Pac-12 volleyball faces seven ranked teams in coming week
• Pac-12 teams posted a winning record to open the season but it was not the dominant opening weekend the league has been accustomed to. However, Conference teams will have another chance this weekend to show why at least half of the league earns a postseason bid on a consistent basis.
• Pac-12 teams will not need to wait long to see how they measure against the nation’s best. COLORADO hosts the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge this weekend on the Pac-12 Network. No. 13 Penn State and No. 17 Illinois take on the Buffs, as well as No. 9 STANFORD.
• Three Pac-12 teams continue to be ranked in the top-10 in the country with WASHINGTON earning the highest rating at No. 5 in the latest AVCA Coaches poll. UCLA is No. 8 in the country after starting out the season at No. 12. Though STANFORD opened the season with a loss, the Cardinal bounced back to close out the weekend with a win over then-No. 3 Minnesota and moved up to No. 9 in this week’s polling.
• Both the Cardinal and WASHINGTON STATE headlined last week’s results, each posting upset victories in the opening weekend. The Cardinal had four close sets (25-23,25-15,25-27,25-19), but eventually took down then-No. 3 Minnesota. The victory came after a five-set nail biter which the Cardinal suffered on the first day of the season. The Cougars swept then No. 24 Kentucky in the season opener. It was the first time WSU had posted an upset away from home since 2013.
• Though the Pac-12 has a streak of 16-consecutive years of at least six NCAA Tournament bids, league teams continue to schedule the nation’s toughest opponents. In the opening weekend, league teams faced eight teams ranked in the top-25 last week. This week, they face seven ranked opponents, including OREGON STATE facing No. 1 Nebraska.
• Preseason accolades … Individual players had dominant performances, leading to regular-season tournament honors. CALIFORNIA’s Jenelle Jordan was tabbed Most Valuable Player of the Molten Classic, ARIZONA STATE’s Oluoma Okaro was voted the MVP of the UNM Tournament, OREGON STATE’s Mary-Kate Marshall also earned MVP honors at the Ultra Ankle Challenge and WSU’s Kyra Holt was the top honoree at the Purdue Mortar Board Premier Tournament.
• 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.
• 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.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific)
|Thursday, Sep. 1||TV/Stream||Time|
|#5 WASHINGTON at Seattle U.||7 p.m. PT|
|University of the Pacific vs. #8 UCLA (1)||7:45 p.m. PT|
|Friday, Sep. 2|
|WASHINGTON STATE at Northeastern||10 a.m. PT|
|Murray State at OREGON (2)||Live Stream||11 a.m. PT|
|Rice vs. UTAH (3)||11:30 a.m. PT|
|Alabama State at ARIZONA (4)||Live Stream||12 p.m. PT|
|Idaho at #5 WASHINGTON||1 p.m. PT|
|CALIFORNIA at Long Beach State (5)||Live Stream||1 p.m. PT|
|Syracuse at OREGON STATE||1:30 p.m. PT|
|Butler vs. ARIZONA STATE (6)||2 p.m. PT|
|UTAH at Missouri (3)||4:30 p.m. PT|
|SMU at ARIZONA (4)||Live Stream||7 p.m. PT|
|Iowa vs. ARIZONA STATE (6)||7 p.m. PT|
|Villanova at #5 WASHINGTON||Live Stream||7 p.m. PT|
|Missouri State vs. #8 UCLA (1)||7:45 p.m. PT|
|San Diego State at OREGON (2)||Live Stream||8 p.m. PT|
|#23 Kentucky at USC||8 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Sep. 3|
|UC Irvine at WASHINGTON STATE||10 a.m. PT|
|Northern Iowa at USC||P12LA||10 a.m. PT|
|CALIFORNIA vs. Northeastern (5)||10 a.m. PT|
|Oakland vs. ARIZONA STATE (6)||12:30 p.m. PT|
|OREGON STATE at #1 Nebraska||12:30 p.m. PT|
|Illinois State vs. UTAH (3)||2 p.m. PT|
|#9 STANFORD vs. #17 Illinois (7)||2 p.m. PT|
|UC Davis at OREGON (2)||Live Stream||6 p.m. PT|
|Pepperdine at ARIZONA (4)||Live Stream||6 p.m. PT|
|#13 Penn State vs. COLORADO (7)||P12M||6 p.m. PT|
|WASHINGTON STATE at Long Beach State||7 p.m. PT|
|CALIFORNIA vs. UC Irvine (5)||7 p.m. PT|
|#22 Creighton at USC||P12LA||8 p.m. PT|
|UCLA at #15 Hawai'i (1)||10 p.m. PT|
|Sunday, Sep. 4||TV/Stream||Time|
|#13 Penn State vs. #9 STANFORD (7)||P12N||2 p.m. PT|
|#17 Illinois vs. COLORADO (7)||P12N||5 p.m. PT|
1 - Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic, Honolulu, HI.; 2 - Oregon Classic, Eugene, Ore.; 3 - Missouri Invitational, Columbia, Mo.; 4 - Wildcat Classic, Tuscon, Ariz.; 5 - LBSU/UCI Mizuno Invitational, Long Beach, Calif.; 6 - Iowa Tournament, Iowa City, Iowa.; 7 - Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, Boulder, Colo.
2016 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|Aug. 29||Jennie Frager, UCLA||Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN||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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