This week in Pac-12 volleyball

• Pac-12 teams shook off the opening-weekend jitters and went 29-4 last weekend, including seven wins over ranked opponents. COLORADO and USC, in particular, had outstanding weekends and are both ranked in the top 25 this week.

• Top-25 matchups this week include No. 9 STANFORD hosting No. 20 Purdue on Friday on Pac-12 Network. No. 7 UCLA and the No. 18 Buffs head to the San Diego Invitational and each face the host No. 15 Toreros. The weekend will be capped off with No. 6 WASHINGTON traveling to No. 14 Hawai’i on Sunday.

• Five teams are back in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week after a week of impressive results. Three teams still remain in the top 10, led by No. 6 WASHINGTON. UCLA moved up one spot to No. 7 after going 3-0 in Hawai’i. STANFORD stayed put at No. 9. Jumping up to No. 18 this week, COLORADO makes its first appearance in the polling this season, while USC gets back in after falling out last week and is at No. 24. OREGON, WASHINGTON STATE and ARIZONA are also receiving votes.

• Last season, the Buffs went 0-2 in the same Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge and over the weekend turned the tables, knocking off then-No. 13 Penn State and then-No. 17 Illinois, marking the first time the Buffs have posted back-to-back regular-season wins over non-conference opponents.

• UCLA has been rolling through opponents, picking up six-straight wins to open the season. Its 6-0 record is its best since 2011.

• With three wins over the weekend, including two over ranked opponents, head coach Mick Haley is just five wins from reaching his 400th at USC (395-98). It also puts the program at just eight wins from reaching the 1,000-win threshold.

• Though the Pac-12 has a streak of 16-consecutive years of at least six NCAA Tournament bids, league teams continue to schedule the nation’s toughest opponents. In the opening weekend, league teams faced eight teams ranked in the top-25 last week. This week, they face seven ranked opponents, including OREGON STATE facing No. 1 Nebraska.

• Preseason accolades … Individual players had dominant performances, leading to regular-season tournament honors. CALIFORNIA’s Jenelle Jordan was tabbed Most Valuable Player of the Molten Classic, ARIZONA STATE’s Oluoma Okaro was voted the MVP of the UNM Tournament, OREGON STATE’s Mary-Kate Marshall also earned MVP honors at the Ultra Ankle Challenge and WSU’s Kyra Holt was the top honoree at the Purdue Mortar Board Premier Tournament. On the second weekend of the season, the following players also were selected MVPs: Arizona's Kendra Dhalke at the Wildcat Classic, Oregon’s Ronika Stone at the Oregon Classic and USC's Khalia Lanier at the USC Radisson Classic.

• Stanford was voted the Pac-12 preseason favorite by the league’s 12 coaches. The Cardinal received nine first-place votes to finish ahead of UCLA, which received one first-place vote. UW was second in the polling with one first-place vote and Oregon was voted fourth.

• Three AVCA All-Americans return from last year, including Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Hayley Hodson of Stanford. She was a second team All-American last year. Also back from last year are third-team All-American and Pac-12 Libero of the Year Taylor Formico, as well as the Cardinal’s Merete Lutz.

• Nine of the 14 players named to the 2015 All-Pac-12 team return for 2016. Additionally, Stanford's Inky Ajanaku, a three-time All-American, also comes back after sitting out all of 2015 because of injury.

• Pac-12 teams have had early success in recent years, posting an impressive 332-81 (.804) record in the first weekend of play since 2002. Last season, league teams won a combined 27 matches while posting a .794 winning percentage.

• The Pac-12 welcomes three new coaches to the sidelines this season. Stevie Mussie took over at ARIZONA STATE after serving two seasons at volleyball powerhouse Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions win a national title in 2014. Jesse Mahoney did not have a long drive to get to Colorado. An alum, receiving his undergraduate and lay degree from CU, he returned to Boulder after spending four years as head coach at Denver. Oregon State will be led by Mark Barnard, who is no stranger to the Beavers. He spent the last 11 seasons in Corvallis under former head coach Taras Liskevych.

• FAB Freshman … Pac-12 volleyball continues to recruit marquee student-athletes. Four Pac-12 teams landed at least two Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with STANFORD pacing the Conference with five. USC also signed the No. 1 recruit in the nation in freshman Khalia Lanier.

• Once again, the Pac-12 will have the most comprehensive volleyball television coverage of any league in the country. 94 total matches will be broadcast live, with 91 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.


UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific)

Tuesday, Sep. 6 TV/Stream Time
OREGON at Seattle U.   6 p.m. PT
Friday, Sep. 9    
ARIZONA vs. #16 Texas A&M (1)   9 a.m. PT
Maryland Eastern Shore vs. WASHINGTON STATE (2) Live Stream 12 p.m. PT
Pepperdine vs ARIZONA STATE (3)   1 p.m. PT
Sam Houston State at #24 USC   1:30 p.m. PT
South Dakota at OREGON STATE   2 p.m. PT
Texas State vs. UTAH (4)   3 p.m. PT
ARIZONA vs. Sacramento State (1)   4 p.m. PT
UC Irvine vs. #7 UCLA (5)   4:30 p.m. PT
#21 Illinois at OREGON (6) P12O 7 p.m. PT
#18 COLORADO vs. #15 San Diego (5)   7 p.m. PT
West Virginia at CALIFORNIA (7)   7 p.m. PT
George Washington at WASHINGTON STATE (2) Live Stream 7:30 p.m. PT
Utah Valley at #6 WASHINGTON   7:45 p.m. PT
#20 Purdue at #9 STANFORD (8) P12N 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, Sep. 10    
Oakland at #24 USC   10 a.m. PT
Grand Canyon at CALIFORNIA (7) Live Stream 10 a.m. PT
Harvard vs. ARIZONA STATE (3)   12 p.m. PT
ARIZONA at New Mexico State (1)   1 p.m. PT
Northern Colorado at OREGON STATE   1 p.m. PT
Idaho at WASHINGTON STATE (2) Live Stream 1 p.m. PT
CSU Bakersfield vs. UTAH (4)   1 p.m. PT
#18 COLORADO vs. UC Irvine (5)   2 p.m. PT
Belmont at OREGON (6) Live Stream 3 p.m. PT
#24 USC at Rice   5 p.m. PT
UTAH at Portland (4)   6 p.m. PT
ARIZONA STATE at Long Beach State (3)   6 p.m. PT
#7 UCLA at #15 San Diego (5)   6 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE at University of the Pacific   7 p.m. PT
#19 Santa Clara at CALIFORNIA (7) Live Stream 7:30 p.m. PT
Northern Illinois at #6 WASHINGTON   8 p.m. PT
Sunday, Sep. 11 TV/Stream Time
St. Mary's (Calif.) at OREGON (6) Live Stream 12 p.m. PT
Cal Poly at #9 STANFORD (8) Live Stream 1 p.m. PT
#6 WASHINGTON at #14 Hawai'i Live Stream 7 p.m. PT

1 - New Mexico State Tournament, Las Cruces, NM.; 2 - Cougar Challenge Tournament, Pullman, Wash.; 3 - LBSU Baden Invitational, Long Beach, Calif.; 4 - Portland Invitational, Portland, Ore.; 5 - USD Invitational, San Diego, Calif.; 6 - Nike Invitational, Eugene, Ore.; 7 - Cal Tournament, Berkeley, Calif.; 8 - Stanford Invitational, Palo Alto, Calif.


2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK:
Offensive/Freshman: 
Audriana Fitzmorris, Fr., Stanford
Defensive: Naghede Abu, So., Colorado

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive
: Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ; Lexi MacLean, ASU; Janelle Jordan, CAL; Naghede Abu, COLO; Taylor Agost, ORE; Lanesha Reagan, OSU; Jordan Anderson, UCLA; Khalia Lanier, USC; Carly Trueman, UTAH; Courtney Schwan, WASH; Taylor Mims, WSU.

Defensive: Laura Larson, ARIZ; Halle Harker, ASU; Naghede Abu, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Jennie Frager, UCLA; Taylor Whittingham, USC; Tawnee Laufalemana, UTAH; Tia Scambray, WASH; Taylor Mims, WSU.
Freshman: Courtney Leffel, ASU; Bailee Huizenga, CAL; Brooke Van Sickle, ORE; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Khalia Lanier, USC; Bailey Choy, UTAH; Kara Bajema, WASH; Alexis Dirige, WSU.

2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Aug. 29 Jennie Frager, UCLA Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN
Sep. 5 Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN Naghede Abu, COLO Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

  • The Pac-12 has captured six of the last 15 NCAA crowns (2011 - UCLA, 2005 - Washington, 2004 - Stanford, 2003 - USC, 2002 - USC, 2001 - Stanford) and 14 NCAA titles overall.
  • The current group of Pac-12 volleyball coaches finished the 2015 season with over 5,000 Division I victories to its credit, having compiled 5,040 wins in a combined 230 years of head coaching experience. That averages out to nearly 22 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 14 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, 2015 AVCA), Washington’s Jim McLaughlin (2004 ASICS and AVCA), and UCLA’s Andy Banachowski (2006 ASICS and AVCA).
  • The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in seven of the last 10 years. This year, eight were named to the AVCA All-America squad, USC’s Samantha Bricio and Washington’s Lianna Sybeldon were named to the first team, Stanford had a pair of second-team selections in Hayley Hodson and Merete Lutz, with USC’s Alicia Ogoms joining them. On the third team, Stanford’s Madi Bugg and Brittany Howard, and UCLA’s Taylor Formico earned spots. Ten former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while 18 players in all have earned All-American honors three times.
  • Since 1990, Pac-12 players garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 14 times, including the five of the last six - CAL’s Carli Lloyd (2010), USC’s Alex Jupiter (2011), ORE’s Alaina Bergsma (2012), WASH’s Krista Vansant (2013) and the latest honoree in USC’s Samantha Bricio. The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 13 times, including Vansant in 2013.

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