Pac-12 volleyball season starts this week

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SAN FRANCISCO - The 2019 campaign gets underway with every Pac-12 team hitting the court on Friday, Aug. 30, and with six teams ranked in the AVCA Preseason Coaches poll. Eight league teams are on the road, including reigning NCAA and Pac-12 Champion STANFORD. No. 13 WASHINGTON travels to Hawai’i for the Rainbow Wahine Classic, while No. 14 USC takes a trip to the state of Texas, making a stop to face No. 4-ranked Texas on Sunday, Sept. 1. UCLA heads to Lincoln, Neb., to face No. 20 Baylor and second-ranked Nebraska this weekend. UTAH is one of four Pac-12 squads opening at home, hosting the Utah Volleyball Classic which features a matchup against seventh-ranked Kentucky.

AVCA POLL RANKINGS 
• STANFORD was the overwhelming No. 1 pick in the AVCA Preseason Coaches poll released on Aug. 13. The defending NCAA Champion garnered 62 of a possible 64 first-place votes. It is the second-straight year the Cardinal are No. 1 in the preseason and the 74th all-time No. 1 ranking for the program.
• Six Pac-12 teams appeared in the preseason national ranking with OREGON, WASHINGTON and USC coming in at Nos. 11, 13 and 14, respectively. WASHINGTON STATE (No. 22) and ARIZONA (No. 24) round out the list of Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25. COLORADO, UCLA and UTAH also received votes.
• Since 2003, the Pac-12 has had at least five teams in the preseason poll with the exception of 2014 and 2007 when four teams were ranked.

WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• Stanford opens a three-match road trip to the East Coast with a pair of matches against host College of Charleston and versus Duke on Friday and Saturday at the CofC Classic, before wrapping up at No. 10 Florida next Wednesday, Sept. 4. 
• Washington heads to one of the toughest volleyball venues in the country for three matches in Honolulu. It opens with St. John’s (N.Y.), then plays No. 21 San Diego, before closing out the tournament with host Hawai’i.
• USC takes a swing through Texas, taking on the fourth-ranked Longhorns on Sunday, Sept. 1, after opening the season at Texas State on Friday.
• UCLA looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 season with a tough road trip in Lincoln, Neb., for a pair of top-20 clashes against No. 20 Baylor on Friday, followed by host-Nebraska on Saturday.
• Four Pac-12 teams open the season at home with ARIZONA hosting the Cactus Classic, Colorado hosting the Buffs Invitational, OREGON hosting the Oregon Classic and Utah hosting the Utah Volleyball Classic.

WHAT'S TRENDING
• Defending Pac-12 and NCAA Champion Stanford earned the maximum number of first-place votes (11) to earn the top spot in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches poll. With 121 points, the league’s coaches picked the Cardinal to win the Conference crown for the sixth time in seven years. USC collected 104 points to place second in the polling while Oregon, which received one first-place vote, was picked third with 99 points, just ahead of Washington (98) points which placed fourth in the polling.

• Stanford senior and two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer enters the season as the Pac-12’s active career kills leader with over 1,500 kills (1,531, 55th all-time in the Pac-12). She also expected to be No. 2-active career leader among Division I volleyball players this season. USC senior Khalia Lanier is just under the 1,500-kills threshold (1,459) and is expected to rank fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders in the category. No other student-athlete in the Pac-12 has logged 1,000-career kills heading into the 2019 campaign.
• On the other hand, four Pac-12 student-athletes enter the season with over 1,000-career digs, all of which are seniors. Two-time Pac-12 Libero of the Year Morgan Hentz of Stanford has collected over 1,700 in her three seasons (1,707) to rank 21st in Pac-12 history. She is expected to rank fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders this season. Washington State’s Alexis Dirige ranks 27th all-time in league history (1,617), Washington’s Shayne McPherson is 91st (1,198) and Utah’s Brianna Doehrmann is 108th (1,153).

• Eight AVCA All-Americans return from last year, including two-time AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer. She is one of just three Cardinal to earn multiple national player of the year nods and the first in the Conference since 2001 and 2002 (Logan Tom). Also back are 2018 first-team All-Americans Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz (STAN). Second-team All-Americans on the court in 2019 are Brooke Botkin (USC), Dani Drews (UTAH), Audrianna Fitzmorris (STAN) and Ronika Stone (ORE), as well as third-team All-American Kara Bajema (WASH).

• 10 of the 14 players named to the 2018 All-Pac-12 team return for 2018, including two-time Pac-12 Setter of the Year Jenna Gray. 2018 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Raquel Lázaro was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 team as voted on by the league’s coaches.

• The Pac-12 welcomes back CALIFORNIA head coach Sam Crosson who comes to Berkeley after turning around a Cal Poly squad that made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018. Twice voted Big West Coach of the Year, he was an assistant coach on the 2010 team that made its only national championship match appearance in 2010.

• The most tenured coach in the Pac-12 is ARIZONA’s David Rubio who enters his 28th season and who’s contract was extended through 2023. He is just the second coach in league history to have recorded 500-career wins. Head coach Beth Lanier enters her 30th season at the Utah helm, recently leading her team to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

• Pac-12 volleyball continues to attract marquee student-athletes. Five Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with Stanford leading the nation with five top-50 recruits. The Ducks landed three, which ties for second-most in the country. Twelve named to the list will be donning a Pac-12 uniform this season.

PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL BROADCAST
• In 2019, 93 Pac-12 regular-season volleyball matches will be televised this season, by far the most of any conference in the nation. Of those, 90 appear on the Pac-12 Networks beginning with a top-five showdown at Stanford with Texas on Sunday, Sept. 8.
• ESPN will also televise three Pac-12 matches, a pair of Cardinal road contests at Oregon (Oct. 4, ESPN2) and at UCLA (Oct. 25, ESPNU). ESPN2 will also televise UCLA at Colorado on Oct. 13.

• For a full television schedule, visit pac-12.com.


UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Specific to Site)

Friday, Aug. 30 TV/Stream Time
Appalachian State at #24 ARIZONA (1) Live Stream 10 a.m. MT
Loyola Marymount at #24 ARIZONA (1) Live Stream 7 p.m. MT
ARIZONA STATE at Houston (2)   12:30 p.m. CT
CALIFORNIA vs. Oklahoma (3)   1 p.m. MT
Wyoming at COLORADO (4) Live Stream 6 p.m. MT
UC Irvine at #11 OREGON (5) Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
OREGON STATE vs. UC Irvine (5)   11 a.m. PT
OREGON STATE vs. Boston College (5)   5 p.m. PT
#1 STANFORD at College of Charleston (6)   7 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. #2 Baylor (7)   4:30 p.m. CT
#14 USC at Texas State   7 p.m. CT
Saint Mary's (Calif.) at UTAH (8) Live Stream 12 p.m. MT
#7 Kentucky at UTAH (8) Live Stream 7:30 p.m. MT
#13 WASHINGTON vs. St. Johns (N.Y.) (9)   4:45 p.m. HT
#22 WASHINGTON STATE at James Madison (10)   10 a.m. ET
Saturday, Aug. 31    
Samford at #24 ARIZONA (1) Live Stream 12 p.m. MT
ARIZONA STATE vs. LSU (2)   10 a.m. CT
ARIZONA STATE vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2)   4:30 p.m. CT
CALIFORNIA at Colorado State (3) MW Net 1 p.m. MT
CALIFORNIA vs. Chicago State (3)   5 p.m. MT
LIU Brooklyn at COLORADO (4) Live Stream 10 a.m. MT
UC Santa Barbra at COLORADO (4) Live Stream 7 p.m. MT
Boston College at #11 OREGON (5) Live Stream 6 p.m. PT
#1 STANFORD vs. Duke (6)   4:30 p.m. ET
UCLA at #2 Nebraska (7) NET/BTN+ 7 p.m. CT
#23 Cal Poly at UTAH (8) Live Stream 5 p.m. MT
#13 WASHINGTON vs. #21 San Diego (9)   4:45 p.m. HT
#22 WASHINGTON STATE vs. Iowa (10)   10 a.m. ET
#22 WASHINGTON STATE vs. Stony Brook (10)   5 p.m. ET
Sunday, Sept. 1    
#14 USC at #4 Texas LHN 1 p.m. CT
WASHINGTON at Hawai'i (9)   5 p.m. HT

  1 - Cactus Classic, Tucson, Ariz.; 2 - Houston Tournament, Houston, Texas; 3 - Colorado State Tournament, Fort Collins, Colo.; 4 - Buffs Invitational, Boulder, Colo., 5 - Oregon Classic, Eugene, Ore.; 6 - CofC Classic, Charleston, S.C. ; 7 - Husker Invitational, Lincoln, Neb.; 8 - Utah Volleyball Classic, Salt Lake City, Utah, 9 - Rainbow Wahine Classic, Honolulu, Hawai'i; 10 - James Madison Invitational, Harrisburg, Va.


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 18 NCAA crowns (2018, 2016 - Stanford; 2011 - UCLA; 2005 - Washington; 2004 - Stanford; 2003, 2002 - USC; 2001 - Stanford) and a record 16 NCAA titles overall.

• The Pac-12 has had 10 or more All-Americans selections in 10 of the last 13 years. Eleven former Pac-12 players have earned All-America honors four times, while 22 players in all have earned All-American honors three times.

• Since 1990, Pac-12 players garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 16 times, including the seven of the last nine - 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 latest honoree in STAN’s Kathryn Plummer who claimed the honor the last two seasons (2017 and 2018). The NCAA Honda Sports Award honor has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 volleyball player 20 times, including Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer in 2018.

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