. STANFORD, USC and CALIFORNIA are ranked No. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. WASHINGTON is ranked No. 11 and OREGON is No. 20 ... There have been 18 upsets by Pac-12 teams so far this season and with six teams ranked in the top 25, opportunities for upsets come up nearly every weekend.
This week's FSN Pac-12 Match of the Week features the Cardinal and Huskies. Both teams need to win in order to stay alive in the title hunt. Check local listings for the tape-delayed national broadcast.
The Bank of the West Pac-12 Players of the Week are USC's Lauren Williams (Offensive), UCLA's Kelly Reeves (Defensive) and Oregon's Liz Brenner (Freshman). A Bruin has been named Defensive Player of the Week three times in the last four weeks and a league-best four times.
THIS WEEK'S STORY LINES
• Poll analysis ... UCLA is the No. 1 team in the country for the second-straight week, according to the latest AVCA Coaches poll, receiving 47 first-place votes, six more votes than last week. The Bruins claim the top spot last week for the first time since the 2000 preseason poll. They are the second team in the Pac-12 to be ranked No. 1 in the poll. California was ranked No. 1 for four weeks, from Aug. 29-Sept. 19.
The Pac-12 has dominated the weekly poll with half of the Conference earning a national ranking, including three in the top five. Five teams had been ranked in the top 10 in the same week for seven weeks this season. Staying put this week were No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 USC and No. 20 Oregon. California moved up two spots to No. 5, while Washington slipped one position to No. 11.
Six Pac-12 teams have been ranked in the AVCA poll all season. At least three Pac-12 teams have been ranked in the top five since Sept. 5.
• FSN Match of the Week ... Third-ranked Stanford and 11th-ranked Washington battle in Seattle as the race for the Conference crown heats up. Both teams need to win in order to stay alive in the title hunt, while the Huskies will be looking to even-up the regular-season series after the Cardinal took the first meeting, 3-0, in mid-October.
It will be a battle for control at the net as the Huskies and Cardinal are the top-two blocking teams in the country. The Huskies lead the nation with 3.39 bps, while Stanford's 3.26 bps ranks just behind UW in second.
The top three blockers in the Pac-12 are two Huskies and a Cardinal. SR MB Bianca Rowland leads the Conferenc with 1.57 bps, while teammate SR MB Lauren Barfield is third averaging 1.46 bps. In between, is SO MB Carly Wopat who's 1.57 bps tie for first with Rowland. Both also rank in the top five in the nation in the category.
Stanford has won the last three meetings between the teams.
• National leaders... In the latest NCAA statistical report, Washington leads the nation in blocks per set with an average of 3.39. Four Pac-12 players are ranked in the top-five in two statistical categories. Washington's Bianca Rowland is averaging 1.57 blocks per set, the fourth-best mark in the nation. Also in the top five in the same category is Stanford's Carly Wopat, ranking fifth (1.57 bps). USC's Kendall Bateman's 11.90 assists per set and Oregon's Lauren Plum's 11.88 assists per set rank fourth and fifth in the country, respectively.
• Some notes on records ... Arizona needs two more wins to tie last year's Conference win total of nine. California needs two more wins for 15, which would match last year's Conference win total, which was also a program record set last year when the Golden Bears were co-Pac-10 Champions. Oregon's 10 league wins are the most since 2008 when the Ducks won 11. It is the second time in four years UO has posted double-digit league wins and only the second time since 1989. Oregon State's six Conference victories are the most since winning seven in 2005. The Beavers have a tough road ahead to claim No. 7, facing five ranked opponents in their last six matches. However, OSU has one win over a ranked opponent already this season. Heading into the weekend with 19 victories, Stanford travels to Washington and Washington State looking for its 11th-consecutive 20-win campaign. UCLA's 22 wins so far this year matches all of last year's win total. Its 15 Conference wins so far are the most since going 15-3 in 2006. USC's 15 league victories are the most since going 18-0 in 2003. That year, the Trojans won their second-straight NCAA title. With wins over the Northwest schools last weekend, USC claims its third-straight 20-win season. Washington has posted double-digit Conference win seasons for the last nine-consecutive years. Washington State has doubled its win total from last season.
Fri., Nov. 11
#5 CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON STATE * 7 p.m. PT
COLORADO at ARIZONA STATE * 7 p.m. MST
#3 STANFORD at #11 WASHINGTON * (FSN) 7 p.m. PT
#1 UCLA at #20 OREGON * 7 p.m. PT
#4 USC at OREGON STATE * 7 p.m. PT
UTAH at ARIZONA * 7 p.m. MST
Sat., Nov. 12
#5 CALIFORNIA at #11 WASHINGTON * 7 p.m. PT
COLORADO at ARIZONA * 7 p.m. MST
#1 UCLA at OREGON STATE * 7 p.m. PT
#4 USC at #20 OREGON * 7 p.m. PT
UTAH at ARIZONA STATE * 7 p.m. MST
Sun., Nov. 13
#3 STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE * 12:30 p.m. PT
* Indicates Pac-12 Conference game
Game times local to site
FSN - indicates tape delayed televised broadcast on Fox Sports Net.
Thurs., Nov. 3
#7 CALIFORNIA at UTAH * - CAL, 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13)
#3 STANFORD at COLORADO * - STAN, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15)
Fri., Nov. 4
#20 OREGON at ARIZONA STATE * - ORE, 3-1 (32-30, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23)
OREGON STATE at ARIZONA * - ARIZ, 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-17)
#10 WASHINGTON at #1 UCLA * - UCLA, 3-0 (28-26, 25-13, 28-26)
WASHINGTON STATE at #4 USC * - USC, 3-0 (25-21, 25-8, 25-16)
Sat., Nov. 5
#7 CALIFORNIA at COLORADO * - CAL, 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-15, 25-20)
OREGON STATE at ARIZONA STATE * - ASU, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-10)
#3 STANFORD at UTAH * - STAN, 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-18)
#10 WASHINGTON at #4 - USC * USC, 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-21)
Sun., Nov. 6
#20 OREGON at ARIZONA * - ORE, 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 29-27)
WASHINGTON STATE at #1 - UCLA * UCLA, 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-17)