Second half of Pac-12 volleyball league play is underway

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Dean Hare /WSU Photo Services

SAN FRANCISCO - As the second half of league play gets underway this week, teams are looking to play for a spot in the postseason. Second-ranked STANFORD has a hold of the top spot in the Pac-12 standings, going a perfect 10-0 to start league play. After starting off with a 14-0 league record last year, it is the first time since 1997 and 1998 that the Cardinal has had back-to-back seasons of 10-0 starts in league play.
• Seven Pac-12 teams remain ranked this week. No. 19 WASHINGTON STATE made the biggest jump in the poll of any team in the top 25, moving up four spots. The Cougs are tied for third in the Pac-12 and face UTAH on Wednesday to start the week’s volleyball action on Pac-12 Networks. The match will showcase two of the top scorers in the league with WSU outside hitter Taylor Mims (4.58 pps) and Utah outside hitter Dani Drews (4.36) battling on either side of the net.

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• The nation’s top setters go head-to-head this week with STANFORD junior Jenna Gray traveling to face USC’s Raquel Lázaro. Gray ranks second in the nation in assists per set, while Lázaro ranks 15th. Ranked fourth in assists per set in the country, August Raskie of OREGON heads to Tucson to square off with ARIZONA’s Julia Patterson, who posts the 15th-best assist average in the country.
• No. 15 USC will try to make some ground on the Cardinal, which has a three-match lead over the second-place Trojans, when Stanford heads to Los Angeles on Friday. The Cardinal has won the last four meetings and the last time USC defeated Stanford in Los Angeles was in 2013.
• No. 23 ARIZONA hosts No. 16 OREGON on Sunday. The Ducks have a one-match lead in the standings over the Wildcats, who picked up a pair of wins last week to even its Conference record to 5-5.
• This week’s top-25 matchups wrap up with No. 20 UCLA hosting the Cardinal on Sunday on Pac-12 Networks. The Cardinal has one of the most powerful attacks in the country, ranking second with 15.15 kills per set. However, the Bruins are the top team in the Pac-12 and 25th in the country in digs per set at 17.39.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Local to Site)

Wednesday, Oct. 24 TV/Stream Time
#19 Washington State at Utah* P12N 7 p.m. MT
Friday, Oct. 26 TV/Stream Time
#21 Washington at Utah* P12N 6 p.m. MT
#19 Washington State at Colorado* P12N 7 p.m. MT
California at #20 UCLA* Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
Oregon State at #23 Arizona* P12N 7 p.m. MT
#16 Oregon at Arizona State* P12N 7 p.m. MT
#2 Stanford at #15 USC* P12N 7 p.m. PT
Sunday, Oct. 28 TV/Stream Time
#16 Oregon at #23 Arizona* Live Stream 11 a.m. MT
#21 Washington at Colorado* P12W 12 p.m. MT
Oregon State at Arizona State* P12O 12 p.m. MT
California at #15 USC* Live Stream 1 p.m. PT
#2 Stanford at #20 UCLA* P12N 4 p.m. PT

* Pac-12 Conference Match

IN THE RANKINGS
• Stanford remains at No. 2, occupying one of the top-two spots in the AVCA Coaches Poll every week but one. The Cardinal headline seven teams ranked in the polling this week, including No. 15 USC, No. 16 Oregon, No. 19 Washington State, No. 20 UCLA, No. 21 WASHINGTON and No. 23 Arizona. COLORADO and Utah are receiving votes.
• 11 different teams have earned a top-25 ranking or have received votes this season with nine teams appearing in the ranking on Sept. 24. At least seven Pac-12 teams have been ranked every week, including the preseason.
• Stanford boasts the top spot in the RPI and all but one Pac-12 team is rated in the top 100. Eight are in the top 40 with USC appearing in the top 10 at No. 6.

WHAT’S TRENDING
• First-time honorees highlight the Pac-12 volleyball players of the week. Washington State’s Jocelyn Arias was tabbed the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, leading the Cougs to back-to-back home victories over then-No. 15 USC and then-No. 20 UCLA. Arizona junior Devyn Cross was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, helping UA to a 2-0 week. Lastly, CALIFORNIA’s Lauren Forte was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after recording a .500 hitting percentage.
• Stanford’s No. 2 national ranking can easily be justified by looking at the team’s statistical numbers. It has found success with a balanced offensive attack and a staunch defense leading the nation in blocks per set (3.25) while ranking second in assists per set (14.20), hitting percentage (.312) and kills per set (15.15). Stanford has also won 25-consecutive home matches.
• The Pac-12 boasts some of the best setters in the nation, with four student-athletes ranked in the top-20 in assists per set. Stanford’s Jenna Gray leads the country with 12.55 aps and Oregon’s August Raskie ranks fourth at 12.06 aps. USC’s Raquel Lázaro has the highest assists average among freshmen in the country and ranks 15th among all players with 11.30 aps. Arizona’s Julia Patterson ranks 23rd with an assists average of 11.13.
• California defeated its second ranked opponent in three tries, taking down the-No. 24 Utah on Oct. 7 and then-No. 21 Washington State on Oct. 14, marking the first time Cal has taken down two ranked conference opponents in the same season since 2016. The Bears’ freshman Lauren Forte ranks fifth in the nation in blocks per set at 1.57.
• ARIZONA STATE broke a lengthy losing streak, picking up its first Pac-12 win since 2016 and the first under head coach Sanja Tomasevic on Sept. 23 over then-No. 12 Oregon. The win over the Ducks was the first over a ranked team since 2016 and was also the first sweep of UO since 2005. They notched a second sweep over a top-15 opponent this season with a win over No. 15 Washington, the most wins over a ranked opponent for the Sun Devils since 2015. It was ASU’s first win over Washington since Nov. 21, 2012 and the first sweep of the Huskies since Sept. 22, 2000.
• Seven current Pac-12 student-athletes have collected over 1,000-career kills. USC Khalia Lanier leads all active players in the Conference with 1,354, ranking 20th among active NCAA volleyball players. It also puts her in the top 85 in league history. Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer (1,299) and Arizona’s Kendra Dahlke (1,290) are also ranked in the top 30 among active players in the NCAA, both are within 10 of reaching 1,300 career kills.
• COLORADO’s Naghede Abu and WASHINGTON STATE’s Claire Martin became the 26th players in Pac-12 history to record 500-career blocks. The duo rank seventh and eighth, respectively, among active NCAA leaders in the category.
• Six current players have recorded a a minimum 1,000 career digs, led by OSU’s Kayla Ellis who is broke into the Pac-12’s top 50 with over 1,300, ranking 42nd all-time. Oregon’s Lindsey Vander Weide became the first player this season to reach the threshold.
• Arizona’s Dave Rubio joined 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.
• 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.

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.


STANDINGS (as of 10/22/18)

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Stanford 10-0 18-1
USC 7-3 15-6
Washington State 6-4 15-5
Oregon 6-4 13-7
UCLA 6-4 11-6
Arizona 5-5 16-6
Washington 5-5 13-7
Arizona State 4-6 13-9
Utah 4-6 12-9
Colorado 4-6 12-9
California 3-7 11-10
Oregon State 0-10 10-12

PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK:
Offensive: Jocelyn Urias, WSU
Defensive: Devyn Cross, ARIZ
Freshman: Lauren Forte, CAL

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive:
Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ; Alyse Ford, ASU; Mima Mirkovic, CAL; Alexa Smith, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Amy Underdown, OSU; Jenna Gray, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Dani Drews, UTAH.
Defensive: Naghede Abu, COLO; Brooke Nuneviller, ORE; Tami Alade, STAN; Zana Muno, UCLA; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH; Ashley Brown, WSU.
Freshman: Jenna Ewert, COLO; Brooke Nuneviller, ORE; Holly Campbell, STAN; Alexis Light, UCLA; Megan Yett, UTAH.

2018 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

 

Offensive

Defensive

Freshman

Aug. 27 Brooke Botkin, USC Grace Massey, OSU Raquel Lázaro, USC
Sep. 3 Mac May, UCLA Claire Martin, WSU Raquel Lázaro, USC
Sep. 10 Kathryn Plummer, STAN Morgan Hentz, STAN Brooke Nuneviller, ORE
Sep. 17 Kathryn Plummer, STAN Morgan Hentz, STAN Maddie Sheehan, OSU
Sep. 24 Ronika Stone, ORE Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE Raquel Lázaro, USC
Oct. 1 Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ Morgan Hentz, STAN Holly Campbell, STAN 
Oct. 8 Taylor Borup, ORE Morgan Hentz, STAN Brooke Nuneviller, ORE
Oct. 15 Kathryn Plummer, STAN Morgan Hentz, STAN Raquel Lázaro, USC
Oct. 22 Jocelyn Urias, WSU Devyn Cross, ARIZ Lauren Forte, CAL

NATIONAL HONORS

AVCA National Player of the Week:
Sep. 11 - Kathryn Plummer, Stanford
Oct. 9 - Taylor Borup, Oregon

ESPNW Player of the Year Watch: 
Kathryn Plummer keeps elevating
Khalia Lanier hitting and knitting her way to Stanford showdown
After rocky introduction, Ronika Stone is crushing it at Oregon

Senior CLASS Award Nominees: 
Alexa Smith, COLO

Tami Alade, STAN


IN THE PRESEASON

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


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.


HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

• The Pac-12 has captured seven of the last 15 NCAA crowns (2016- Stanford, 2011 - UCLA, 2005 - Washington, 2004 - Stanford, 2003 - USC, 2002 - USC, 2001 - Stanford) and 15 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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