OSU, UCLA are perfect after a week of Pac-12 volleyball action
SAN FRANCISCO - After a stunning week of action, only OREGON STATE and UCLA came out unscathed, sitting atop the standings at 2-0. The first week of Pac-12 play featured five upsets, three five-set matches and another six that went four. A new Pac-12 team enters the rankings this week, as WASHINGTON STATE makes its debut in the polls, marking the fourth week in a row at least six league teams are ranked. WSU is the ninth different league team to be ranked at least once this season.
Six matches appear on Pac-12 Networks this week. No. 3 STANFORD looks to bounce back after being knocked off by No. 8 WASHINGTON, traveling to No. 25 OREGON for a top-25 clash on ESPN2 on Friday, Oct. 4.
• Six Pac-12 teams are ranked for the fourth in a row, and fifth time overall, with WASHINGTON STATE making its first appearance in the polling this season, coming in at No. 24 this week after an upset of No. 8 WASHINGTON, the highest-ranked opponent the Cougs had defeated since 2013.
• The Huskies bounced back for a big win over STANFORD to maintain its top-10 ranking, while the Cardinal slipped to No. 3, the Conference’s highest-ranked team. CALIFORNIA continues to climb, moving up to No. 19, followed by No. 18 UTAH and No. 25 OREGON. Colorado and USC 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 looks to rebound from being upset that snapped a 26-match Pac-12 win streak. The Cardinal has a road trip to face Oregon, who upset then-No. 18 UTAH, then takes on Oregon State, who upset the Ducks last week.
• The Beavers are 2-0 for the first time in Pac-12 play since 2004 and have already doubled its wins in league play from last year. In the midst of a four-match home stretch, OSU has a pair of top-25 opponents visiting this week in Cal and Stanford. The Bears won both meetings last season but Oregon State won seven-straight prior to that. The Beavs have never beaten the Cardinal.
• UCLA is also in the middle of a four-match homestand, starting league play at 2-0 for the first time since 2011. The Bruins host Washington and Washington State this week, two teams that are coming off a big week, as well.
PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• Washington’s Kara Bajema was voted the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the third-straight week after leading the Huskies to the programs first win at Stanford since 2007. It is the first time since 2015 a student-athlete has won the award three-consecutive weeks.
• Oregon State’s Grace Massey anchored a back-row defense that helped the Bears to a 2-0 week, upsetting rival-Oregon to open Pac-12 play. It is the first time since 2004 the Beavs are 2-0 in league play.
• Oregon’s Kylie Robinson was voted the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after averaging 10.80 assists per set in two conference games last week.
• Oregon State has already doubled its league wins from last year after going 1-19 in 2018. The Beavers are 2-0 for the first time since 2004.
• California’s Savannah Rennie returned to the court after overcoming a liver transplant, followed by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and helped the Golden Bears to a 10-0 start to the season and was the second-to-last undefeated team left in the nation. Rennie has started every match and is second on the team in blocks per set (0.97). Cal has won half its matches in a sweep. The Bears also lead the country in hitting percentage.
• Stanford’s first loss of the season came after the Cardinal put together a school-record 37-match win streak, which dated back to Sept. 1, 2018 and included a 6-0 run in last season’s NCAA Tournament to claim the national championship. Its second loss of the season to Washington on Sept. 29 snapped a 26-match winning streak against Pac-12 teams.
• With the return of senior middle blocker Berkeley Oblad who missed last season because of injury, Utah is among the top blocking teams in the country, ranking No. 3, averaging 3.09 stuffs per set, A big improvement over last season when the Utes averaged 2.26 bps.
• 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.
• The No. 3 active career leader in the NCAA, 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 (1,728), entering the top 35 in league history. USC senior Khalia Lanier is just over the 1,500-kills threshold (1,584) and is fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders in the category. They are two of just six active NCAA players with 1,500-career kills. Stanford’s Audriana Fitzmorris and Oregon’s Ronika Stone are the latest in the Pac-12 to hit the 1,000-career mark.
• Six from the Conference have 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 1,900 in her three seasons (1,903) to rank in the top 20 Pac-12 history and ranks sixth among the NCAA’s active leaders this season. She is looking to become just the 13th player in league history with 2,000-career digs. Washington State’s Alexis Dirige, Washington’s Shayne McPherson, Utah’s Brianna Doehrmann, Oregon State’s Grace Massey and Arizona State’s Courtney Leffel have reached the threshold.
• 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, breaking into the all-time top 20 (534). She is one of three active in the NCAA have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 541 in her career, over 300 of those coming in her two years at Pepperdine.
• Pac-12 teams compiled a 89-32 non-conference record and a 73.6 winning percentage. Thirteen of those wins came against top-25 foes including Utah posting a pair of upsets in the opening weekend when it was unranked; Colorado’s top-five win against Illinois on Sept. 6 when it was unranked; Washington sweeping Wisconsin who was ranked in the top 10 and going 5-0 against top 25 teams; and Stanford winning four matches against top-seven teams.
• 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 welcomed back California head coach Sam Crosson who came 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. He has led the Golden Bears to their best start since 2011.
• The most tenured coach in the Pac-12 is Arizona’s David Rubio who is in 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 Launiere is in 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)
|Friday, Oct. 4||TV/Stream||Time|
|#19 California at Oregon State||Live Stream||6 p.m. PT|
|Colorado at Arizona State||P12A, P12M||8 p.m. MT|
|#3 Stanford at #25 Oregon||ESPN2||6 p.m. PT|
|#20 Utah at Arizona||P12A, P12M||6 p.m. MT|
|#8 Washington at USC||P12LA, P12W||8 p.m. PT|
|#24 Washington State at UCLA||P12LA, P12W||6 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Oct. 5|
|#3 Stanford at Oregon State||Live Stream||6 p.m. PT|
|Sunday, Oct. 6|
|#19 California at #25 Oregon||Live Stream||1 p.m. PT|
|Colorado at Arizona||Live Stream||12 p.m MT|
|#20 Utah at Arizona State||Live Stream||12 p.m. MT|
|#8 Washington at UCLA||P12LA, P12W||2 p.m. PT|
|#24 Washington State at USC||P12LA, P12W||12 p.m. PT|
P12N/P12A/P12BA/P12LA/P12M/P12O/P12W - Indicates live broadcast on Pac-12 Network.
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive: Kara Bajema, Washington
Defensive: Grace Massey, Oregon State
Freshman: Kylie Robinson, Oregon
Offensive: Ivana Jeremic, ASU; Preslie Anderson, CAL; Justine Spann, COLO; Willow Johnson, ORE; Haylie Bennett, OSU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Dani Drews, UTAH.
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, ASU; Emma Smith, CAL; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Georgia Murphy, ORE; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Shayne McPherson, WASH; Alexis Dirige, WSU.
Freshman: Sterling Parker, COLO.
2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
IN THE PRESEASON
- Arizona Women's Volleyball
- Arizona State Women's Volleyball
- California Women's Volleyball
- Colorado Women's Volleyball
- Oregon Women's Volleyball
- Oregon State Women's Volleyball
- Stanford Women's Volleyball
- UCLA Women's Volleyball
- USC Women's Volleyball
- Utah Women's Volleyball
- Washington Women's Volleyball
- Washington State Women's Volleyball
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Women's Volleyball
- Pac-12 Conference