Pac-12 volleyball wraps up Non-Conference play

• Pac-12 teams wrap up the non-conference slate with matches scheduled for nearly every day this week. No. 5 WASHINGTON puts its eight-match win streak on the line, the best current streak in the Pac-12. No. 24 OREGON and WASHINGTON STATE have also strung together a significant streak, both winning their last seven straight.

• No. 11 UCLA plays matches locally on Tuesday and Wednesday to start the week’s Pac-12 action then Thursday features four contests including the Pac-12 Challenge hosted by No. 21 USC. The Trojans host the Huskies with both teams playing Oklahoma and Maryland in a two-day event. All four matches will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network for the only televised volleyball action.

• Also of note this week, UTAH travels to intrastate rival No. 9 BYU on Thursday and ARIZONA STATE takes on No. 17 Santa Clara at the Boise State Classic on Friday.

This week’s AVCA poll … Half the Pac-12 is in the AVCA poll this week, the most since six were ranked last season in the Nov. 16 poll. WASHINGTON is the highest-ranked league team again, moving up one spot to No. 5. UCLA is No. 11 with STANFORD just behind at No. 12. COLORADO remains at No. 18, USC comes in at No. 21 and OREGON entered the poll for the first time this season, coming in at No. 24. WASHINGTON STATE received votes in the polling.

• NCAA Stats Leaders … Washington is one of 11 teams remaining in the country that is still undefeated. STANFORD is the second-best blocking team in the nation (3.5 bps) with four Pac-12 teams ranking in the top 25 in the category. On offense, league teams have found success pounding the ball as five teams rank in the top 25 in the category, led by UW (14.45 kps, 12th). Ten of the Pac-12 teams in all are ranked in the top 100 in the category.

• Individually, the Pac-12 has several players in the top 10 of statistical categories. CALIFORNIA’s Alyssa Jensen ranked third with 12.13 assists per set, Stanford freshman Audriana Fitzmorris is 10th in blocks per set (1.67), WSU’s Hailey Bethune is fourth in the nation in hitting percentage (.469) and UTAH’s Adora Anae is ninth in the country in points per set (5.29 pps). All lead the Conference in their respective categories, as well.

NCAA’s Active Career Leaders … The Conference’s active leader in kills, 2015 All-Pac-12 honoree WASHINGTON STATE’s Kyra Holt ranks fourth in the NCAA in career kills among active players. She hit the 1,400-mark over the weekend. ARIZONA’s Penina Snuka also hit a significant milestone in this short season, going over the 4,000-assist mark, ranking third in total assists among the NCAA’s active leaders. Snuka is the 28th player in Pac-12 history to go over the 4,000-assist mark.

• With three wins over the weekend, head coach Mick Haley is just two wins from reaching his 400th at USC (398-98). It also puts the program at just five wins from reaching the 1,000-win threshold.

• 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. 13    
#11 UCLA at Pepperdine   7 p.m. PT
Wednesday, Sep. 14    
#11 UCLA at Long Beach State   7 p.m. PT
Thursday, Sep. 15    
Maryland vs. #5 WASHINGTON (1) P12N 5 p.m. PT
UTAH at #9 BYU Live Stream 6 p.m. PT
Tennessee Tech at OREGON STATE (2)   7 p.m. PT
Oklahoma at #21 USC (1) P12N 8 p.m. PT
Friday, Sep. 16    
Wyoming vs. OREGON STATE (2)   10 a.m. PT
#17 Santa Clara vs. ARIZONA STATE (2)   11 a.m. PT
ARIZONA vs. Northern Kentucky (3)   11 a.m. PT
College of Charleston vs. WASHINGTON STATE (4)   2 p.m. PT
Portland State vs. ARIZONA STATE (2)   4 p.m. PT
Oklahoma at #5 WASHINGTON P12N 5 p.m. PT
Chicago State vs. #18 COLORADO (5) Live Stream 6 p.m. PT
#12 STANFORD at St. Mary's (Calif.)   7 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE vs. Idaho (2)   7 p.m. PT
CALIFORNIA at Pacific   7 p.m. PT
Maryland vs. #21 USC (1) P12N 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, Sep. 17    
ARIZONA vs. Loyola Chicago (3)   8 a.m. PT
New Orleans vs. #18 COLORADO (5) Live Stream 10 a.m. PT
Virginia at WASHINGTON STATE (4)   11 a.m. PT
ARIZONA STATE at Boise State (2)   11 a.m. PT
ARIZONA vs. Butler (3)   3 p.m. PT
WASHINGTON STATE at Baylor (4)   5:05 p.m. PT
Utah State at UTAH Live Stream 6 p.m. PT
Colorado State vs. #18 COLORADO (5) Live Stream 6:30 p.m. PT
#12 STANFORD at Pacific   7 p.m. PT
CALIFORNIA at St. Mary's (Calif.)   7 p.m. PT

1 - Pac-12 Challenge, Los Angeles, Calif.; 2 - Idaho Volleyball Classic, Moscow, Ida.; 2 - Boise State Classic, Boise, Ida.; 3 - Butler Invitational, Indianapolis, Ind.; 4 - Baylor Tournament, Waco, Texas; 5 - Omni Invitational, Boulder, Colo.


2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive: Crissy Jones, Jr., Washington
Defensive: Amanda Benson, Sr., Oregon
Freshman: Kara Bajema, , Washington

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive
: Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ; Oluoma Okaro, ASU; Alexa Smith, COLO; Taylor Agost, ORE; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Jordan Anderson; UCLA; Elise Ruddins, USC; Adora Anae, UTAH; Hailey Bethune, WSU.
Defensive: Penina Snuka, ARIZ; Halle Harker, ASU; Naghede Abu, COLO; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Taylor Formicio, UCLA; Jordan Dunn, USC; Courtney Schwan, WASH; Taylor Mims, WSU.
Freshman: Mmachi Nwoke, ASU; Jolie Rasmussen, ORE; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Torrey Van Winden, UCLA; Khalia Lanier, USC; Bailey Choy, UTAH; Alexis Dirige, WSU.

2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Sep. 12 Crissy Jones, WASH Amanda Benson, ORE Kara Bajema, WASH
Sep. 5 Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN Naghede Abu, COLO Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN
Aug. 29 Jennie Frager, UCLA Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN 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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