Stanford sits in first as the second half of Pac-12 Volleyball play is underway

• After the first half of league play, second-ranked STANFORD is the first team to get to double-digit victories and remains undefeated in Conference play, boasting a 10-0 record. The Cardinal has a two-match lead while there is also a three-way tie for fourth place. The race for the regular-season crown heats up, beginning with Wednesday’s Spike Night on Pac-12 Networks where No. 15 OREGON hosts No. 12 UTAH. The Ducks are one of the teams locked in the three-way tie, while the Utes are currently in second place.

In the Rankings … There was no movement in the AVCA Poll for the Pac-12 with six teams holding strong in the top 25 in the country. The Cardinal is the No. 2 team in the nation. Stanford has not dropped lower than fourth this season, occupying the No. 2 position for four of the last five weeks. It was ranked No. 1 in the country on Aug. 28. … Also holding onto their positions are No. 12 UTAH, last week earning its highest ranking since Nov. 27, 2006. UCLA is No. 13, then No. 14 Washington and No. 15 OREGON. USC comes in at No. 19 again this week, and Colorado and Oregon State are receiving votes.

NCAA RPI … 10 Pac-12 teams appear in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI, including seven in the top 25. Stanford leads the way with a No. 7 RPI. For the full list, visit ncaa.com.

Top-25 Matchups … A top-15 clash between No. 12 Oregon and No. 15 Utah in Eugene, Ore starts the week. It has been a back-and-forth series since 2014 with each team winning on its own home court during that span. The Ducks last won in Salt Lake in 2013 to sweep the regular-season series that year. The Utes’ only win in Eugene was in 2011. No. 19 USC has a one-match lead in the Pac-12 standings over the No. 14 Washington Huskies when they meet on Friday. No. 13 UCLA is tied with UW and Oregon going into the week. A meeting between the Huskies and the Bruins in Seattle to close out the week on Sunday will also be important.

Upsets mount … A pair of upsets last week adds to the growing list from this season. Most recently, unranked COLORADO topped No. 19 USC, 3-0, in Boulder, Colo. Looking to get back on track, the Trojans turned around and knocked off No. 12 Utah to close out the week in Salt Lake in a five-set thriller.

A Long Time Coming … Oregon State has snapped a few significant streaks lately, each dating back to over a decade. In its road sweep last week, OSU posted its first sweep through the state of Washington since 1990. It was also the first win over the Huskies since 2001, which was also the last time the Beavs had won in Seattle. Most recently, Oregon State defeated both Arizona schools at home, the first time it had done so since 1996. With four-consecutive victories, OSU has matched its Conference win total from last year (five wins) and its 15 overall wins, to date, is the most since 2014, and bests its record from four of the last five years.

Notables … California has more wins to-date than each of the last three seasons (9, 9 and 10) and has matched its Pac-12 win total from the last three years (3). With 12 overall wins, the Bears have reached double-digit wins for the first time since 2014 … Colorado has also surpassed its overall win total from last year (15), picking up its 16th victory in an upset over No. 19 USC … Oregon State has more wins than last year (12) and more than in four of the last five seasons. It has also matched its total league wins from last season (5) … Stanford picked up its 10th Pac-12 win of the season, marking the 32nd season the Cardinal has won double-digit league matches.

Pac-12 Players of the Week … After leading the Beavers to a second-straight 2-0 week and a four-match winning streak, Mary-Kate Marshall is tabbed the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second-consecutive week and the third time this season. Stanford’s Morgan Hentz has helped the Cardinal to a 10-0 record in league play, en route to Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors, while OSU’s Kylee McLaughlin also earned her first Pac-12 Freshman of the Week nod.

• In the National Stats … Three of the top-eight blocking teams in the nation are in the Pac-12. The Huskies are third in the category (3.21), followed by WSU at No. 7 (3.03) and the Cardinal ranks eighth (3.02). Individually, Washington freshman Lauren Sanders leads the Conference with 1.57 blocks per set which is sixth in the country. WSU’s Jocelyn Urias is 17th with a 1.47 blocks average while Stanford’s Tami Alade is 18th (1.47).

• Three Pac-12 teams also appear in the top 25 in the nation in team hitting percentage and kills per set, the Cardinal leading the league and ranking 10th in the nation with a .297 hitting clip, while the Utes are seventh with a kps of 14.61.

• Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer and Oregon State’s Mary-Kate Marshall are two of the nation’s highest point producers. Plummer is eighth averaging league-best 5.34 points per set, while also ranking 13th in kills per set (4.58). Marshall leads the Pac-12 and is 12th in the country with a 4.58 kills average and ninth with a 5.29 average. ARIZONA STATE’s Oluoma Okaro ranks 12th in points per set (5.19). CALIFORNIA’s Antzela Dempi is 12th in the nation in aces per set (0.50) while Stanford’s Jenna Gray’s 11.62 assists per set are good for ninth in the nation. Stanford teammate Tami Alade’s .424 hitting percentage is 12th-best in the nation.

• Six of the Pac-12’s top-10 assist producers are underclassmen, with Stanford sophomore Gray leading the way with an 11.62 average, followed by Colorado’s Brynna Deluzio ranking second behind her at 11.33. Though a senior, UCLA’s Sarah Sponcil is new to the Pac-12, joining the Bruins as a transfer. Her 10.96 average is good for third in the Conference.

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 10-0 17-2
Utah  8-2 17-4
USC 7-3 15-6
Washington 6-4 16-5
Oregon  6-4 13-5
UCLA 6-4 13-6
Colorado 5-5 15-6
Oregon State 5-5 15-7
California 3-7 12-9
Washington State 2-8 13-9
Arizona  2-8 8-11
Arizona State 0-10 10-12

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Oct. 25    
#12 Utah at #15 Oregon  P12N 7 p.m. PT
Friday, Oct. 27    
#19 USC at #14 Washington  P12N 6 p.m. PT
#12 Utah at Oregon State   p.m. PT
California at Arizona  P12N p.m. PT
Colorado at #15 Oregon    p.m. PT
UCLA at Washington State P12N p.m. PT
#2 Stanford at Arizona State  P12N 8 p.m. PT
Saturday, Oct. 28    
Colorado at Oregon State    p.m. PT
Sunday, Oct. 29    
UCLA at #14 Washington  P12N 11 a.m. PT
California at Arizona State  P12N 11 a.m. PT
#19 USC at Washington State  P12W 1 p.m. PT
#2 Stanford at Arizona  P12N 1 p.m. PT

2017 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive: Mary-Kate Marshall, Oregon State  
Defensive: Morgan Hentz, Stanford
Freshman: Kylee McLaughlin, Oregon State

ALSO NOMINATED
Offensive: 
Oluoma Okaro, ASU; Alexa Smith, COLO; Sumeet Gill, ORE; Tami Alade, STAN; Jenny Mosser, UCLA; Brittany Abercrombie, USC; Tia Scambray, WASH.
Defensive: Halle Harker, ASU; Gabby Carta-Samuels, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Grace Massey, OSU; Zana Muno, UCLA; Victoria Garrick, USC; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH; Marion Hazelwood, WASH.
Freshman: Griere Hughes, ASU; Brynna Deluzio, COLO; Jenny Mosser, UCLA; Brooke Botkin, USC; Kenzie Koerber, UTAH. 

Date 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
Oct. 9  Adora Anae, UTAH  Berkeley Oblad, UTAH Lauren Sanders, WASH
Oct. 16  Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU Grace Massey, OSU Maddie Goings, OSU
Oct. 23 Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU Morgan Hentz, STAN Kylee McLaughlin, OSU 

IN THE PRESEASON
Pac-12 Coaches Pick Washington to Win in 2017, Preseason All-Pac-12 Announced
Six Teams Ranked in Preseason AVCA Poll

NATIONAL HONORS
2017 Sports Imports/AVCA Division I Women Player of the Week: Oct. 10: Adora Anae, Utah
ESPNW Player of the Week: Oct. 10: Adora Anae, Utah


HISTORICALLY SPEAKING
•    The Pac-12 has captured seven of the last 16 NCAA crowns (2016 - Stanford, 2011 - UCLA, 2005 - Washington, 2004 - Stanford, 2003 - USC, 2002 - USC, 2001 - Stanford) and a record 15 NCAA titles overall.
•    Pac-12 coaches have led NCAA Division I teams to 39 NCAA semifinal appearances and eight NCAA titles. In the last 15 years, seven different coaches have been named the ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year and/or the AVCA Coach of the Year.
•    The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in eight of the last 11 years. Ten former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while 20 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 seven - 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 (2015). The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 14 times, including Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku in 2016.  

  
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