Rivalry Matches Kicks Off Conference Play in Volleyball
• Conference play starts this week with the rivalry matches, all of which are televised on Pac-12 Networks. Two-time defending league champion No. 7 WASHINGTON opens its title defense on the road at WASHINGTON STATE. The Huskies and Cougs are two of the top-three blocking teams in the nation.
• The Pac-12 slate opens with seven teams ranked in the latest AVCA poll, including three teams in the top 10. No other league has more teams ranked. STANFORD continues to lead the pack at No. 4, followed by the Huskies at No. 7 and OREGON at No. 8. UCLA is No. 11 this week, UTAH is No. 16 and USC is No. 21. COLORADO makes its first appearance of the season at No. 25. WSU is also receiving votes.
• No. 21 USC travels to No. 11 UCLA for an ESPNU televised match on Wednesday night. The Bruins have won five of the last six meetings between the teams, with the last three going at least four sets. It should be another electric match between the intra-city rivals.
• Colorado is in this week’s poll after upsetting intra-state rival then-No. 22 Colorado State. The then-unranked Buffs took down the Rams, coming back from a two-set deficit to win in five. It was the first time since 1995 CU had won in Fort Collins, Colo. Now the Buffs hit the road again for its second-straight ranked opponent, opening league play at Utah on Friday.
• CALIFORNIA is off to its best start in six years, already equaling its win total from all of last season. The Golden Bears take on the Cardinal in Maples Pavilion. Stanford’s only losses have been to the second-ranked team in the nation Penn State.
• In her seventh season at the helm, head coach Jen Greeny tallied her 100th win at Washington State on Sept. 15. The Cougs went on to win the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational at Missouri State with junior Taylor Mims garnering Most Valuable Player honors.
• Eight Pac-12 teams rank in the top 25 in the country in hitting percentage. Utah (.302, 8th) and Oregon (.301, 10th) are two of just 12 teams in the nation to have a team hitting percentage of over .300.
• Five Pac-12 teams are among the top 25 teams in the nation in blocks. WSU is second among NCAA Division programs with a blocks average of 3.35 bps, while UW ranks third (3.34) and Stanford is 10th (3.04).
• Individually, Washington’s Marion Hazelwood is the Conference’s blocks leader, ranking fourth in the nation in the category (1.71), followed by teammate Lauren Sanders (7th, 1.66) and WSU’s Jocelyn Urias (8th, 1.62). The trio will go head-to-head this week to open Conference play. Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer is the nation’s third-highest point producer (5.65) with and OSU’s Mary-Kate Marshall ranking fifth (5.55). The pair also rank sixth (4.93) and seventh (4.90) in kills per set, respectively.
• The top-two assist producers in the Pac-12, to-date, are freshmen. ARIZONA STATE’s Shelbie Dobmeier leads the Conference with an average of 12.04 and Colorado’s Brynna Deluzio is second with an average of 11.45.
• 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 fourth among the NCAA’s active leaders with 1,581, while Anae is seventh with 1,526. That also puts them in the top 31 all-time in Pac-12 history in the category.
• 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|
|Tuesday, Sept. 19||TV/Stream||Time|
|Oregon State at #8 Oregon||P12N||7 p.m. PT|
|Wednesday, Sept. 20|
|#7 Washington at Washington State||P12N||6 p.m. PT|
|California at #4 Stanford||P12N||8 p.m. PT|
|#21 USC at #11 UCLA||ESPNU||8 p.m. PT|
|Thursday, Sept. 21|
|Arizona at Arizona State||P12N||8 p.m. PT|
|Friday, Sept. 22|
|#25 Colorado at #16 Utah||PAC12||6 p.m. PT|
|#8 Oregon at #11 UCLA||P12N||8 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Sept. 23|
|Washington State at Arizona||6 p.m. PT|
|Sunday, Sept. 24|
|#4 Stanford at #25 Colorado||P12N||11 a.m. PT|
|California at #16 Utah||P12N||1 p.m. PT|
|Oregon State at #21 USC||P12N||1 p.m. PT|
|#7 Washington at Arizona State||P12N||1 p.m. PT|
2017 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive: Alexa Smith, Colorado
Defensive: Halle Harker, Arizona State
Freshman: Brynna Deluzio, Colorado
Offensive: Paige Whipple, ARIZ; Oluoma Okaro, ASU; Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Reily Buechler, UCLA; Brittany Abercrombie, USC; Tawnee Luafalemana, UTAH; Courtney Schwan, WASH; Taylor Mims, WSU.
Defensive: Devyn Cross, ARIZ; Gabby Carta-Samuels, COLO; Kayla Ellis, OSU; Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN; Sarah Sponcil, UCLA; Victoria Garrick, USC; Marion Hazelwood, WASH; Alexis Dirige, WSU.
Freshman: Paige Whipple, ARIZ; Griere Hughes, ASU; Preslie Anderson, CAL; Maddie Goings, OSU; Meghan McClure, STAN; Daley Krage, USC; Jenny Mosser, UCLA; Dani Barton, UTAH; Lauren Sanders, WASH.
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