Pac-12 Conference play begins

• Rivalry matches kicks off Pac-12 play this week, all of which will be televised on the Pac-12 Network from Tuesday-Thursday. Wednesday’s Pac-12 Network’s Spike Night has four matches on the slate, including a top-25 clash between No. 9 UCLA at No. 24 USC. Matches continue into the weekend with the defending co-Champions going head-to-head on Friday when No. 4 WASHINGTON faces No. 21 USC.

• Pac-12 teams had a strong finish to the non-conference season, going 23-4 over the weekend to get ready for league play. UTAH highlighted last week’s results, upsetting intrastate rival, then-No. 9 BYU in a five-set win. The Utes snapped a five-match losing streak to the Cougars also snapping BYU’s 29-match home winning streak, which happened to be the nation’s longest current streak.

• No. 4 Washington is not only the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, but also one of only five undefeated teams in the country. The Huskies post an undefeated non-conference season for the eighth year in a row. WASHINGTON STATE is the only other league team with double-digit victories heading into Conference play after having won three of four non-conference tournaments.

• This week’s AVCA poll … Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AVCA Coaches poll for the second week in a row. Huskies are No. 4 in the country with UCLA holding its spot in the top 10 at No. 9. Stanford is No. 12, COLORADO moved up two places to No. 16, while USC and OREGON did not move since last week, coming in at No. 21 and No. 24, respectively. Utah and WSU are also receiving votes. Last week was the first time since Nov. 16, 2015 that six Pac-12 teams were ranked in the poll.

• NCAA Stats Leaders … Washington is one of just five teams in the country that is still undefeated, and one of three undefeated squads with at least 10 wins.

• Stanford is the nation’s leader in blocks per set (3.44) as five Pac-12 teams appear in the top 25 in the category, including Washington State at No. 3 (3.38). Colorado is also ranked 10th with a 3.01 bps average.

• The Conference has been very efficient on offense so far this season, five team ranking in the top 25 in hitting percentage, led by Oregon’s .312, which is third, followed by the Buffs’ seventh-best hitting mark at .301.

• Individually, Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku appears to be bouncing back from a season-long injury last season. She ranks fourth in the nation in hitting percentage (.432). Cal’s Alyssa Jensen is eighth in assists per set (11.54) and Utah’s Adora Anae is ninth in the country, accounting for 4.73 points per set.

• Stanford freshman Audriana Fitzmorris is eighth in the country in blocks (1.67), leading a contingency of six Pac-12 players in the category, including two from WSU — Claire Martin (13th, 1.53) and Taylor Mims (15th, 1.51).

NCAA’s Active Career Leaders … The Conference’s active leader in kills, 2015 All-Pac-12 honoree WASHINGTON STATE’s Kyra Holt ranks fifth in the NCAA in career kills among active players and is coming up on 1,500 kills which would put her in the top 53 in Pac-12 history. 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 (400-98). It also puts the program at just three wins from reaching the 1,000-win threshold. Since going 0-3 in the opening weekend, the Trojans have won eight in a row.

• 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.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Washington 0-0 10-0
UCLA 0-0 9-1
Washington State 0-0 9-1
Utah 0-0 8-2
Colorado 0-0 8-2
Oregon 0-0 7-2
Stanford 0-0 6-2
USC 0-0 8-2
Arizona 0-0 8-2
Oregon State 0-0 6-4
California 0-0 6-4
Arizona State 0-0 6-4

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific)

Tuesday, Sep. 20    
#11 STANFORD at CALIFORNIA P12N 7 p.m. PT
Wednesday, Sep. 21    
UTAH at #16 COLORADO P12MT 7 p.m. MT
ARIZONA STATE at ARIZONA P12AZ 7 p.m. PT
WASHINGTON STATE at #4 WASHINGTON P12WA 7 p.m. PT
#9 UCLA at #21 USC P12LA 7 p.m. PT
Thursday, Sep. 22    
OREGON STATE at #24 OREGON P12OR 7 p.m. PT
Friday, Sep. 23    
WASHINGTON STATE at #9 UCLA Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
#4 WASHINGTON at #21 USC P12N 7 p.m. PT
#11 STANFORD at OREGON STATE P12N 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, Sep. 24    
ARIZONA STATE at UTAH Live Stream 6 p.m. PT
Sunday, Sep. 25    
ARIZONA at #16 COLORADO P12N 1 p.m. MT

2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive: Adora Anae, Jr., Utah
Defensive: Megan Shughrou, So., Utah
Freshman: Kathryn Plummer, Fr., Stanford

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive
: Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ; Alexa Smith, COLO; Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Claire Felix, UCLA; Elise Ruddins, USC.
Defensive: Naghede Abu, COLO; Kayla Ellis, OSU; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Taylor Formicio, UCLA; Jordan Dunn, USC.
Freshman: Maddie Haynes, CAL; Justine Spann, COLO; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Khalia Lanier, USC, Bailey Choy, UTAH.

2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Sep. 19 Adora Anae, UTAH Megan Shughrou, UTAH Kathryn Plummer, STAN
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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