Nine Pac-12 volleyball teams earn national ranking
SAN FRANCISCO - It was an exciting first week of league play. Not only did it kick off with rivalry matchups, but half of the 12 league matchups were five setters and another three went to four sets. With that, the Pac-12 enters the week with nine ranked teams, the most since Dec. 2014, and the most of any league in the nation.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• The second week of league action is also stacking up to be a big one with seven top-25 matchups on the schedule. Kicking off the week is No. 18 UCLA traveling to No. 2 STANFORD, where the Cardinal have won 23 in a row on its home court, for a match on Pac-12 Network. Two of the Conference’s top setters go head-to-head in Cardinal veteran Jenna Gray (2nd in the Pac-12 in assists per game) and freshman Devon Chang (9th in the Pac-12 in assists per set).
• The action continues on Friday with newly-ranked ARIZONA (No. 24) and No. 12 OREGON in Eugene, also on Pac-12 Networks and should feature a lot of offensive action. Both teams are in the top-six in the country in kills per set (Oregon, 4th, 14.79 vs, Arizona, 6th, 14.62).
• An ESPN2 showdown is also scheduled for Friday, with No. 13 USC traveling to Stanford. It will be another big matchup between two of the Conference's top setters, Gray going up against another rookie distributor in USC's Raquel Lázaro.
• The week closes out on Sunday with another six matches, including No. 25 UTAH at No. 13 WASHINGTON where the battle will be taken to the baseline. The Utes (84) and Trojans (82) have recorded the most services aces so far this season.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Local to Site)
|Wednesday, Sept. 26||TV/Stream||Time|
|#18 UCLA at #2 Stanford*||P12N||7 p.m. PT|
|Friday, Sept. 28||TV/Stream||Time|
|#23 Colorado at #13 Washington*||P12N||6 p.m. PT|
|Arizona State at Oregon State*||P1N||7 p.m. PT|
|#18 UCLA at California*||P12N||7 p.m. PT|
|#25 Utah at #22 Washington State*||P12N||7 p.m. PT|
|#24 Arizona at #12 Oregon*||P12N||8 p.m. PT|
|#13 USC at #2 Stanford*||ESPN2||8 p.m. PT|
|Sunday, Sept. 30||TV/Stream||Time|
|#24 Arizona at Oregon State*||P12N||12 p.m. PT|
|#23 Colorado at #22 Washington State*||Live Stream||12 p.m. PT|
|#25 Utah at #13 Washington*||P12N||12 p.m. PT|
|Arizona State at #12 Oregon*||Live Stream||1 p.m. PT|
|#13 USC at California*||1 p.m. PT|
* Pac-12 match
• After the first week of league play, nine Pac-12 teams earned a top-25 ranking, marking the sixth-consecutive week at least seven teams were ranked. It is the first time since Dec. 22, 2014 that nine league teams are among the top-25.
• Arizona and COLORADO enter the poll, the Wildcats appearing in the top-25 for the first time since the 2017 preseason poll. The Buffs are in the poll for the first time since the Sept. 3 ranking.
• Stanford continues to lead the way with a No. 2 national ranking, also garnering five first-place votes. OREGON stayed put at No. 12, USC moved up a spot to No. 13 where it is tied with WASHINGTON. UCLA is No. 18, and WASHINGTON STATE, Colorado, Arizona and Utah are Nos. 22, 23, 24 and 25, respectively.
• The Pac-12 had eight ranked teams during the week of Sept. 3, and has had at least seven teams ranked every week, including the preseason.
• ARIZONA STATE broke a lengthy losing streak, picking up its first Pac-12 win since 2016 and the first under head coach Sanja Tomasevic. The Sun Devils have seen an improvement over last season, averaging more points per set than last year while allowing opponents to score over 1.5 pps less than a year ago. ASU has also improved on its kills, digs and blocking averages compared to 2017.
• The Pac-12 boasts four setters with assist averages in the top-25 in the NCAA, including two in the top-five. Oregon’s August Raskie (12.30) and Stanford’s Jenna Gray (12.21) rank third and fourth in the country, helping Oregon (3rd) and the Cardinal (6th) rank in the top-six in team assists average. Arizona’s Julia Patterson (12th, 11.34) and USC’s Raquel Lazaro (23rd, 11.14) also rank in the top 25.
• Colorado’s Alexa Smith joined the 1,000-kills club, just the second Colorado native to accomplish the feat, becoming the sixth active Pac-12 player with 1,000 career kills, joining Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer, Arizona’s Kendra Dahlke, USC’s Khalia Lanier and Oregon’s Lindsey Vander Weide. A total of 177 players in Pac-12 history have reached the 1,000-kill plateau.
• Arizona’s Dave Rubio joins an elite company after claiming his 500th victory while at Tucson on Sept. 14. In his 27th season at the Wildcat helm, he is only the second head coach in Pac-12 history to reach the milestone.
• Oregon claimed a pair of weekly honorees as Ronika Stone and Lindsey Vander Weide was tabbed Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively. The duo led the Ducks to a pair of victories to open league play at 2-0. Vander Weide became the 11th active player in the NCAA to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, while also becoming the fifth Duck to do so.
• USC’s Raquel Lazaro was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the third time this season after recording six aces in a win over crosstown-rival UCLA, followed up by a 58-assist performance in a road win over Colorado.
• Washington State’s Taylor Mims joined teammate Claire Martin and Colorado’s Naghede Abu as the only three Pac-12 players with over 400-career blocks. Martin broke WSU’s all-time blocks record on Sept. 14.
• Six current players have recorded a a minimum 1,000 career digs, led by OSU’s Kayla Ellis who is on the verge of breaking into the Pac-12’s top 50 with over 1,300. Oregon’s Lindsey Vander Weide became the first player this season to reach the threshold.
• Pac-12 teams opened the season in dominant fashion, going 25-5 (.833) in the first weekend of play. League teams have posted a 385-91 (.809) record in the opening week of play dating back to 2002.
2018-19 IN A NUTSHELL
• Stanford returns as the defending Pac-12 Champion, also advancing to the NCAA semifinal. The Cardinal were also picked to win the 2018 league crown, followed by USC in second and Oregon in third. For a complete listing of the poll, click on the link below.
• Seven AVCA All-Americans return from last year, including 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer. Four of the seven are first team honorees and all are juniors, including USC’s Lanier, and Cardinal teammates Morgan Hentz and Jenna Gray. Plummer became the first player to win the national player of the year honor a year after garnering the AVCA National Freshman of the Year award.
• Nine of the 14 players named to the 2017 All-Pac-12 team return for 2018, including Stanford’s Morgan Hentz, the Pac-12 Libero of the Year last year, and Jenna Gray, the 2017 Pac-12 Setter of the Year.
• The Pac-12 welcomes new coaches to the sidelines, including California mentor Jennifer Dorr and USC’s Brent Crouch. Dorr has been with the Golden Bears program since 2009 when she joined the squad as the director of operations before moving to the role of assistant coach in 2011. Crouch was named the 2016 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year while with Portland.
• Pac-12 volleyball continues to attract marquee student-athletes. Five Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with Oregon and UCLA pacing the league with four each. Thirteen named to the list will be donning a Pac-12 uniform this season.
PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL BROADCASTS
• In 2018, 91 Pac-12 regular-season volleyball matches will be televised this season, by far the most of any conference in the nation. Of those, 88 appear on the Pac-12 Networks beginning with the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge Friday, Aug. 31 doubleheader featuring Colorado and Washington taking on Illinois and Iowa.
• ESPN will also televise three Pac-12 matches, including the UCLA-USC rivalry matchup on Wednesday, Sept. 19 on ESPNU. ESPN2 will be the home of two Pac-12 matches: USC at STANFORD on Friday, Sept. 28 and Stanford at OREGON on Sunday, Oct. 21.
• For a full television schedule, visit pac-12.com.
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive: Ronika Stone, ORE
Defensive: Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE
Freshman: Raquel Lázaro
Offensive: Alyse Ford, ASU; Maddie Goings, OSU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Jasmine Gross, USC; Dani Drews, UTAH; Samantha Drechsel, WASH; Taylor Mims, WSU.
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, ASU; Grace Massey, OSU; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Kyra Rogers, UCLA; Victoria Garrick, USC; Shayne McPherson, WASH; Alexis Dirige, WSU.
Freshman: Tatum Rohme, ASU; Brooke Nuneviller, ORE; Holly Campbell, STAN; Emily Ryan, UCLA; Ella May Powell, WASH.
2018 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
IN THE PRESEASON
AVCA National Player of the Week:
Sep. 11 - Kathryn Plummer, Stanford