Four Pac-12 volleyball teams compete at NCAA regionals
SAN FRANCISCO - Four Pac-12 teams head to the NCAA Regional Tournament which takes place Dec. 7 and 8. No. 1-overall seed STANFORD hosts three Pac-12 teams, guaranteeing one league squad in the regional final. The Cardinal faces No. 16-seed WASHINGTON STATE, while WASHINGTON takes on No. 8-seed Penn State in Maples Pavilion. No. 15-seed OREGON travels to Minneapolis to play No. 2-seed Minnesota for a rematch of an early-season clash.
The Huskies play the Nittany Lions on ESPNU with all other regional semifinal matches being streamed on ESPN3. All regional final matches on Saturday will be broadcast on ESPNU.
The Conference has placed at least one team in the regional semifinals in all 38 years of the NCAA Tournament (including 2018) and has had at least one team in the regional final every year dating back to 1999. With the Cardinal facing off on Friday, the Pac-12 is guaranteed a spot in the round of eight for the 19 year in a row.
Winners of the four regional tournaments move on to the national semifinals and championship final matches in Minneapolis, Minn., on Dec. 13 and 15 at the Target Center.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All times local to site)
NCAA Regional Semifinal • Dec. 7
Stanford Regional, at Stanford, Calif.
Washington (20-12) vs. No. 8 Penn State (25-7) 3 p.m. PT (ESPNU)
No. 1 Stanford (30-1) vs. No. 16 Washington St. (23-9) 5:30 p.m. PT (ESPN3)
Minneapolis Regional, at Minneapolis
No. 7 Nebraska (26-6) vs. No. 10 Kentucky (26-4) 1 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
No. 2 Minnesota* (27-3) vs. No. 15 Oregon (22-10) 3:30 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
NCAA Regional Semifinal • Dec. 8
Minneapolis Regional Final 5 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Stanford Regional Final 7 p.m. PT (ESPNU)
Eight Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, the Conference going 10-4 through the first two rounds. Pac-12 Champion Stanford was awarded the No. 1-overall seed with No. 11 USC, No. 15 Oregon and No. 16 Washington State earning seeds also. ARIZONA, COLORADO, UTAH and Washington received berths, as well. It marks the 19th-consecutive year at least six teams have participated in the “Big Dance.”
Seven of the eight Pac-12 teams were making a return trip to the tournament after earning bids last season. The Wildcats were back after snapping a four-year run. Stanford is one of two teams in the nation to have participated in the event all 38 years, including 2018, and is tied for the most NCAA Tournament titles with seven after winning in 2016. Four Cardinals who played in the 2016 national championship match are juniors on this season’s squad.
Stanford won its 18th all-time Pac-12 crown going a perfect 20-0. Junior Kathryn Plummer was tabbed the Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second-straight year. Teammates and classmates Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz were also voted the Pac-12 Setter and Libero of the Year, respectively, for the second-straight yeat. Stanford’s Kevin Hambly was tabbed the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and USC’s Raquel Lázaro was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
The Pac-12 has won a NCAA-record 15 of 37 NCAA titles awarded.
PAC-12 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT…The Pac-12 has captured 15 out of 37 NCAA titles, including 13 of the last 27. With Stanford winning its seventh crown in 2016, it put the Cardinal in a tie for the most in the nation by a program. Four different Pac-12 teams have claimed the NCAA titles and has had at least six tournament berths for 19-consecutive years. Pac-12 teams have compiled an impressive 467-248 (.653) record in NCAA play. Toss out the 23 postseason matches between Conference teams and the league’s NCAA Tournament record against non-conference foes stands at 264-108 (.710) since 2001 and an overall mark of 400-186 (.683). Over the last 17 years, Pac-12 teams are 117-29 (.801) in the first round, including posting a NCAA-record 10-0 in 2015 after a NCAA-record 10 league teams earned bids that season. With eight bids in 2018, the Pac-12 has had at least that many teams go to the postseason in five of the last six years...The Pac-12 has placed at least one Conference team in the regional semifinal every year of the tournament. 18 times in the history of the Conference, the Pac-12 has had at least three teams advance to the regional final...Every Pac-12 member has earned a NCAA Tournament berth since 2013 and seven different teams have reached the national semifinal all-time.
OREGON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … No. 15-seeded Oregon ended the regular season matching its best-ever showing in Pac-12 play, tying for second. The Ducks last finished second in 2012, the same year they appeared in their only national championship match. Oregon posts its ninth 20-win campaign in 12 years. Making their 16th all-time appearance (17-15) and eighth-straight, the Ducks played host to WAC Champion New Mexico State, winning the first-round matchup, 3-1, then taking down Baylor in a two-point, five-set victory. The Ducks travel to Minneapolis to face second-seeded Minnesota. The Ducks are looking for another upset against the Golden Gophers after upsetting the Big Ten Champion on Sept. 9, 3-1, when Minnesota was ranked No. 1 in the country. The winner of this match faces the winner of the No. 7-seeded Nebraska and No. 10-seeded Kentucky matchup.
STANFORD IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … Stanford earns the No. 1-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after going a perfect 20-0 in league play and posting just one loss all season. The Cardinal are the first undefeated Pac-12 Champion since 2003 and the ninth all-time. Stanford is one of just two teams to have earned a berth to all 38 NCAA Tournaments along with Penn State. After winning the national championship in 2016, the Cardinal are tied with the Nittany Lions for the most NCAA titles all-time at seven. The Cardinal are the winningest team in tournament history, becoming the first to 100 postseason wins (121-31, .796). It faces league-foe Washington State in the regional semifinal at Maples Pavilion after defeating Alabama State and LMU in the first two rounds by a score of 3-0 each. The Cardinal also host Washington and eighth-seeded Penn State, who is the only other program in NCAA history to win 100 tournament matches. Stanford (30-1) extended the nation’s longest home winning streak to 34 and has reached the 30-win plateau for the 19th time in program history and pushed its season win streak to 28 matches, tying the school record.
WASHINGTON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … Washington defeated Saint Mary’s (3-1) before toppling Big East Champion and ninth-seeded Creighton, 3-0, to get to the regional semifinal for the sixth time in seven years. The Huskies are making their 23rd appearance and 17th straight. Washington is 50-21 (.704) all-time in the tournament, advancing to the national semifinal four times and winning the crown in 2005. The Huskies face eighth-seeded Penn State at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion. The winner plays Pac-12 foes Washington State or Stanford.
WASHINGTON STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT … No. 16 seed WASHINGTON STATE is making its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, a feat it last achieved from 2000-2002. The Cougs’ seeding is also its highest since garnering the No. 12 seed in 2002. The Cougs are in the regional semifinal for the first time since that year, also the only time they have been to the regional final. They defeated Northern Arizona (3-1) and Tennessee (3-1) to reach regionals at Stanford. It faces Stanford in the semifinal on Friday and will be the second time the two teams have met in the postseason. in 1996, WSU lost in the regional finals to Stanford 3-0. WSU finished the 2018 regular season in fourth with a 12-8 league record, the team’s best showing since 2002. It is only the second 20-win campaign since 2003, also going over the 20-win mark for the second time in three years. Making its 13th all-time appearance, WSU is 13-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
STANDINGS (as of 12/3/18)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 11/26:
Offensive: Dani Drews, UTAH
Defensive: Alexis Dirige, WSU
Freshman: Brooke Nuneviller, ORE
Offensive: Justine Spann, COLO; Willow Johnson, ORE; Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN; McKenna Woodford, WSU.
Defensive: Rachel Whipple, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Grace Massey, OSU; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH.
Freshman: Jenna Ewert, COLO.
2018 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
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
Stanford setter Jenna Gray is no joke
Senior CLASS Award Finalists:
Tami Alade, STAN
Academic All-District 8 (CoSIDA)
Tami Alade, STAN
Halle Johnson, ASU
Meghan McClure, STAN
Mima Mirkovic, CAL
Carmen Annevelink, CAL
Isabel Potter, CAL
Sidney Wilson, STAN
IN THE PRESEASON
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.
• 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.