Pac-12 title up for grabs

Washington Athletics

THIS WEEK
The Pac-12 enters the final week of the regular season looking to crown a champion and it comes down to No. 1 USC and No. 2 WASHINGTON. With one match separating the teams and just two contests each remaining, both are in must-win situations. The Trojans, however, are in the drivers’ seat sitting in first place with just one loss while the Huskies have two.

The season also wraps up with rivalry matches as teams make their final impressions to the NCAA Tournament committee hoping to earn a postseason berth. On Wednesday, No. 13 UCLA kicks off the week’s rivalry matches hosting the Trojans, who could clinch at least a share of the Conference title that day. The rest of the week does not get any easier for the Bruins who hosts their final regular-season match against No. 6 STANFORD on Friday.

The final eight of the 92 volleyball live television broadcasts of the 2015-16 season happens this week on the Pac-12 Networks from Wednesday to Saturday. WASHINGTON STATE visits the Huskies for the final regular-season match of the season on Pac-12 Washington on Saturday.

NCAA TOURNAMENT SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENT
The 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on ESPNU. The top-16 seeds that will host first- and second- round matches will also be announced. For more information on the NCAA Tournament, click here.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)

Teams Pct. Pac-12 Record Overall Record
USC .944 17-1 29-1
Washington .889 16-2 26-2
Stanford .778 14-4 20-6
UCLA .722 13-5 22-6
Colorado .500 9-9 17-13
Arizona State .444 8-10 19-10
Arizona .444 8-10 18-12
Oregon .444 8-10 14-13
Washington State .278 5-13 16-14
Utah .222 4-14 10-19
California .167 3-15 9-20
Oregon State .167 3-15 5-23

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Local To Site)

Wednesday, Nov. 25 TV/Live Stream Time
WASHINGTON STATE at COLORADO Live Stream 2 p.m. MT
#2 WASHINGTON at UTAH Live Stream 4 p.m. MT
#23 ARIZONA at OREGON STATE Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
CALIFORNIA at #6 STANFORD PACBA 8 p.m. PT
#13 UCLA at #1 USC PACLA 8 p.m. PT
ARIZONA STATE at OREGON Live Stream 8 p.m. PT
Friday, Nov. 27    
UTAH at COLORADO PACMT 12 p.m. MT
ARIZONA STATE at #23 ARIZONA PACAZ 3 p.m. MT
CALIFORNIA at #1 USC PACBA/PACLA 4 p.m. PT
#6 STANFORD at #13 UCLA PACLA 8 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE at OREGON PACOR 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, Nov. 28    
WASHINGTON STATE at #2 WASHINGTON PACWA 8 p.m. PT

PAC12/PACAZ/PACBA/PACLA/PACMT/PACOR/PACWA - Indicates live broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.


AVCA RANKINGS
USC and WASHINGTON claim the Nos. 1 and 2 spots of the AVCA Coaches poll again this week and five teams in all are ranked. STANFORD is No. 6, UCLA is No. 13 and ARIZONA is ranked No. 23. ARIZONA STATE and COLORADO are receiving votes.

A league-record nine Pac-12 teams were ranked in the preseason top 25. The Trojans started the season ranked No. 22 and quickly moved up to No. 1 in the country, remaining there for four-straight weeks from Oct. 5-26.

NCAA STATS 
USC boasts the best record in the country with a NCAA-best .967 winning percentage going 29-1 so far this season. WASHINGTON’S 26-2 overall record for a .929 winning percentage ranks fourth.
• USC’s Samantha Bricio makes a strong case for national player of the year, leading the country in aces per set (0.75) and points per set (6.21), while posting the second-best kills per set average in the nation (5.08).
• UW’s Lianna Sybeldon is the nation’s most efficient hitter with a .479 hitting percentage. She also ranks 23rd with 1.37 blocks per set.
• Four of the country’s top-15 blocking teams are in the Pac-12 with UW ranking fifth with a 3.02 blocking average. ARIZONA STATE ranks seventh at 2.99 bps, while WASHINGTON STATE (2.90) and STANFORD (2.89) rank 13th and 14th, respectively.
• The Huskies continue to have one of the more well-rounded teams in the nation, pounding opponents with an efficient attack that ranks fourth in the nation at .313, while also stifling them and limiting attacks to .149, which ranks eighth in the country.

For a complete list of NCAA stats team and individual leaders visit this link: http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary

RPI RANKINGS 
USC is NO. 2 overall in the country in the RPI, while WASHINGTON has a No. 6 RPI. STANFORD and UCLA are No. 12 and 13 in the rankings, respectively, and ARIZONA STATE has a No. 33 rating. For the full rankings, click here.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 
ARIZONA's Nikki Attea was selected the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to an upset over then-No. 11 UCLA. WASHINGTON’s Lianna Sybeldon is the Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors went to USC's Baylee Johnson, the first weekly accolade of her career. For the complete release and for previous winners, click here.

AROUND THE LEAGUE
Penina Snuka of ARIZONA recorded a career-high 59 assists in the Wildcats win over then-No. 11 UCLA … At 19-10 on the year, ARIZONA STATE has won 19 or more matches in each of the last four seasons for the first time in program history … CALIFORNIA setter Alyssa Jensen is fifth in the league in assists per set at 10.00 … Six of Colorado's 17 wins have come against ranked opponents … OREGON's 3-1 victory over Washington State marked its 19th-straight win over the Cougars … OREGON STATE's Mary-Kate Marshall, a 2014 AVCA All-American, is second in the Pac-12 and ninth in the country in attacks per set (12.43) … With STANFORD's 3-0 victory against Utah, the Cardinal has won 39 out of 41 sets against the Utes since they joined the league in 2011 … UCLA junior Jordan Anderson has reached the 20-kill mark nine times this season. She ranks 11th in the country in kills per set at 4.64 … USC swept the regular-season series against Arizona State for the first time since 2013 … UTAH's Adora Anae is second in the Pac-12 with 18 double-doubles on the season … WASHINGTON earned its ninth-straight win and sixth in a row over Oregon … WASHINGTON STATE averages 2.90 blocks per set, the 13th-best mark in the country on the year.

• The Pac-12 Networks revealed the Pac-12 All-Century Women’s Volleyball roster. STANFORD's Logan Tom was named Pac-12 Women’s Volleyball Player of the Century honors and UCLA's Andy Banachowski being named the Pac-12 Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Century. To view the full roster, click here.

• On Friday, Oct. 16, USC head coach Mick Haley earned his 900th career NCAA Division I victory (378 at USC, 522 at Texas).

• Utah head coach Beth Launiere picked up her 500th career win in the Utes’ 3-1 victory against Oregon State on Sun., Nov. 1, at the Huntsman Center. She has been in Salt Lake City for all 25 years of her head coaching career.

• Pac-12 teams have defeated nine ranked non-conference teams so far this season with USC accounting for three of those wins. The Trojans’ three wins were to teams ranked in the top 11 at the time of the meeting, two of which came in the opening weekend. UCLA traveled to then-No. 17 Hawai’i over the weekend and took down the UH in front of a crowd of over 8,600 fans. ARIZONA STATE, COLORADO and STANFORD have also notched wins over top-10 foes.

• Pac-12 teams went 97-31 (.758) in the non-conference, including going 27-7 in the opening weekend. In the opening weekend, 17 of the 27 wins came in three-set sweeps. Since 2002, league teams have dominated the first weekend of play, going 332-81 (.804).

• Three Pac-12 teams remain undefeated after the conclusion of the non-conference portion of the schedule and 11 teams have a record of .500 or better due, in part, to the strength of the league’s defense. Four Conference teams are ranked in the top 12 in the nation in opponent hitting percentage, as ARIZONA STATE, WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON STATE and ARIZONA limiting opponents to under .142 hitting. Four league squads are also in the top 15 in the country in blocks per set, with STANFORD ranking second in the country at 3.19. Four Pac-12 teams also rank in the top 15 in kills per set, including the Huskies (7th) and the Wildcats (13th).

• The Pac-12 is coming off another historic season which saw an unprecedented 10 teams earn NCAA Tournament bids and went a perfect 10-0 in the first round of the postseason.

 Last year, 14 players were named AVCA All-Americans and eight return for 2015 including senior standouts such as Stanford’s Madi Bugg and Jordan Burgess, USC’s Samantha Bricio, UO’s Martenne Bettendorf, ASU’s Macey Gardner and UW’s Lianna Sybeldon. Sophomores Merete Lutz of Stanford and Mary-Kate Marshall of OSU also return to help lead their respective teams this season.

• One new coach will be roaming the Pac-12 sidelines after WASHINGTON announced the hiring of Keegan Cook, who replaced former UW coach Jim McLaughlin. However, Cook may look familiar to some as he served as an assistant coach under McLaughlin the last two years, helping the Huskies advance to the NCAA semifinal in 2013. Also in coaching news, UTAH head coach Beth Launiere needs just seven more victories for career No. 500. She has spent all 25 years of her career in Salt Lake City.

• FAB Freshman ... Pac-12 volleyball continues to recruit marquee student-athletes. Seven Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with OREGON pacing the Conference with four. STANFORD signed the nation’s top recruit according to the publication in Hayley Hodson.

• Once again, the Pac-12 will have the most comprehensive volleyball television coverage of any league in the country. 95 total matches will be broadcast live, with 92 being televised on the Conference's Pac-12 Network. Another three more were selected to be televised on ESPNU. For the full television schedule, visit pac-12.com.


PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

2015 PAC-12 WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Aug. 31 Samantha Bricio, USC Kalei Mau, ARIZ Hayley Hodson, STAN
Sept. 7 Samantha Bricio, USC Brenna DeYoung, UTAH Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE
Sept. 14 Samantha Bricio, USC Lianna Sybeldon, WASH Zana Muno, UCLA
Sept. 21 Gabby Simpson, COLO Melanie Wade, WASH McKenna Woodford, WSU
Sept. 28 Samantha Bricio, USC Alicia Ogoms, USC Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE
Oct. 5 Macey Gardner, ASU Cierra Simpson, COLO Hayley Hodson, STAN
Oct. 12 Lianna Sybeldon, WASH Melanie Wade, WASH Hayley Hodson, STAN
Oct. 19 Gabby Simpson, COLO Taylor Whittingham, USC Naghede Abu, COLO
Oct. 26 Samantha Bricio, USC Merete Lutz, STAN Hayley Hodson, STAN
Nov. 2 Adora Anae, UTAH Cassie Strickland, WASH Halland McKenna, STAN
Nov. 9 Samantha Bricio, USC Cassie Strickland, WASH Zana Muno, UCLA
Nov. 16 Alexis Austin, COLO Cassie Strickland, WASH McKenna Woodford, WSU
Nov. 23 Nikki Attea, ARIZ Lianna Sybeldon, WASH Baylee Johnson, USC

NATIONAL HONORS

Sept. 30 - Samantha Bricio, USC - ESPNW National Player of the Week
Oct. 6 - Macey Gardner, ASU - AVCA National Player of the Week
Nov. 2 - Cassie Strickland, ESPNW National Player of the Week
Nov. 9 - Samantha Bricio, USC - AVCA National Player of the Week


IN THE PRESEASON

Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll & All-Pac-12 Team | AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll


HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

o The Pac-12 has captured six of the last 14 NCAA crowns (2011 - UCLA, 2005 - Washington, 2004 - Stanford, 2003 - USC, 2002 - USC, 2001 - Stanford) and 14 NCAA titles overall.

o The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in eight of the last 10 years. Last year, 11 were named to the AVCA All-America squad, the most since 13 were selected in 2009. Ten former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while another 18 players in all have earned All-American honors three times.

o Since 1990, Pac-12 players garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 13 times, including the last four of the last five years - CAL's Carli Lloyd (2010), USC's Alex Jupiter (2011), ORE's Alaina Bergsma (2012) and WASH's Krista Vansant (2013). The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 13 times, including Vansant in 2013.

o The current group of Pac-12 volleyball coaches enters the 2015 season with nearly 5,000 Division I victories to its credit, having compiled 4,822 wins in a combined 219 years of head coaching experience. That averages out to nearly 23 wins a season for each coach per season. In addition, these coaches have guided NCAA Division I teams to 38 NCAA semifinal appearances and eight NCAA titles. In the last 13 years, seven different coaches have been named the ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year and/or the AVCA Coach of the Year - Arizona's David Rubio (2001 ASICS), California's Rich Feller (2007 ASICS, 2010 ASICS and AVCA), Stanford's John Dunning (2001 AVCA), UCLA's Mike Sealy (2011 AVCA), USC's Mick Haley (2003 AVCA), Washington's Jim McLaughlin (2004 ASICS and AVCA), and UCLA's Andy Banachowski (2006 ASICS and AVCA).

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