Pac-12 Volleyball Faces Tough Road Challenges This Week
SAN FRANCISCO - After a season-opened weekend that saw Pac-12 teams go 25-6 (.806), the Conference is at it again facing more big tests. No. 1 STANFORD puts its 34-match winning streak on the line when it faces back-to-back top-10 opponents, including a road match at No. 7 Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 4 (SEC Network) before coming home to kick off the Pac-12 Networks volleyball slate on Sunday, Sept. 8 against No. 3 Texas. COLORADO and No. 16 WASHINGTON head to Iowa City to play in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. Five teams are ranked in the AVCA Coaches poll, including UTAH making its first appearance after a pair of top-25 upsets last week.
• STANFORD is the No. 1 team in the country after the first regular-season weekend, picking up 63 of a possible 64 possible first-place votes, one more than in the preseason poll. The Cardinal headline five Pac-12 teams ranked this week.
• UTAH makes its first appearance of the season, going from unranked to No. 19 after taking down then-No. 7 Kentucky and then-No. 23 Cal Poly in the opening weekend. OREGON enters the top 10, moving up two spots to No. 9. It is the team’s highest ranking since early in the 2017 campaign. USC is No. 14 this week and WASHINGTON comes in at No. 16. ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO and WASHINGTON STATE are receiving votes.
• 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 was the second-straight year the Cardinal were No. 1 in the preseason and the 74th all-time No. 1 ranking for the program.
• 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 remains on the East Coast to take on No. 7 Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 4 on the SEC Network. It marks the first of six-consecutive matches versus top-15 ranked teams, closing out this week with No. 3 Texas at home on Sunday, Sept. 8 on Pac-12 Network, before heading back east to State College for the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge next week.
• Colorado and No. 16 Washington participate in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Iowa City this weekend, taking on No. 5 Illinois and Iowa, who is receiving votes.
• USC is at the UNI Tournament this weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take on a pair of top-25 foes in No. 12 Kentucky and No. 23 Creighton. Host-Northern Iowa is receiving votes.
• Utah takes its freshly-minted ranking to intra-state rival Utah State on Tuesday, Sept. 3, before closing out the week with a trio of matches at the Wolverine Classic at Utah Valley.
• Arizona has a tough matchup to bounce back from a five-set setback to close out the opening weekend. The Wildcats travel to the San Diego State/San Diego Invitational and open against No. 2-ranked Nebraska on Friday, Sept. 6.
• California’s Savannah Rennie was tabbed the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career, leading the Bears to a 3-0 week. Healthy for the first time in her career as a Bear and returning after overcoming a liver transplant, followed by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she was named MVP of the Rams Volleyball Classic.
• Arizona State’s Courtney Leffel was voted the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after three 20+ digs outings, including a 39-dig performance to get over the 1,000-career digs threshold.
• Oregon’s Kylie Robinson had 69 assists and averaged 11.5 digs per set to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Week nods.
• California’s Savannah Rennie’s return to the court after overcoming a liver transplant, followed by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, to help the Bears the season 3-0, with one of its wins coming against a Colorado State team that has made 24-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
• Utah’s pair of top-25 wins to open the season is the first time it had beaten two AVCA ranked teams in the opening weekend in program history, with wins over then-No. 7 Kentucky (3-0) and then-No. 23 Cal Poly (3-2). It also beat Saint Mary’s (3-0)in the true season opener for the season’s first match.
• Stanford senior and two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer is the Pac-12’s active career kills leader with over 1,500 kills (1,559, nearing the top 50 all-time in the Pac-12). She is 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 (1,492) 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.
• Arizona State’s Courtney Leffel is the latest in the Pac-12 to top the 1,000 digs threshold, hitting the mark on Aug. 31. She joins four others in the Conference 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 (1,737) to rank 21st in Pac-12 history, two away from the top 20. She is expected to rank fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders this season. Washington State’s Alexis Dirige entered the top 25 all-time in league history (1,669), Washington’s Shayne McPherson is in the top 70 (1,242) and Utah’s Brianna Doehrmann is 108th (1,153).
• Stanford’s Audriana Fitzmorris recorded her 500th block against Duke on Aug. 31 becoming just the 28th all-time in league history to hit the mark.
• 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 BROADCASTS
• 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)
|Tuesday, Sept. 3||TV||Time|
|#19 UTAH at Utah State||6 p.m. MT|
|Wednesday, Sept. 4|
|#1 Stanford at #7 Florida||SEC Network||8 p.m. ET|
|Thursday Sept. 5|
|OREGON STATE vs. Oklahoma (1)||5 p.m. ET|
|UCLA vs. Georgia (2)||6 p.m. PT|
|Friday, Sept. 6|
|ARIZONA vs. #2 Nebraska (3)||4 p.m. PT|
|ARIZONA STATE vs. Western Kentucky (4)||10:30 a.m. ET|
|ARIZONA STATE vs. Tennessee Tech (4)|
|CALIFORNIA vs. North Carolina (5)||3 p.m. PT|
|COLORADO at Iowa (6)||7 p.m. CT|
|OREGON STATE at Indiana (1)||10 a.m. ET|
|OREGON STATE vs. Yale (1)|
|UCLA vs. Texas State (2)||5 p.m. PT|
|#15 USC vs. #12 Kentucky (7)||ESPN+||5 p.m. CT|
|#19 UTAH vs. UC Davis (8)||10 a.m. MT|
|#19 UTAH vs. Portland State (8)||5 p.m. MT|
|#16 WASHINGTON vs. creightonIllinois (6)||4 p.m. CT|
|WASHINGTON STATE vs Utah State (9)||9:30 a.m. PT|
|WASHINGTON STATE at Portland (9)||7 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Sept. 7|
|ARIZONA vs. West Virginia (3)||11 a.m. PT|
|ARIZONA at San Diego State||7 p.m. PT|
|ARIZONA STATE at Louisville (4)||3:30 p.m. ET|
|CALIFORNIA vs.UNLV (5)||10 a.m. PT|
|CALIFORNIA at UC Irvine (5)||7 p.m. PT|
|COLORADO vs. #5 Illinois (6)||4 p.m. CT|
|UCLA at Long Beach State (2)||7 p.m. PT|
|#15 USC at Northern Iowa (7)||ESPN+||10:30 a.m. CT|
|#15 USC vs. Creighton (7)||5 p.m. CT|
|#19 UTAH at Utah Valley (8)||5 p.m. MT|
|#16 WASHINGTON at Iowa (6)||7 p.m. CT|
|WASHINGTON STATE vs. Idaho (9)||10:30 a.m. PT|
|Sunday, Sept. 8|
|#3 Texas at #1 STANFORD||P12N||12 p.m. PT|
1- Hoosier Invite, Bloomington, Ind.; 2- Long Beach State Tournament, Long Beach, Calif. 3 - SDSU/USD Invitational, San Diego, Calif.; 4 - Fleur De Lis Tournament, Louisville, Ky.; 5 - UC Irvine Tournament; Irvine, Calif. 6 - Pac-12/BIG TEN Challenge, Iowa City, Iowa; 7 - UNI Tournament, Cedar Falls, Iowa; 8 - La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational, Orem, Utah; 9 - Portland Tournament, Portland, Ore.
PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive: Savannah Rennie, California
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, Arizona State
Freshman: Kylie Robinson, Oregon
Offensive: Jenna Ewert, COLO; Willow Johnson, ORE; Kenzie Koerber, UTAH; Chloe Brown, OSU; Mac May, UCLA; Andrea Mitrovic, ASU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Kara Bajema, WASH.
Defensive: Berkeley Oblad, UTAH; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Grace Massey, OSU; Danielle Price, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Shayne McPherson, WASH.
Freshman: Lexi Hadrych, UCLA; Jill Schneggenburger, COLO; Annika Larson, ASU; Cecilee Max-Brown, OSU; Kalen Owes, USC.
2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|Sept. 2||Savannah Rennie, California||Courtney Leffel, Arizona State||Kylie Robinson, Oregon|
IN THE PRESEASON
• 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.