Stanford leads Pac-12 volleyball as the second half of league play begins
SAN FRANCISCO - The second half of league play begins this week with No. 5 STANFORD sitting alone at the top and the rest of the league not far behind, with a log jam of four teams tied for second. Six Pac-12 teams are ranked this week in the AVCA Coaches poll, including No. 25 UCLA who are ranked for the first time this season after two upsets over the weekend.
Standing in a four-team tie for second in the Conference, UCLA travels to the Pacific Northwest to face No. 22 WASHINGTON STATE on Friday, Nov. 1 and No. 12 WASHINGTON on Sunday, Nov. 3. The Huskies and Cougs are also sitting in that four-way tie. Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
• Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in this week’s AVCA after UCLA enters the polling for the first time since Nov. 12 of last season, earning a No. 25 ranking this week. STANFORD slipped this week but still remains in the top five at No. 5, receiving one first-place vote. WASHINGTON is No. 12, UTAH is No. 17, CALIFORNIA is No. 20 and WASHINGTON STATE is No. 22.
• 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 eight teams with a top 42 RPI as all 12 teams have RPI in the top 95. Stanford (#4), Washington (#6), UCLA (#15), CALIFORNIA (#23) and UTAH (#24) are all in the top 25.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• Big matchups are on the slate in the Pacific Northwest, pitting second-place teams UCLA, Washington and Washington State. The Bruins have won their last three in a row, including upsets over California and Stanford last week. In the second meeting between the teams, the Bruins were swept by the Washington schools earlier this season.
• Unranked USC is also looking at a big week facing the Washington schools. The Trojans are upset minded, as well, after picking up a big win over California last week and nearly defeating Stanford before falling in five sets.
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 (.293).
• Led by senior Jenna Gray’s 11.62 assists per set average, Stanford ranks third in the country in the category, also ranking seventh in kills per set.
• Arizona’s Devon Cross is fourth in the country in hitting percentage, leading three Pac-12 student-athletes that boast a top-17 hitting efficiency. Three from the Pac-12 also rank in the top 20 in the country in kills per set, with UCLA’s Mac May ranking 10th. It does not include Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer’s average of 5.18 kps, which would rank her fourth in the country. She does not qualify for the NCAA minimums due to missing games from injury.
• As a Conference, the Pac-12 boasts the best hitting percentage of any league at .241. Collectively, the 12 teams also lead the nation in kills per set (13.14), assists per set (12.17), blocks per set (2.39), and second in points per set (15.88).
PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• After leading the Bruins to a pair of top-15 wins last week, UCLA’s Mac May and Lexi Hadrych were voted Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, respectively. May averaged 5.1 points per set and 4.71 kills per set, while hitting .338 over the two matches. Hadrych had 10 kills in each of the wins.
• Stanford’s Morgan Hentz became the 14th player in Pac-12 history to reach 2,000 career digs, helping the Cardinal to a 1-1 week.
• 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, that Cardinal have gone 7-1 and currently sit in alone in first place.
• With six teams ranked in the national AVCA poll this week, and 10 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 12 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. Pac-12 teams had another exciting weekend with five more upsets added to the list, including UCLA sweeping the Bay Area schools on Oct. 25-27. UCLA became the first team to sweep Stanford since 2015.
• 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 doubled its league win total from last year after going 1-19 in 2018, and has three wins so far this season.
• 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 4,871 career assists in her four seasons, leading the NCAA among active leaders and ranking in the top 15 in Pac-12 history.
• USC’s Khalia Lanier is the Pac-12’s active leader in kills (1,751), which also ranks in the top 35 in league history. Right behind her, two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer is also in the top 35 all-time with 1,728, ranking fifth among the NCAA’d active leaders.
• Becoming just the 14th player in league history with 2,000-career digs, Stanford’s Morgan Hentz ranks is in the top 10 in Pac-12 history in career digs. She also ranks sixth among the NCAA’s active 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 (55). She is one of five active in the NCAA have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 587 in her career, over 300 of those coming in her two years at Pepperdine. Utah’s Berkeley Oblad ranks eighth among the NCAA’s active leaders with 558 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)
|Friday, Nov. 1||TV/Stream||Time|
|Arizona at Colorado||P12A||7 p.m. MT|
|Arizona State at #17 Utah||P12M||7 p.m. MT|
|Oregon at #20 California||P12O||7 p.m. PT|
|Oregon State at #5 Stanford||P12BA||6 p.m. PT|
|#25 UCLA at #22 Washington State||P12W||7 p.m. PT|
|USC at #12 Washington||P12N||8 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Nov. 2|
|Oregon State at #20 California||Live Stream||7 p.m. PT|
|Sunday, Nov. 3|
|Arizona at #17 Utah||P12M||12 p.m. MT|
|Arizona State at Colorado||Live Stream||1 p.m. MT|
|Oregon at #5 Stanford||P12O||2 p.m. PT|
|#25 UCLA at #12 Washington||P12W||2 p.m. PT|
|USC at #22 Washington State||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: Mac May, UCLA
Defensive: Morgan Hentz, Stanford
Freshman: Lexi Hadrych, UCLA
Offensive: Paige Whipple, ARIZ; Megan Beedie, ASU; Meegan Hart, COLO; Maddie Goings, OSU; Kendall Kipp, STAN; Khalia Lanier, USC; Dani Drews, UTAH; Samantha Drechsel, WASH; Magda Jehlarova, WSU.
Defensive: Kamaile Hiapo, ARIZ; Courtney Leffel, ASU; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Grace Massey, OSU; Emily Ryan, UCLA; Jasmine Gross, USC; Brianna Doehrmann, UTAH; Avie Niece, WASH; Magda Jehlarova, WSU.
Freshman: Kamaile Hiapo, Arizona; Sterling Parker, COLO; Cecilee Max-Brown, OSU; Kalen Owes, USC; Zoe Weatherington, UTAH; Hannah Pukis, WSU.
2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
AVCA NATIONAL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• Oct. 22 - Mima Mirkovic, CAL