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Conference Play Begins For Pac-12 Women's Volleyball

Sep 21, 2015

• THIS WEEK: The battle for the Pac-12 Conference crown starts this week when league teams go head-to-head for the next 10 weeks. It is rivalry week and each of the rivalry matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, with 10 matches being broadcast this week in all. Defending Pac-12 Champion STANFORD kicks off Conference play with a match at CALIFORNIA on Tuesday on Pac-12 Bay Area.

CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)

Teams Points Pac-12 Record Overall Record
USC 0 0-0 12-0
Arizona State 0 0-0 11-0
Washington 0 0-0 10-0
Washington State 0 0-0 11-1
UCLA 0 0-0 9-1
Arizona 0 0-0 10-2
Stanford 0 0-0 6-2
Colorado 0 0-0 8-4
Oregon 0 0-0 6-3
California 0 0-0 6-5
Utah 0 0-0 6-5
Oregon State 0 0-0 2-8

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Local To Site)

Tuesday, Sept. 22 TV/Live Stream Time
Wednesday, Sept. 23    
#3 USC at #13 UCLA PAC12 7 p.m. PT
Thursday, Sept. 24    
Saturday, Sept. 26    
UTAH at WASHINGTON STATE Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
Sunday, Sept. 27    
#18 OREGON at #14 ARIZONA ESPNU 2 p.m. MT

PAC12/PACAZ/PACBA/PACLA/PACMT/PACOR/PACWA - Indicates live broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
ESPNU - Indicates live broadcast on ESPNU

• With seven teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches poll, four matches will feature a pair of top-20 teams. Top-20 matches this week include a battle in LA between No. 3 USC and No. 13 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday. A full slate of television games on Sunday includes a matchup between No. 18 OREGON vs. No. 14 ARIZONA on ESPNU, while the No. 8 STANFORD hosts the Trojans in a top-10 clash on the Pac-12 Networks.

•IN THE RANKINGS: For the fifth-consecutive week, at least seven Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top-25 of the AVCA Coaches poll. After starting the season ranked No. 22, USC made a rapid climb to No. 3 and is in that spot for the second-straight week. The Trojans headline four league teams ranked in the top 10: No. 6 WASHINGTON, No. 7 ARIZONA STATE and No. 8 STANFORD. UCLA is No. 13 this week, following by No. 14 ARIZONA and No. 18 OREGON. COLORADO is receiving votes.

• The Pac-12 had a league-record nine teams earn a preseason top-25 rating this season.

• NCAA STATS: WASHINGTON’s .381 hitting percentage to start the week is the best in the country according to the NCAA. The Huskies, along with USC and ARIZONA STATE, are three of seven remaining undefeated teams in the country. Washington has been a balanced squad on both sides of the ball, also ranking third in the nation in opponent hitting percentage (.099) with ASU only slightly better, limiting foes to .094 hitting. Also in the top five, the Trojans is third in hitting percentage (.335) and WASHINGTON STATE is fifth in the nation with a 2.11 aces per set.

• Individually, USC’s Samantha Bricio in the country’s leader in aces per set (0.87) and points per set (6.26). The Pac-12 has four players in the top 20 in blocks per set, including three in the top 10 (Alicia Ogoms, USC - 1st; Ivana Vanjak, STAN - 8th; Melanie Wade, WASH - 9th). UW’s Lianna Sybeldon has the second-best hitting percentage in the nation at.508.

For a complete list of NCAA stats team and individual leaders visit this link:

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: COLORADO's Gabby Simpson was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, WASHINGTON's Melanie Wade was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and McKenna Woodford of WASHINGTON STATE was selected as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.

• AROUND THE LEAGUE: With conference play beginning in the Pac-12, Arizona will play a top-10 team in each of the next four weeks … At 11-0, this is ASU's best start since 1976, when the Devils started with 11 straight victories … California opens its Pac-12 season with Stanford on Tuesday which will mark its third match in five days … Colorado's sophomore Cierra Simpson became a member of the 1,000-dig club earlier this season. She's ninth in the league in digs per set at 3.41 and has been key in the Buffs' 8-4 start … Oregon begins the conference season on Thursday with well-rested legs. The Ducks' last non-conference match was on September 8 … Oregon State's Mary-Kate Marshall, a 2014 AVCA All-American, is currently seventh in the Conference with 3.77 kills per set … Stanford has not yet dropped a set at home this season and now has won 27-straight matches at Maples Pavilion … UCLA ended non-conference play on an eight-game winning streak … At 12-0, USC had 10 sweeps during the non-conference season and only lost two sets total …The Utes, at 6-5, registered a winning record outside of conference play for a fifth-straight year and seventh of the previous eight seasons … For the seventh-straight year, Washington heads into Pac-12 play with an undefeated record … Washington State setter Haley MacDonald has helped the Cougars to an 11-1 record by leading the Pac-12 in assists per set at 11.11.

• Pac-12 teams have defeated nine ranked non-conference teams so far this season with USC accounting for three of those wins. The Trojans’ three wins were to teams ranked in the top 11 at the time of the meeting, two of which came in the opening weekend. UCLA traveled to then-No. 17 Hawai’i over the weekend and took down the UH in front of a crowd of over 8,600 fans. ARIZONA STATE, COLORADO and STANFORD have also notched wins over top-10 foes.

• Three Pac-12 teams remain undefeated after two weekends of action while 10 teams have a record of .500 or better due, in part, to the strength of the league’s defense. Nine Conference teams are limiting opponents to a .178 or worse hitting percentage. That would’ve ranked all nine teams in the top 66 in the country in the NCAA last year out of 328 teams. ARIZONA STATE has been the most unrelenting, boasting a minuscule .076 opponent hitting average, which would have ranked No. 1 in the country, by far, last year.

• Three Pac-12 teams remain undefeated after the conclusion of the non-conference portion of the schedule and 11 teams have a record of .500 or better due, in part, to the strength of the league’s defense. Four Conference teams are ranked in the top 12 in the nation in opponent hitting percentage, as ARIZONA STATE, WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON STATE and ARIZONA limiting opponents to under .142 hitting. Four league squads are also in the top 15 in the country in blocks per set, with STANFORD ranking second in the country at 3.19. Four Pac-12 teams also rank in the top 15 in kills per set, including the Huskies (7th) and the Wildcats (13th).

• Pac-12 teams went 97-31 (.758) in the non-conference, including going 27-7 in the opening weekend. In the opening weekend, 17 of the 27 wins came in three-set sweeps. Since 2002, league teams have dominated the first weekend of play, going 332-81 (.804).

• The Pac-12 is coming off another historic season which saw an unprecedented 10 teams earn NCAA Tournament bids and went a perfect 10-0 in the first round of the postseason.

 Last year, 14 players were named AVCA All-Americans and eight return for 2015 including senior standouts such as Stanford’s Madi Bugg and Jordan Burgess, USC’s Samantha Bricio, UO’s Martenne Bettendorf, ASU’s Macey Gardner and UW’s Lianna Sybeldon. Sophomores Merete Lutz of Stanford and Mary-Kate Marshall of OSU also return to help lead their respective teams this season.

• One new coach will be roaming the Pac-12 sidelines after WASHINGTON announced the hiring of Keegan Cook, who replaced former UW coach Jim McLaughlin. However, Cook may look familiar to some as he served as an assistant coach under McLaughlin the last two years, helping the Huskies advance to the NCAA semifinal in 2013. Also in coaching news, UTAH head coach Beth Launiere needs just seven more victories for career No. 500. She has spent all 25 years of her career in Salt Lake City.

• FAB Freshman ... Pac-12 volleyball continues to recruit marquee student-athletes. Seven Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with OREGON pacing the Conference with four. STANFORD signed the nation’s top recruit according to the publication in Hayley Hodson.

• Once again, the Pac-12 will have the most comprehensive volleyball television coverage of any league in the country. 95 total matches will be broadcast live, with 92 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

• COMPLETE CAMPAIGN: Pac-12 students are known for their success on the field, but they are also impressive, complete people with outside interests, diverse backgrounds, extracurricular activities, interesting families, busy schedules, and full lives. Our school’s releases for this week’s games will focus on who Pac-12 students are off the field of play.

Below are just a few highlights of the students from around the Conference:

• ARIZONA: Senior Halli Amaro is ARIZONA’s Student of the Month for her 4.0 GPA over the summer.

• UTAH: Brenna DeYoung is a member of the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and while in high school, she won multiple championships and was a saddle winner, as well. Brennan’s horse, Haz To Be Time, was recently named the Zone 2 Open Champion at the 2014 APHA Zone High Point Championships and Brenna was named the All-Around and All-Ages National Champion.

• WASHINGTON: Washington is the only Pac-12 school and one of just two nationally with multiple candidates for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award. Cassie Strickland is hoping to use her Medical Anthropology & Global Health degree to help empower children in her father’s native Samoa through athletics. Melanie Wade, a Psychology major with an Environmental Studies minor, is looking to work in the field of sustainability

• WASHINGTON STATE: Junior Hailey Bethune is a pre-medical sciences major and plans to be a physician’s assistant in orthopedics; junior Haley MacDonald is a human development major and wants to be a NICU nurse; freshman Taylor Mims is also a pre-medical sciences major and wants to become a veterinarian; and freshman Olivia Coale has not declared a major but wants to be a nurse.


Offensive - Gabby Simpson, Colorado
Defensive - Melanie Wade, Washington
Freshman - McKenna Woodford, Washington State

: Kalei Mau, ARIZ; Macey Gardner, ASU; Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU; Merete Lutz, STAN; Jordan Anderson, UCLA; Samantha Bricio, USC; Courtney Schwan, WASH; McKenna Woodford, WSU.
Defensive: Halli Amaro, ARIZ; Anna Pfefferle, COLO; Haley Clarke, OSU; Halland McKenna, STAN; Jennie Frager, UCLA; Alicia Ogoms, USC; Kate Sommer, WSU.
Freshman: Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ; Naghede Abu, COLO; Kayla Ellis, OSU; Hayley Hodson, STAN; Zana Muno, UCLA; Alyse Ford, USC.


  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Aug. 31 Samantha Bricio, USC Kalei Mau, ARIZ Hayley Hodson, STAN
Sept. 7 Samantha Bricio, USC Brenna DeYoung, UTAH Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE
Sept. 14 Samantha Bricio, USC Lianna Sybeldon, WASH Zana Muno, UCLA
Sept. 21 Gabby Simpson, COLO Melanie Wade, WASH McKenna Woodford, WSU


Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll & All-Pac-12 Team | AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll


o The Pac-12 has captured six of the last 14 NCAA crowns (2011 - UCLA, 2005 - Washington, 2004 - Stanford, 2003 - USC, 2002 - USC, 2001 - Stanford) and 14 NCAA titles overall.

o The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in eight of the last 10 years. Last year, 11 were named to the AVCA All-America squad, the most since 13 were selected in 2009. Ten former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while another 18 players in all have earned All-American honors three times.

o Since 1990, Pac-12 players garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 13 times, including the last four of the last five years - CAL's Carli Lloyd (2010), USC's Alex Jupiter (2011), ORE's Alaina Bergsma (2012) and WASH's Krista Vansant (2013). The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 13 times, including Vansant in 2013.

o The current group of Pac-12 volleyball coaches enters the 2015 season with nearly 5,000 Division I victories to its credit, having compiled 4,822 wins in a combined 219 years of head coaching experience. That averages out to nearly 23 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 13 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), Washington's Jim McLaughlin (2004 ASICS and AVCA), and UCLA's Andy Banachowski (2006 ASICS and AVCA).