Four Pac-12 Volleyball Teams Headed to NCAA Round of 16
Four Pac-12 teams still remain in the NCAA Tournament, including ARIZONA, which makes its first NCAA Regional semifinal since 2005. Also still alive in the postseason event are the Conference’s three seeded teams: No. 6 STANFORD, No. 8 WASHINGTON and No. 10 UCLA.
The Conference is guaranteed a regional finalist because the Wildcats and Huskies face each other in Lincoln, Neb. UW has the edge in the regular season series, winning both meetings between the teams.
The Cardinal and Bruins also head to Big Ten country, traveling to Madison, Wis., and Minneapolis, respectively. The Bruins’ match will be televised on ESPNU and the others will be streamed on ESPN3.
With four teams advancing to the round of 16, the Pac-12 upholds its streak of at least one Conference team in the regional semifinals every year, missing out on the regional finals only twice in the 36 years of the tournament (1993 and 1998). League teams went 6-2 to open the NCAA Tournament and are 10-4 so far.
• PAC-12 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … The Pac-12 has captured 14 out of 35 NCAA titles awards, including 12 of the last 25. UCLA captured the Conference’s 14th national crown in 2011. Four different Pac-12 teams have claimed the NCAA crown, Stanford leading the way with six. The Pac-12 has earned at least six NCAA Tournament berths for 17-consecutive years … Pac-12 teams have compiled an impressive 437-232 (.653) record in NCAA play. Toss out the 22 postseason matches between Conference teams and the league’s NCAA Tournament record against non-conference goes stands at 233-93 (.715) since 2001 and an overall mark of 373-173 (.683) … Over the last 15 years, Pac-12 teams are 103-26 in the first round, including posting a NCAA-record 10-0 in 2015 after a NCAA record 10 league teams earned bids last year.
• PAC-12 HONORS … In a vote of the 12 league coaches, Washington’s Courtney Schwan was selected the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer was voted Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Washington State’s Jen Greeny was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year. UCLA’s Taylor Formico was voted the Pac-12 Libero of the Year for the second-straight year and Arizona’s Penina Snuka was tabbed the Pac-12 Setter of the Year.
The Conference office also announced the All-Pac-12 team which included four-time all-league pick Inky Ajanaku from Stanford. Three-time selections include Cardinal teammate Merete Lutz and the Wildcats’ Snuka. For the full list of All-Conference honorees and All-Freshman team members, click here.
• LARSON VOTED SAOY ... Arizona's Laura Larson was voted the Pac-12 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year after boasting a 3.97 grade point average in cellular and molecular biology major. She was twice named first team to the Pac-12 All-Academic team. On the court, she leads the Wildcats and ranks seventh in the Conference with 3.86 digs per set. She is on page to leave Arizona the all-time leader in sets and matches played.
• THIS WEEK’S AVCA POLL … The final regular-season AVCA poll features three Pac-12 teams in the top 10 and six teams ranked in all. WASHINGTON leads the way at No. 7, followed by No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 STANFORD. OREGON is at No. 19, UTAH. USC and ARIZONA are also receiving votes.
The Pac-12 has had up to eight teams ranked this season, coming during the week of Sept. 26. Nine different Pac-12 teams have earned a national ranking at least once this season, as well.
• NCAA RPI … Nine Pac-12 teams have RPI in the top 81, including eight in the top 50. Washington’s No. 6 RPI is the best in the Conference, followed by No. 11 Stanford and No. 12 UCLA.
• NCAA STATS LEADERS … Three of the nation’s top-16 blocking teams in the country are in the Pac-12, with Stanford and Washington State leading the way at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, the Cardinal averaging 3.34 blocks per set and the Cougs at 3.23. Washington ranks 16th in the category with a 2.78 average.
Oregon put up impressive numbers this season and ranks seventh in the country in assists per set (13.58) to lead the Conference, but also ranking 15th in hitting percentage (.279) and 12th in kills per set (14.35).
UCLA is the league’s leader in digs per set (17.59), ranking 10th in the nation in the category. Its 13.47 assists per set are also good for 14th. Five Pac-12 teams boast kill averages in the top 25 in the country.
Individually, four of the top 17 blockers in the nation reside in the Pac-12, with Washington State’s Taylor Mims ranking seventh with a 1.49 average to lead the league. She is one of two Cougs to be in the top 17 with teammate Claire Martin checking in at 17th (1.41). A pair of Cardinal are also in the top 15 in the category, including Inky Ajanaku (8th, 1.48) and Audriana Fitzmorris (13th, 1.45).
Utah’s Adora Anae is 10th in the country in kills per set (4.70) and 11th in points per set (5.22). USC’s Elise Ruddins is one of the most efficient hitters in the country, with a .426 hitting efficiency, which is sixth in the country. Ajanaku is also 13th with a .402 hitting percentage.
• NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS … The Conference’s active leader in kills, 2015 All-Pac-12 honoree Washington State’s Kyra Holt is tied for third in the NCAA in career kills among active players and became the 31st player in Pac-12 history to go over the 1,700-kills threshold (1,777). She ends her career ranked 27th in the Pac-12 record book. Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku wraps up her decorated career ranked among the best Pac-12 players, just out of the top 10 in the Conference in career block, which puts her in a tie for third among the active career leaders in the NCAA (595). Her .412 career hitting percentage also ranks her third among active NCAA leaders. Arizona’s Penina Snuka also hit a significant milestone this season, going over the 5,000-assist mark, ranking second in total assists among the NCAA’s active leaders (5,178). Snuka is the just the 13th player in Pac-12 history to go over the 5,000-assist mark, ranking 12th all-time in the category.
• WASHINGTON CLAIMS PAC-12 CROWN … Coming down to the final two matches of the season, Washington claimed the Pac-12 crown for the second-straight year, this time outright. It marks only the second time in league history the champion recorded four losses and only the fourth time the top team finished with at least three losses.
• ARIZONA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA regional semifinal in Lincoln, Neb., after an upset of ninth-seeded Michigan State. It is Arizona’s first trip to the regional tournament since 2005 … It is UA’s fourth-straight NCAA Tournament bid and 28th all-time, boasting a 30-27 postseason record (.545). Arizona’s only national semifinal appearance was in 2001 … The Wildcats defeated Cleveland State in the first round before upending the Spartans in East Lansing. Arizona faces Washington in the next round
Arizona swept the LA schools twice this season marking the first time the program has swept the series vs. both teams. Its first weekend sweep of UCLA and USC marked the first UA had beaten both teams on the road in the history of the program. The Wildcats are 8-9 this season vs. ranked opponents.
• OREGON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … Oregon made its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years and owns an all-time postseason record of 15-14 (.517). The Ducks advanced to its only national title match appearance in 2012 … UO won its first-round match, defeating Miami (Ohio), but fell to 12th-seeded and host Michigan in the second round.
The Ducks put together another strong campaign, winning 13 league matches which is the most since 2012. Their 21 overall wins are more than last season, posting 20-win campaigns in eight of the last 10 seasons.
• STANFORD IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … The Cardinal has won a NCAA-record 111 tournament matches and is one of only two teams in the country to never miss out on the postseason event. Its six all-time NCAA titles is second-most in NCAA history … Stanford is the No. 6 seed overall and defeated Denver in the first round, then Boise State at home in the second round to advance to the regional semifinal for the 13th time in program history … The Cardinal has never lost in the first round of the tournament … Stanford faces No. 11 Florida State in Madison, Wis. The winner will face the winner of the No. 3 Wisconsin-Ohio State match.
After the announcement that Hayley Hodson was taking a medical leave of absence for the remainder of the season on Oct. 5, the Cardinal went 2-3 in its next matches, with upsets from Utah and Arizona at home. Since then, however, Stanford has won 12 of 13 matches. Hodson was the AVCA and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and was also an AVCA All-American.
• UCLA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … Making its 34th all-time appearance, only four teams have made more NCAA Tournament appearances than the Bruins and have the second-most all-time tournament victories among Pac-12 teams with 87. … The No. 10 seed overall, UCLA has four NCAA titles to its credit, the last coming in 2011 during head coach Michael Sealy’s first season … The Bruins defeated Murray State and Baylor at home to advance to the NCAA Regional semifinal for the third-straight year … They face seventh-seeded North Carolina in the third round in Minneapolis. The winner takes on the winner of No. 15 Missouri-No. 2 Minnesota.
UCLA’s 15 league wins ties for the most since 2014, the year after the Bruins captured the NCAA title. The 26 wins are also the most since that season.
• USC IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … USC made its 34th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, boasting an all-time record of 76-31 … The Trojans won the NCAA title in 1981, and then again in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003 … USC was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament after falling to Hawai’i in a five-set thriller in Minneapolis.
USC won its 1,000th all-time match in a victory over Arizona State on Oct. 5, making the Trojans the 17th program in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history to reach the milestone. Head coach Mick Haley has led USC to each of its 100-match milestones since the program's 600th win.
• UTAH IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … The Utes got off to a historic start in league play, going 2-0 to start the Pac-12 slate for the first time in school history, upending Colorado in Boulder in a five-set thriller. The Utes also took down Stanford in four sets for the program’s first-ever win over the Cardinal. Utah is 6-5 so far this season against top-25 teams.
The Utes’ 11 league victories are the most for the program since joining the Pac-12 and the most conference victories since winning 11 in 2010 in the Mountain West. Utah has also doubled its overall win total from last year (10).
The Utes were back in the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season, earning its third bid in four years. Utah lost in the first round, 3-1, to UNLV.
• WASHINGTON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … Washington is the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning its second-straight Pac-12 title. The Huskies have won the league crown in each of head coach’s Keegan Cook’s two seasons at the helm and in three of the last four years.
The Huskies are making their 21st all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and boast an all-time record of 46-19 … The Huskies won the 2005 title and advanced to the national semifinal in 2013 for the fourth time in school history … UW hosted the first and second rounds, taking down Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Kentucky to advance to its fifth-straight NCAA Regional semifinal … The Huskies face Pac-12-foe Arizona in the next round in Lincoln, Neb., hoping to face either host-No. 1 Nebraska or No. 16 Penn State.
• WASHINGTON STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … The Cougars returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 and the 11th time in school history … The Cougs, who have an all-time tournament record of 10-11 (.476), recorded their first NCAA Tournament win since 2002 when they defeated Marquette in the first round. WSU’s postseason run ended with a loss to No. 3-seeded Wisconsin.
The Cougs opened league competition with a pair of road top-10 wins, going 2-0 for the first time since 2003. Their win in Seattle was their first since 2001 and the win at UCLA was the team’s first victory on the Bruin campus since 1997. WSU followed up the Conference opening-weekend with another sweep which included a win over then-No. 9 Stanford. It was only the fourth WSU victory in the series. It went on to sweep the Arizona schools in both home-and-home series, making it the first time the Cougs have claimed all four matches since 1991.
WSU was also 4-0 to start Pac-12 play, its best start to league play since head coach Jen Greeny was a player on the squad in 1997. The Cougs’ 21 overall wins and 11 league wins are the most since winning 24 and 11, respectively, in 2002.
• PRESEASON COACHES POLL … 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.
• WHAT’S BACK … 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|
* Pac-12 Champion; ^ NCAA Participant
NCAA REGIONAL SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific)
|Friday, Dec. 9|
|ARIZONA vs. #8 WASHINGTON||ESPN3||11:30 p.m. PT|
|Florida State vs. #6 STANFORD||ESPN3||1:30 p.m. PT|
|#7 North Carolina vs. #10 UCLA||ESPN3||7:45 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Dec. 10|
|#1 Nebraska/#16 Penn St. vs. ARIZONA/#8 WASHINGTON||ESPNU||1 p.m. PT|
|#3 Wisconsin/Ohio St. vs. Florida St./#6 STANFORD||ESPNU||3 p.m. PT|
|#7 North Carolina/#10 UCLA vs. #15 Missouri/#2 Minnesota||ESPNU||7 p.m. PT|
PAC-12 ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Courtney Schwan, Washington
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Kathryn Plummer, Stanford
SETTER OF THE YEAR - Penina Snuka, Arizona
LIBERO OF THE YEAR - Taylor Formico, UCLA
COACH OF THE YEAR - Jen Greeny, Washington State
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Laura Larson, Arizona
The full release can be found here.
2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
2016 NATIONAL WEEKLY HONORS
|Sep. 28||ESPNW||Kyra Holt, WSU|
|Sep. 6||AVCA||Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN|
- 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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