Skip to main content

Conference Clash Assembles Top-10 Teams In Seattle

Sep 16, 2014

Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase
Alaska Airlines Arena

Thursday, September 18
#10 USC vs. #4 Wisconsin - 5:30 pm
Live Stats - Live on Pac-12 Networks

#5 Washington vs. Maryland - 8:00 pm
Live Stats - Live on Pac-12 Networks

Friday, September 19
#10 USC vs. Maryland - 5:30 pm
Live Stats - Live on Pac-12 Networks

#5 Washington vs. #4 Wisconsin - 8:00 pm (Purple Out)
Live Stats - Live on Pac-12 Networks

SEATTLE - Washington’s non-conference schedule closes with a flourish this week as Alaska Airlines Arena plays host to four matches that will have the eyes of the volleyball world upon them. Widely considered the two top conferences in collegiate volleyball, the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase will feature the fifth-ranked Huskies and 10th-ranked USC going against fourth-ranked Wisconsin and Maryland out of the Big Ten. The Trojans, Badgers, and Huskies were three of the final eight teams standing in the NCAA tournament last fall, with Washington and Wisconsin on opposite sides of the Final Four, and Wisconsin finishing as the national runner-up.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, USC and Wisconsin start things off at 5:30 p.m., followed by Washington against Maryland no earlier than 8 p.m. The match-ups switch on Friday, Sept. 19, with USC and Maryland starting at 5:30 and the Huskies and Badgers starting again at 8:00. All four matches will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.

The Showcase will feature some of the top individual players in the NCAA as well, with five returning AVCA first-, second-, or third-team All-Americans including Washington’s National Player of the Year Krista Vansant and third-team All-American Kaleigh Nelson, second-team All-American Lauren Carlini of Wisconsin, and second-teamer Samantha Bricio and first-teamer Ebony Nwanebu of USC.

The Huskies are off to a 9-0 start and have been sitting fifth in the national polls for the past three weeks. Washington has three tournament titles to its name so far, winning the Northwest Challenge in Boise, the BYU Invitational in Provo, and The Invitational In Seattle last week. Vansant has been named MVP of all three tournaments, with Lianna Sybeldon earning two all-tourney selections and one each for Nelson, Katy Beals, and freshman Tia Scambray. Washington currently leads the NCAA in hitting percentage with a .372 mark, and UW leads the Pac-12 with 2.87 blocks per set.

The Badgers are 8-0 so far this season, hitting .315 as a team. Senior Ellen Chapman, an All-America honorable mention last year, leads the offense with 3.56 kills per set, but five players average more than two kills a set. Taylor Morey is averaging an impressive 5.26 digs per set as well. Wisconsin had a big win at No. 13 Colorado State on Sept. 6, sweeping the Rams in front of 7,018 fans. Washington and Wisconsin last met in the NCAA tournament in 2005, with UW winning in straight sets to reach the Final Four.

The Trojans slipped a few spots in the rankings this week after losing a five setter to Texas A&M and a three-setter to then-No. 10 Florida last week, now sitting at 6-2. Bricio is second in the NCAA in aces per set at 0.83, and leads the team with 3.37 kills per set, while Nwanebu has 3.00 kills per set hitting .305. Washington and USC will have to wait two more weeks before meeting the first time this year on Oct. 1.

Maryland is 7-2 but has yet to face a ranked opponent. The Terrapins have a first year head coach in Steve Aird, who came over from Penn State’s staff. Maryland is hitting .200 for the season with Adreene Elliott leading the squad with 3.93 kills per set and Chavi St. Hill hitting a team-best .382. Washington and Maryland have never played.