This year in Pac-12 volleyball

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SAN FRANCISCO - STANFORD claimed its nation-leading eighth NCAA title and second in three years, giving the Pac-12 its 16th women’s volleyball title all-time, the most for any conference. The Cardinal highlighted eight Pac-12 teams that earned NCAA Tournament bids this season, the most of any league, marking the 19th-consecutive year at least six teams have participated in the “Big Dance” and the fifth time in the last six years at least eight received postseason invitations.

• Six Pac-12 teams ended the season ranked in the final AVCA Coaches Poll with national champion and Pac-12 Champion Stanford claiming the top spot while OREGON is No. 9, the first time the Ducks are in the final top 10 since 2012 and just the fourth time ever. WASHINGTON STATE ends at No. 16, its highest final ranking since 2002 and just the third time it appears in the final ranking since that year. WASHINGTON is No. 18, USC is No. 21 and ARIZONA is tied for 25th.

• Stanford was the No. 1 overall seed, marking the first time since 2009 the top seeded team in the tournament won the national championship. USC was also seeded, earning the No. 11 seed, Oregon was the No. 15 seed and WSU was the No. 16 seed. It was the Cougs’ highest seeding since 2002. Arizona, COLORADO, UTAH and WASHINGTON received NCAA Tournament bids.

• Seven of the eight Pac-12 teams were making a return trip to the tournament after earning bids last season. The Wildcats were back in after snapping a four-year run. Stanford is one of two teams in the nation to have participated in the event all 38 years. Four members of the Cardinal squad were also on the 2016 national championship team.

• In addition to the five-set national-championship thriller between Stanford and Nebraska, Conference teams were involved in some of the 2018 tournament’s  most exciting matches, including the Huskies upsetting Big East Champion and No. 9-seed Creighton on the road to get to the regional semifinal. The Ducks took down second-seeded Minnesota for the second time this season, winning an epic 41-39 second set, which led to a 3-1 victory in Minneapolis to claim a spot in the regional final.

• 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 Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz were repeated as the Pac-12 Setter and Libero of the Year, respectively. 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.

• Plummer was selected AVCA National Player of the Year for the second-straight year, becoming the first player since 2001 and 2002 to win the honor in back-to-back seasons and just the fourth overall. Plummer headlined a list of 13 AVCA All-Americans from the Pac-12, representing seven teams.

PAC-12 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT… The Pac-12 has captured 16 out of 38 NCAA titles, including 14 of the last 28. Winning its second title in three years in 2018, Stanford is the national leader for volleyball national championships with eight. Four different Pac-12 teams have claimed NCAA titles and the Conference has had at least six tournament berths for 19-consecutive years. Pac-12 teams have compiled an impressive 472-251 (.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 266-110 (.708) since 2001 with an overall mark of 402-188 (.681). Over the last 19 years, Pac-12 teams are 117-19 (.860) in the first round, including posting a NCAA-record 10-0 in 2014 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. Eighteen times in the history of the Conference it has had at least three teams advance to the regional final, and every year but four has there been at least one team advance to the national semifinal (exceptions are 1993, 1998, 2009, 2015). Subsequently, a Pac-12 team has made it to the championship game 28 times.

• Every Pac-12 member has earned a NCAA Tournament berth since 2013 and seven different teams have reached the national semifinal all-time.

STANFORD CLAIMS 18TH PAC-12 CROWN … Stanford dominated league play, claiming its second-straight and 18th all-time Pac-12 crown with two weeks left in the regular season. Under the direction of second-year head coach Kevin Hambly, became the first Pac-12/10 team since 2003 to go undefeated in league play and ninth all-time. Stanford has also posted undefeated league seasons in 1991, 1995 and 1997. UCLA (1988, 1989, 1990) and USC (2003) are the only other programs to accomplish the feat. Stanford also became the second team in Conference history to post 20 league victories. USC did it first, going 20-2 in 2011, the year the Pac-12 expanded to include Colorado and Utah.

HIGH HONORS FOR PAC-12 STUDENT-ATHLETES ... 13 Pac-12 student-athletes earned AVCA All-America nods, including Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer, who was tabbed the AVCA National Player of the year for the second-consecutive year, making her the fourth player in the history of the award to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons. She is the seventh Pac-12 player in nine years to win the honor and the 16th all-time. She is a first team All-American for the third-consecutive year.

• Plummer and teammates Morgan Hentz and Jenna Gray were also named to the first team. The trio leads five Cardinal All-Americans. Seven different Pac-12 schools were represented on the AVCA All-American squad, either on the first, second or third teams, including Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State. The Ducks were the only other league team to have multiple honorees with Ronika Stone (second team) and August Raskie (third team) earning spots.

AVCA POLL NOTES ... The final poll has NCAA Champion and Pac-12 Champion Cardinal in the No. 1 spot of the AVCA Coaches Poll with six total teams ranked. It was ranked in the top two every week but one, including spending the first two weeks and final two polls at No. 1. OREGON is in the top 10 for just the fourth time ever, coming in at No. 9, while Washington State receives its highest ranking since 2002, coming in at No. 16. Washington is ranked No. 18, USC is No. 21 and Arizona finishes tied for 25th. Utah received votes.

• At least seven teams were ranked in 13 weeks of the polling this season, including the preseason. Eleven different teams earned a top-25 ranking or received votes with a season-high nine appearing in the ranking on Sept. 24.

IN THE NATIONAL STATS …The Pac-12 killed it this season, literally. The Conference had four teams ranked in the top 35 in kills per set, with Stanford leading the league and ranking fourth in the nation with 14.80 kps. Oregon lands at sixth with 14.69 kills per set, USC is 26th at 13.94 and Arizona is 35th with 13.86. Individually, Arizona’s Kendra Dahlke was one of the league’s best offensive talents, ranking fifth in the country with 4.77 kills per set. Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer also impressed, ranking 11th with 4.70 kps while USC’s Brooke Botkin is 18th at 4.39. Fellow Trojan Khalia Lanier rounds out the top 25 with an average of 4.27 kills per set... So many of those kills were assisted by some of the best setters in the country, as three Pac-12 student-athletes rank in the top 25 in assists per set. Pac-12 Setter of the Year Jenna Gray set the standard in the league and ranks second in the country with 12.27 assists per set. Oregon’s August Raskie is sixth (11.79 aps) and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Raquel Lázaro landed at 21st (11.22) ). Lázaro is one of just two freshmen in the country in the top 20 in the statistical category, boasting the second-best average among the nation’s freshman class... The Conference also boasts some of the best defensive talent in the nation with three teams ranked in the top 30 in blocks per set, including Stanford at the top of the list with 3.40 bps. Washington State ranks 26th (2.63 bps) and Colorado is 30th (2.62). Stanford’s title-winning defense was led by Tami Alade, who ends the season with the best blocks per set average in the nation (1.87). Meanwhile, Colorado’s Naghede Abu ranks 18th with 1.40 block per set, becoming CU’s all-time leader in the category, finishing her career with 582 total blocks.

UPSETS MOUNT… There have been 38 total upsets this season (based on the weekly AVCA poll) by Pac-12 teams this season so far, 26 coming in league matches. The most recent upset came in the regional semifinals when No. 14 Oregon upset No. 2 Minnesota on the Gopher’s home court for the second time this season. The Ducks previously defeated then-No. 1 Minnesota, 3-1, on Sept. 7. Washington leads the league in upsets this season with six, three in non-conference play and three in Conference matchups. Washington State and Utah are tied for second with five each, with all five of the Utes upsets coming in league matches while the Cougs had two upsets against non-conference opponents and three against league teams.

AROUND THE LEAGUE ... 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. Rubio led UA to double the win total from last season (11) and also more than doubled its Pac-12 win total (5). It posted three upset-wins this season, all coming in league play. Arizona is in the final AVCA poll for the first time since 2016 … 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 posted three wins over ranked opponents this season, including ASU’s first over UW since Nov. 21, 2012 and the first sweep of the Huskies since Sept. 22, 2000. The Sun Devils have surpassed their overall win total from all of last season … California defeated four ranked opponents this season marking the first time the Bears have beaten four ranked teams since 2011. The Bears have more Pac-12 wins and total wins from last year (6 Pac-12, 14 overall) … Colorado posted its fourth double-digit Pac-12 win season in five years … Oregon recorded its second 20-win season in three years, surpassing its Pac-12 win total from a season ago. It’s second-place finish in the Pac-12 ties for the program’s best-ever showing, last time coming in 2012 …Oregon State recorded its second-straight 10-win non-conference season going 10-2, including a win over then-No. 23 San Diego … Stanford posted its second-straight 30-win campaign, which would be the program’s first back-to-back since going three years with 30 victories from 2006-2008. The Cardinal have 19 30-win campaigns in program history … All but one of UCLA’s losses this season were to teams who have earned bids to the 2018 NCAA Tournament … Utah posted double-digit league wins the last three seasons and was one shy of the 20-win mark … Washington has reached the 20-win threshold every year since 2002. That streak includes three-straight 30-win campaigns from 2013-15 … Washington State posted its second 20-win season in three years and just its second since 2002. Its 12 Pac-12 wins ties a program record set in 1997.


STANDINGS 

Teams Pac-12 Record Overall Record
Stanford 20-0 34-1
Oregon 13-7 23-11
USC 13-7 22-11
Washington State 12-8 23-10
Arizona 11-9 22-11
Washington 10-10 20-13
Utah 10-10 19-14
Colorado 10-10 18-14
UCLA 8-12 13-14
California 7-13 15-16
Arizona State 5-15 14-18
Oregon State 1-19 11-21

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
Oct. 29 Penny Tusa, WSU Tami Alade, STAN Brooke Nuneviller, ORE
Nov. 5 Claire Hoffman, WASH Tami Alade, STAN Jenna Ewert, COLO
Nov. 12 Samantha Drechsel, WASH Avie Niece, WASH Holly Campbell, STAN
Nov. 19 Alyse Ford, ASU Naghede Abu, COLO Jenna Ewert, COLO 
Nov. 26 Dani Drews, UTAH Alexis Dirige, WSU Brooke Nuneviller, ORE

NATIONAL HONORS

AVCA National Player of the Year: 
Kathryn Plummer, Stanford

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

AVCA All-Americans
First Team
Jenna Gray, STAN
Morgan Hentz, STAN
Kathryrn Plummer, STAN

Second Team
Tami Alade, STAN
Brooke Botkin, USC
Dani Drews, UTAH
Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN
Ronika Stone, ORE

Third Team
Naghede Abu, COLO
Kara Bajema, WASH
Taylor Mims, WSU
August Raskie, ORE
Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE

AVCA Pacific North All-Region Team:
Tami Alade, STAN
Kara Bajema, WASH
Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN
Jenna Gray, STAN
Morgan Hentz, STAN
Meghan McClure, STAN
Taylor Mims, WSU
Kathryrn Plummer, STAN
August Raskie, ORE
Ronika Stone, ORE
Lindsey Vander Weide, ORE

Honorable Mention:
Willow Johnson, ORE
Brooke Nuneviller, ORE
Jocelyn Urias, WSU
McKenna Woodford, WSU

AVCA Pacific North Player of the Year:
Kathryn Plummer, STAN

AVCA Pacific North Freshman of the Year:
Brooke Nuneviller, ORE

AVCA Pacific North Player of the Year:
Kevin Hambly, STAN

AVCA Pacific South All-Region Team:
Naghede Abu, COLO
Brooke Botkin, USC
Kendra Dahlke, ARIZ
Dani Drews, UTAH
Khalia Lanier, USC
Raquel Lázaro, USC
Alexa Smith, COLO

Honorable Mention:
Devyn Cross, ARIZ
Kenzie Koerber, UTAH
Mac May, UCLA
Zana Muno, UCLA

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

ESPNW Player of the Year:
Kathryn Plummer, Stanford

Senior CLASS Award Nominees: 
Alexa Smith, COLO

Tami Alade, STAN

Senior CLASS Award Finalists:
Tami Alade, STAN

Academic All-District 8 (CoSIDA)
First Team
Tami Alade, STAN
Halle Johnson, ASU
Meghan McClure, STAN
Mima Mirkovic, CAL
McKenna Woodford

Second Team
Carmen Annevelink, CAL
Isabel Potter, CAL
Sidney Wilson, STAN

Academic All-America (CoSIDA)
Second Team
Tami Alade, STAN

NCAA All-Tournament Team
Kathryn Plummer, STAN
Morgan Hentz, STAN
Jenna Gray, STAN
Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN

NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Kathryn Plummer, STAN
Morgan Hentz, STAN


IN THE PRESEASON

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


HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

• The Pac-12 has captured eight of the last 17 NCAA crowns (Stanford - 2018, 2014, 2004, 2001; USC - 2002, 2003; UCLA - 2011; Washington - 2005) and 16 NCAA titles overall.
• Since 1990, Pac-12 players have garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 16 times, including seven of the last nine years - CAL’s Carli Lloyd (2010), USC’s Alex Jupiter (2011), ORE’s Alaina Bergsma (2012), WASH’s Krista Vansant (2013), USC’s Samantha Bricio (2015), and the most recent honoree, two-time winner STAN’s Kathryn Plummer (2017, 2018). The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 19 times, including six of the last seven years through 2017 (2018 honoree has not been announced).
• Pac-12 volleyball head coach have been named AVCA National Coach of the Year nine times, while Arizona’s Dave Rubio was tabbed the ASICS Coach of the Year in 2001.
• The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in 12 of the last 17 years, including 13 in 2018 with six schools represented. Eleven former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while 20 players in all have earned All-American honors three times.

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