First Half of Pac-12 Volleyball Action Wraps Up This Week

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SAN FRANCISCO -  No. 2 STANFORD and No. 15 CALIFORNIA survived a pivotal week, coming out on top to remain tied for first place in the Pac-12 standings as the first half of league play wraps up this week. The Bears boast the best current win streak (7) in the Conference, winning their last six. Both teams head to Los Angeles this week where the Cardinal’s Friday match at UCLA will be televised on ESPNU.

With Conference play producing several upsets in the first four weeks of league action, last week was no different as ARIZONA STATE upset No. 24 WASHINGTON STATE to log its first win over a ranked opponent this season. It was ASU’s first win in Pullman since 2014.

Five matches on Friday, Oct. 20 on Pac-12 Networks highlights the week’s schedule, including a top-20 clash between No. 9 WASHINGTON and No. 18 UTAH in Salt Lake City.

NATIONAL RANKINGS
• STANFORD continues to hold the No. 2 spot in the AVCA Coaches poll, leading five Pac-12 teams in the rankings while garnering two first-place votes. WASHINGTON moved up a spot to No. 9 this week, while CALIFORNIA and UTAH remained put at Nos. 15 and 18, respectively. WASHINGTON STATE rounds out the polling at No. 24. USC and UCLA are also 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.
NCAA RPI: The Pac-12 is the only conference in the country with nine teams with a top 50 RPI as all 12 teams have RPI in the top 91. Stanford (#2), Washington (#6), California (#14) and UCLA (#24) are all in the top 25.

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• First-place teams Stanford and Cal head to South to face UCLA and USC. Both teams are coming off five-set wins and look to carry that momentum through the weekend and try to stay on pace.
• Utah had a tough road swing last week as it made its way through the Bay Area. Entering last week’s matches, the Utes were in a three-way tie but dropped a pair of five setters to fall off the pace. This week does not get easier for the Utes when it travels to face top-25 foes No. 9 Washington and No. 24 Washington State.

WHERE THEY RANK
• Boasting an already remarkable turnaround, winning more matches than all of last season (17 vs. 15 in 2018), the Golden Bears lead the Pac-12 in hitting percentage and rank fourth in the nation in the category (.309).
• Led by senior Jenna Gray’s nation-leading 11.71 assists per set average, Stanford ranks third in the country in the category, also ranking sixth in hitting percentage.
• Arizona’s Devon Cross is second in the country in hitting percentage, leading three Pac-12 student-athletes that boast a top-15 hitting efficiency. Four from the Pac-12 also rank in the top 21 in the country in kills per set, with UCLA’s Mac May ranking eighth. It does not include Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer’s average of 5.18 kps, which would rank her fifth in the country. She has not played the minimum number of sets to qualify due to injury.
• As a Conference, the Pac-12 boasts the best hitting percentage of any league at .243.

PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• After leading her team to a pair of 3-2 wins last week to remain in first place, California’s Mima Mirkovic was voted Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.
• Washington’s Shayne McPherson was voted Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, the second time this season a Husky has earned the weekly nod.
• Arizona State’s Iman Isanovic was tabbed the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, the first time since 2012 a Sun Devils has won the honor.

WHAT’S TRENDING
• Stanford has been without two-time National Player of the Year and two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer since the loss to Washington on Sept. 29, 2019. Despite her absence, the Cardinal have gone 6-0 and sit in a tie for first place.
• With five teams ranked in the national AVCA poll this week, and nine teams in all receiving rankings at one point or another during the season, the potential for upsets are great. So far this season, league teams have registered seven upsets (based on national polling at the time of the meeting). The first week of league action was explosive, with five of those upsets coming in the first week. Most recently, Arizona State toppled Washington State for its first victory in Pullman since 2014.
• California has won more matches than all of last season and tied its league win total from a year ago. Another victory would give the Bears the most wins since winning 18 in 2013 and the most league wins since that season, as well.
• Washington State home sweep of the Oregon schools was the first time the Cougars have knocked off both the Ducks and the Beavers inside Bohler Gym since 2002.
• 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 4,782 career assists in her four seasons, leading the NCAA among active leaders and ranking in the top 15 in Pac-12 history.
• The No. 4 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 the 34th player in league history to reach the 1,700 kills threshold (1,705) and is fifth among the NCAA’s active leaders.
• 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 is just two digs from becoming the 14th player in league history with 2,000-career digs. She ranks sixth among active NCAA career leaders.
• 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 (550). She is one of five active in the NCAA have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 570 in her career, over 300 of those coming in her two years at Pepperdine. Utah’s Berkeley Oblad ranks seventh among the NCAA’s active leaders with 453 career blocks.
• 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)

Thursday, Oct. 24 TV/Stream Time
#24 Washington State at Colorado Live Stream 7 p.m. MT
Friday, Oct. 25    
#15 California at USC P12N 8 p.m. PT
Oregon at Arizona State P12N 7 p.m. MT
Oregon State at Arizona P12N 7 p.m. MT
#2 Stanford at UCLA ESPNU 7 p.m. PT
#9 Washington at #18 Utah P12N 7 p.m. MT
Sunday, Oct. 27    
#15 California at UCLA Live Stream 12 p.m. PT
Oregon at Arizona P12N 12 p.m. MT
Oregon State at Arizona State Live Stream 12 p.m. MT
#2 Stanford at USC P12N 1 p.m. PT
#9 Washington at Colorado Live Stream 1 p.m. MT
#24 Washington State at #18 Utah Live Stream 1 p.m. MT

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  7-1 17-1
Stanford 7-1 13-3
Washington 6-2 15-3
Washington State 5-3 16-4
Utah 5-3 13-6
USC 5-3 11-7
UCLA 5-3 10-7
Arizona State 3-5 11-8
Oregon State 2-6 8-11
Oregon 2-6 6-11
Arizona 1-7 11-9
Colorado 0-8 8-10

PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK: 
Offensive: 
Mima Mirkovic, California
Defensive: Shayne McPherson, Washington
Freshman: Iman Isanovic, Arizona State

 ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive: Callie Jones, ASU; Justine Spann, COLO; Amy Underdown, OSU; Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Khalia Lanier, USC; Dani Drews, UTAH; Samantha Drechsel, WASH.
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, ASU; Mima Mirkovic, California; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Grace Massey, OSU; Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Raegan LeGrand, USC; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH.
Freshman: Elissa Alcantara, COLO; Cecilee Max-Brown, OSU; Kendall Kipp, STAN; Lexi Hadrych, UCLA; Emilia Weske, USC; Zoe Weatherington, UTAH; Alexcis Lusby, Washington State.

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
Oct. 21 Mima Mirkovic, California Shayne McPherson, Washington Iman Isanovic, Arizona State

IN THE PRESEASON

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