Seven Pac-12 volleyball teams ranked after upsets last week

• Seven Pac-12 volleyball teams are ranked this week, tied for the most in the country. It is the second time this season the Conference has had seven teams in the AVCA Coaches Poll. No. 2 STANFORD and No. 15 USC are the last teams to remain undefeated in Pac-12 play.

• The Pac-12 Networks’ Spike Night kicks things off this week on Wednesday with No. 13 UCLA traveling to ARIZONA. The Wildcats are looking to post their first league win of the season, while the Bruins are looking to snap a three-match losing streak to Arizona, dating back to 2015.

In the Rankings … COLORADO is back in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll this week after upsetting then-No. 12 OREGON in four sets. The Buffs are ranked No. 25, with the Cardinal continuing to pace the Conference at No. 2. WASHINGTON dropped to No. 9 and UCLA is No. 13. USC is No. 15 this week, followed by the No. 16 Ducks and No. 17 UTAH.

NCAA RPI … With the first release of the NCAA’s RPI, 11 of the 12 Pac-12 teams appear in the top 75 of the rating, including seven in the top 20, more than any other conference. Oregon leads the way with a No. 9 RPI. For the full RPI, visit ncaa.com.

Top-25 Matchups … Top-25 matchups this week include clashes between the Utes and the Huskies on Friday evening. UW is looking to get back on track after having an 11-match win streak snapped. The Utes have only defeated Washington once since the league series began in 2011. Also this week, the Cardinal travels to Oregon for a match on ESPNU. Stanford has won the last nine meetings with UO last winning in 2011. The week closes out with a clash between UW and the Buffs in Seattle where Colorado has never won.

Pac-12 Players of the Week … USC’s Brittany Abercrombie is the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week, leading the Trojans to a win over then-No. 6 Washington. Colorado’s Naghede Abu and Brynna DeLuzio were the Defensive Player and Freshman of the Week, respectively, after leading the Buffs to a 2-0 week, including an upset of Oregon. It is the second time DeLuzio has earned the honor.

In the National Stats … Three Pac-12 squads are among the top-six blocking teams in the nation. The Huskies are third in the category (3.29), followed by WSU at No. 5 (3.16) and the Cardinal rank sixth (3.14). Individually, Washington’s Marion Hazelwood leads the Conference with 1.56 blocks per set, which is top 10 in the country; Stanford’s Audriana Fitzmorris ranks 12th with a 1.54 blocks average and UW’s Lauren Sanders is 14th (1.53 bps).

• Three Pac-12 teams are also ranked in the top 16 in the nation in kills per set with Utah’s 14.50 kps leading the Conference and ranking 11th nationally.

• Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer is the sixth-highest points producer in the country, averaging a league-high 5.42 points per set. Her 4.73 kills per set are also ninth in the nation. ARIZONA STATE’s Oluoma Okaro is seventh in the nation with 5.34 pps.

• The top-two assist producers in the Pac-12, to-date, are underclassmen. Stanford’s Jenna Gray leads the league with an average of 11.61 and Colorado freshman Brynna Deluzio is second in the category with an average of 11.19.

• OSU’s Mary-Kate Marshall and Utah’s Adora Anae are among the nation’s active leaders in total kills. Marshall enters the week ranked fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders with 1,635, while Anae is seventh with 1,590. That also puts them in the top 50 all-time in Pac-12 history in the category.

Rivalry Showdowns … The home team went 3-3 in the rivalry matches to mark the start of the Pac-12 slate.

• Pac-12 teams have routinely posted successful starts to the season and the start to the 2017 campaign is no different. League teams went 28-5 (.875) to open the season. Team have posted a 360-86 cumulative record for the opening weekend since 2002, for an impressive 80.7 winning percentage. Significant wins included the Ducks defeating then-No. 5 Nebraska, followed by a near-victory over then-No. 1 Texas; The Bruins defeated then-No. 20 Hawai’i.

• Washington was picked to win the Pac-12 regular-season crown, as decided on by a vote of the league’s coaches. The Huskies edged out the Cardinal for the top spot in the poll. UW received eight first-place votes and 118 points, while Stanford had three first-place votes and 113 points. The Ducks were picked third (93 points) and Utah placed fourth (88 points), also receiving the final remaining first-place vote. The Huskies have won back-to-back regular-season crowns and three of the last four.

• Seven AVCA All-Americans return from last year, including Pac-12 Player of the Year Courtney Schwan and AVCA National Freshman of the Year Kathryn Plummer. UW has three 2016 All-Americans on its current roster, while Stanford has two. Senior Adora Anae is also back for the Utes this year, as is Ducks junior Lindsey Vander Weide.

• Eight of the 14 players named to the 2016 All-Pac-12 team return for 2017, including UW’s Schwan, who was tabbed the 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year. Stanford’s Plummer was voted the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and looks to build upon an impressive rookie campaign.

• The Pac-12 welcomes four new coaches to the Conference this season. Sanja Tomasevic takes over the helm at ARIZONA STATE; Matt Ulmer roams the sidelines as head coach in Eugene; Matt McShane was promoted to head coach at CALIFORNIA; while Kevin Hambly takes over a Stanford program that is defending its national crown. Half the Pac-12 teams have put new coaches in place over the last two years, three due to retirement of long-time head coaches. Seven in total have coaches that have been at the helm for three years or less in the Pac-12.

• Pac-12 volleyball continues to attract marquee student-athletes. Eight Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with UCLA pacing the league with four.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Stanford 4-0 11-2
USC 4-0 12-3
Washington 3-1 13-2
Utah 3-1 12-3
Colorado 2-2 12-3
Oregon  2-2 9-3
California  2-2 11-4
UCLA 2-2 9-4
Washington State 1-3 12-4
Arizona 1-3 7-6
Arizona State 0-4 10-6
Oregon State 0-4 10-6

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Oct. 4    
#13 UCLA at Arizona  P12N 7 p.m. PT
Friday Oct. 6    
#25 Colorado at Washington State P12N 6 p.m. PT
#15 USC at Arizona  P12N p.m. PT
California at Oregon State P12N p.m. PT
#17 Utah at #9 Washington  P12N p.m. PT
#2 Stanford at #16 Oregon ESPN U p.m. PT
#13 UCLA at Arizona State P12N 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, Oct. 7    
#15 USC at Arizona State   p.m. PT
Sunday, Oct. 8    
#17 Utah at Washington State P12W 1 a.m. PT
# 2 Stanford at Oregon State  P12O 1 p.m. PT
California at #16 Oregon    p.m. PT
#25 Colorado at #9 Washington P12N p.m. PT

2017 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive: Brittany Abercrombie, USC
Defensive: Naghede Abu, Colorado
FreshmanBrynna DeLuzio, Colorado 

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive: Oluoma Okaro, ASU; Alexa Smith, COLO; Willow Johnson, ORE; Maddie Goings, OSU; Reily Buechler, UCLA; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Adora Anae, UTAH.
Defensive: Emma Smith, California; Halle Harker, ASU; Alex Hojnar, ORE; Kayla Ellis, OSU; Tami Alade, STAN; Zana Muno, UCLA; Reni Meyer-Whalley, USC; Berkeley Oblad, UTAH.
Freshmen: Griere Hughes, ASU; Mima Mirkovic, California; Maddie Goings, OSU; Meghan McClure, STAN; Jenny Mosser, UCLA; Kenzie Koerber, UTAH. 

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Aug. 28 Khalia Lanier, USC  Zana Muno, UCLA Mac May, UCLA
Sept. 4 Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU Tawnee Luafalemana, UTAH Dani Barton, UTAH
Sept. 11 Taylor Agost, ORE Berkeley Oblad, UTAH Mima Mirkovic, CAL
Sept. 28 Alexa Smith, COLO Halle Harker, ASU Brynna Deluzio, COLO
Sept. 25 Brittany Abercrombie, USC Victoria Garrick, USC  Mac May, UCLA 
Oct. 2 Brittany Abercrombie, USC Naghede Abu, COLO Brynna DeLuzio, COLO
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