First-Place volleyball teams face off this week in Pac-12 play

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SAN FRANCISCO - No. 2 STANFORD, No. 15 CALIFORNIA and No. 18 UTAH each sit atop the Pac-12 standings in a tie for first with a 5-1 record. A shake up could happen this week as the Utes travel to the Bay Area for a pair of matches on Pac-12 Networks. The three teams are the hottest in the Conference, the Bears riding a five-match winning streak to match their win total from a season ago. The Cardinal and Utes have won their last four.

All 12 Pac-12 teams have RPI in the top 71 in the country, five of them ranking in the top 25, which speaks to the strength and depth of the Conference. Five teams also remain ranked in the top 25 in AVCA National Coaches poll this week.

NATIONAL RANKINGS
• Five Pac-12 teams are ranked this week with STANFORD earning the No. 2 ranking overall, garnering two first-place votes. WASHINGTON reenters the top 10, coming n at No. 10, followed by No. 15 CALIFORNIA, No. 18 UTAH and No. 21 WASHINGTON STATE.
• 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.
NCAA RPI: All 12 Pac-12 teams have RPI in the top 71, five of which have ratings in the top 25. Stanford is No. 2 in the RPI with Washington at No. 6. California has a RPI of No. 16, UCLA is No. 22 and Utah is No. 25.

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• California is riding a five-match win streak, tying its overall win total from a season ago. The Bears have won their last four matches in straight sets and welcomes Utah on Friday, Oct. 18. Cal is enjoying its highest ranking since the final regular-season poll of the 2011 campaign.
• Utah faces Stanford on Sunday, Oct. 20. Both teams enter the week with a four-match winning streak. The Utes look to ride a thrilling, five-set win over USC last week where Utah came back from an 0-2 deficit to win.
• The Cardinal have been without two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer the last four matches, but have still managed to dominate, winning three of those by a 3-0 sweep.

WHERE THEY RANK
• Under first-year head coach Sam Crosson, California appears to be having a turnaround season. Sitting in a three-way tie for first, the Bears boast the league’s best hitting percentage (.308) and opponent hitting percentage (.142), both of which rank in the top seven in the nation.
• Stanford (assists per set and kills per set) also ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in two categories while Utah ranks fourth in blocks per set (2.95), a big turnaround after ending last season ranked 93rd in the nation in the category (2.26 bps).
• Individually, Stanford’s Jenna Gray (3rd, assists per set), Washington State’s Magda Jehlarova (4th, blocks per set), Arizona’s Devon Cross (2nd, hitting percentage) and Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer (5th, kills per set) all rank in the top five in the nation in their respective statistical categories.

PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• Utah’s Kenzie Koerber led her team to a pair of wins last week over the LA schools, including a five-set, comeback victory over the Trojans, en route to earning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. The junior outside hitter hit .467 for the week.
• Washington State’s Magda Jehlárová was tabbed the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Cougs to the program’s first sweep of the Oregon schools since 2002.
• Stanford’s Kendall Kipp earned her third Pac-12 Freshman of the Week nod and second-straight after averaging 3.17 kills per set in wins over the Arizona schools.

WHAT’S TRENDING
• ARIZONA senior setter Julia Patterson passed the 3,000-assists threshold last week, moving into seventh place all-time in UA history.
• California got off to a 10-0 start to the season and was the second-to-last undefeated team left in the nation. The Bears have matched its win total from a season ago and sit in a three-way tie for first heading into the weekend. They have won two thirds of their matches in 3-0 sweeps (10 matches).
• After starting league play at 2-0 for the first time since 2004, Oregon State already doubled its league win total from last year after going 1-19 in 2018.
• 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.
• 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’s Jenna Gray has accumulated 4,685 career assists in her four seasons, leading the NCAA among active leaders and ranking in the top 15 in Pac-12 history.
• 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 1,700 kills (1,728), entering the top 35 in league history. USC senior Khalia Lanier is over the 1,600-kills threshold (1,669) and is fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders. She looks to become just the fifth active student-athlete in the NCAA with over 1,700-career kills.
• 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 (1,969) to rank in the top 15 Pac-12 history and ranks sixth among the NCAA’s active leaders this season. She is looking to become just the 14th player in league history with 2,000-career digs.
• 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 (538). She is one of three active in the NCAA have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 563 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. 18 TV/Stream Time
Arizona at #21 Washington State P12N 7 p.m. PT
Arizona State at #10 Washington Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
Colorado at #2 Stanford P12N 8 p.m. PT
UCLA at Oregon P12N 6 p.m. PT
USC at Oregon State P12N 7 p.m. PT
#18 Utah at #15 California P12N 7 p.m. PT
Sunday, Oct. 20    
Arizona at #10 Washington P12N 12 p.m. PT
Arizona State at #21 Washington State P12N 12 p.m. PT
Colorado at #15 California P12BA, P12M 12 p.m. PT
UCLA at Oregon State P12LA, P12O 2 p.m. PT
USC at Oregon P12LA, P12O 12 p.m. PT
#18 Utah at #2 Stanford P12N 2 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
California  5-1 15-1
Stanford 5-1 11-3
Utah 5-1 13-4
Washington State 4-2 15-3
Washington 4-2 13-3
UCLA 4-2 9-6
USC 3-3 9-7
Arizona State 2-4 10-7
Oregon State 2-4 8-9
Arizona 1-5 11-7
Oregon 1-5 5-10
Colorado 0-6 8-8

PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK: 
Offensive: Kenzie Koerber, Utah
Defensive: Magda Jehlárová, Washington State
Freshman: Kendall Kipp, Stanford

 ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive:Offensive: Andrea Mitrovic, ASU; Lauren Forte, CAL; Justine Spann, COLO; Haylie Bennett, OSU; Jenna Gray, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Samantha Drechsel, WASH; Jocelyn Urias, WSU.
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, ASU; Mima Mirkovic, CAL; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Grace Massey, OSU; Morgan Hentz, STAN; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH; Lauren Sanders, WASH.
Freshman: Iman Isanovic, ASU; Elissa Alcantara, COLO; Tristin Savage, UCLA; Zoe Weatherington, UTAH; Pia Timmer, WSU.

2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Sept. 2 Savannah Rennie, CAL Courtney Leffel, ASU Kylie Robinson, ORE
Sept. 9 Kathryn Plummer, STAN Meegan Hart, COLO Jill Schneggenburger, COLO
Sept. 16 Kara Bajema, WASH Jasmine Gross, USC Kalen Owes, USC
Sept. 23 Kara Bajema, WASH Avie Niece, WASH Kendall Kipp, STAN
Sept. 30 Kara Bajema, WASH Grace Massey, OSU Kylie Robinson, ORE
Oct. 7 Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN Madeleine Gates, STAN Kendall Kipp, STAN
Oct. 15  Kenzie Koerber, UTAH Magda Jehlárová, WSU Kendall Kipp, STAN

IN THE PRESEASON
Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll & All-Pac-12 Team | AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll


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