Stanford on verge of clinching 2019 Pac-12 crown

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SAN FRANCISCO - Two more weeks of Conference play remain as each team is looking to solidify its spot in NCAA Tournament. No. 4 STANFORD continues to lead the Pac-12 standings and can clinch a third-consecutive league title this week. No. 10 WASHINGTON is among four other teams in the title hunt as the Huskies are two games back and alone in second place, while No. 16 UTAH and No. 22 WASHINGTON STATE are three games back in third and No. 24 CALIFORNIA trails by four games in fifth.

This week will feature two top-25 clashes as the 15th-ranked Utes host the fourth-ranked Cardinal (Friday,  Nov. 22, P12N, 6 p.m. PT) and the 24th-ranked Golden Bears. No. 10 Washington and No. 22 Washington State travel to the Arizona schools, and OREGON and OREGON STATE will travel south to face UCLA and USC.

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• Stanford is looking for its 19th league-leading Conference title this week after solidifying its spot atop the Conference standings with a two-match lead. The Cardinal can clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 title Friday with a win at Utah and a Washington loss at ARIZONA.
• Stanford can also claim a share with victories at both Utah and Colorado this weekend, or grab the outright league title with the same results coupled with a loss by Washington.
• Washington broke last week’s four-way tie to stand alone in second place. The Huskies are looking to extend their five-game win streak on the road this week at Arizona and ARIZONA STATE.

NATIONAL RANKINGS
• There are five teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches poll this week, led by Cardinal (No. 4, one first-place vote), WASHINGTON (No. 10) and UTAH (No. 16). Washington State remains at No. 22 and CALIFORNIA is in the rankings for the fourth-straight week at No. 24. UCLA and USC are receiving votes.
• At least five teams have been ranked in the AVCA poll every week this season with 10 different schools earning at top-25 ranking at some point during the season.
• 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 has seven teams in the RPI top 50. Eleven teams also have an RPI in the top 100. The Cardinal (#4), Washington (#10), Utah (#16), USC (#19) and UCLA (#23) all boast RPI in the top 25 (as of Nov. 17).

NCAA’S TOP 10 REVEAL
• The NCAA DI college volleyball committee revealed its top 10 on Sunday, Nov. 3. The reveal gives a first glance at potential teams competing for top seed positions in the upcoming 2019 Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship tournament. Despite playing without two-time national player of the year Kathryn Plummer, Stanford was tabbed No. 4 and Washington appeared at No. 7 with big wins over that Cardinal and twice versus Wisconsin.
• With still four weeks remaining in the regular season, the committee will continue deliberations until the NCAA Tournament selection show which is scheduled for Sunday, December 1 at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

WHERE THEY RANK
• Stanford and California rank in the top five in the country in two statistical categories. The Cardinal are the third-ranked team in the country in assists per set (13.80), led by senior setter Jenna Gray’s 11.47 assists per set which ranks ninth in the NCAA. The Cardinal also boast the sixth-best kills per set in the country at 14.63. Winning more overall and league matches than all of last season, California has the sixth-best hitting percentage in the nation at .291.
• The Pac-12 has four of the top-30 blocking teams in the country. The Cardinal (7th, 2.90), Washington (13th, 2.81) and Washington State (18th, 2.81) rank in the top 20, leading the way for the Conference, and Utah (29th, 2.56) appears in the top 30.
• USC’s Khalia Lanier is the only student-athlete in the Conference to rank among the top 10 in two statistical categories in the NCAA. She is sixth and ninth in kills per set (5.01) and points per set (5.46), respectively, also leading the Pac-12 in both those categories. Gray (11.47 aps), Washington State’s Magda Jehlarova (5th, 1.53 bps) and Arizona’s Devyn Cross (8th, .418 hitting percentage) also appear in the top 10 in there respective categories.
• The Conference also boasts four of the nation’s top point producers with Lanier (3.46 pts) leading the way. UCLA’s Mac May is 12th in the country with a 5.26 points average, followed by Utah’s Dani Drews (15th, 5.16 pps), and Washington’s Kara Bajema (23rd, 4.99 pps).
• 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 (13.22), assists per set (12.22), and points per set (16.10).

PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• Washington’s Kara Bajema earned her fourth Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season after leading Washington to a 2-0 weekend topping Colorado (3-0) and then-No. 15 Utah. The outside hitter recorded a career-high 33 points against the Utes, the most points in a single match by a Husky since 2013.
• Senior Courtney Leffell was tabbed Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Sun Devils defeat Oregon State (3-2) and Oregon (3-2), sweeping the season series against both Oregon schools for the first time since 2002. She had over 20 digs in each match, extending a three-match streak of recording 20 or more digs in a match.
• Arizona’s Kamaile Hiapo was named Freshman of the Week after recording a career-high 29 digs in the Wildcats’ victory over the Beavers, tied for the 11th most digs in a match in school history, and marking her 14th and 15th matches this season with at least 10 digs.

WHAT’S TRENDING
• After missing all of October and five weeks in total due to injury, Stanford’s two-time National and Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer continues to impress. The senior recorded 33 kills hitting .338 , 4.71 kills per set, and posting 5.2 points per set to help Stanford top USC and UCLA. Plummer missed matches from Oct. 4-Nov. 3 before returning. During her absence, the Cardinal still went 9-1 and took control of first place in the Pac-12. Fellow Cardinal Morgan Hentz is 13 digs away from breaking the schools record for career digs after totaling 31 last week.
• USC’s Khalia Lanier added 35 kills to her career stats while on the road moving her into a tie for 13th all-time in Pac-12 history for career kills (1,915). The outside hitter has registered 456 kills this season, the second most in the Conference, and her career total is four kills shy of second all-time in school history and 12th all-time in league history.
• Washington State’s Alexis Dirige totaled 35 digs in this week’s contests, increasing her career total to 2,082 overall, eighth all-time in the Pac-12.
•  Arizona's Julia Patterson became the first Power 5 Conference player to record a triple-double this season in a hard-fought five-set loss at No. 17 Utah. The senior setter had 46 assists, 13 digs and a career-most 10 kills in the match. The triple-double was the first in her career and the first by a Wildcat in at least 10 years.
• With five teams in the 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 18 upsets (based on national polling at the time of the meeting). The first week of league action was explosive, with five of those upsets. Nov. 1 was a thrilling evening with unranked Oregon upending No. 20 California; then-No. 25 UCLA taking down then-No. 22 Washington State; and unranked USC defeating then-No. 12 Washington.
• California has eclipsed its overall wins and league wins from a year ago when it went 15-16 and 7-13 in the Pac-12, posting its first 20-win campaign since 2011.
• Washington State continues to produce significant milestone, its most recent is recording its first sweep of USC since 1986. Earlier this season, WSU’s home sweep of the Oregon schools was the first time it had knocked off both teams since 2002 at Bohler Gym. It completed the regular-season sweep of both the Oregon teams, marking the first time WSU has accomplished that since 2002. WSU has posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since 1996 and 1997.
• 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 hit the 5,000-career assists milestone, the only active player in the NCAA to hit the milestone. She also became just the 15th player in Pac-12 history and the fourth Cardinal to record 5,000 career assists.
• USC’s Khalia Lanier became the 26th player in Pac-12 history, and just the third at USC, to record 1,800 career kills. She is third among active NCAA leaders this season with 1,880 kills and is on the verge of becoming just the 15th player in league history with 1,900 kills. Two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer was back on the court after missing action for five weeks. She is in the top 35 in Pac-12 history in career kills with 1,743.
• Two-time Pac-12 Libero of the Year, Stanford’s Morgan Hentz ranks currently sits seventh in Pac-12 history in career digs with 2,104. She also ranks seventh among the NCAA’s active leaders and needs just 43 digs to break the Stanford record. Washington State’s Alexis Dirige cracked the top 10 in the Pac-12 record books, ranking 10th all-time with 2,047. She became just the 14th player in league history to reach over 2,000 digs and ranks ninth among the NCAA’s active 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 (566) and currently tying for 16th. She is one of five active in the NCAA have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 607 in her career, over 300 of those coming in her two years at Pepperdine. She is one of just two in the NCAA actively on the court with 600 career blocks. Utah’s Berkeley Oblad ranks eighth among the NCAA’s active leaders with 474 career blocks, ranking in the top 40 in the Pac-12 record book.
• 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.
• ESPN also televised 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.


UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Specific to Site)

Thursday, Nov. 21 TV/Stream Time
Oregon State at USC Live Stream 7 p.m. PT
#22 Washington State at Arizona State Live Stream 7 p.m. MT
Friday, Nov. 22    
#24 California at Colorado Live Stream 7 p.m. MT
Oregon at UCLA P12LA 6 p.m. PT
#4 Stanford at #16 Utah P12BA, P12M 6 p.m. PT
#10 Washington at Arizona P12W 7 p.m. MT
Sunday, Nov. 24    
#24 California at #16 Utah P12M 12 p.m. MT
Oregon at USC P12O 1 p.m. PT
Oregon State at UCLA P12LA 1 p.m. PT
#4 Stanford at Colorado P12BA 12 p.m. MT
#10 Washington at Arizona State Live Stream 12 p.m. MT
#22 Washington State at Arizona Live Stream 12 p.m. MT

P12N/P12A/P12BA/P12LA/P12M/P12O/P12W - Indicates live broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK: 
Offensive: Kara Bajema, Washington
Defensive: Courtney Leffel, Arizona State
Freshman: Kamaile Hiapo, Arizona

ALSO NOMINATED:
Offensive:
 Paige Whipple, ARIZ; Ivana Jeremic, ASU; Maddie Haynes, CAL; Justine Spann, COLO; Ronika Stone, ORE; Haylie Bennett, OSU; Kathryn Plummer, STAN; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Dani Drews, UTAH; Magda Jehlarova, WSU.
Defensive: Kamaile Hiapo, ARIZ; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Brooke Nuneviller, ORE; Grace Massey, OSU; Holly Campbell, STAN; Berkeley Oblad, Utah; Avie Niece, WASH.
Freshman: Iman Isanovic, ASU; Sterling Parker, COLO; Karson Bacon, ORE; Lexi Hadrych, UCLA; Zoe Weatherington, UTAH; Magda Jehlarova, 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
Oct. 21 Mima Mirkovic, California Shayne McPherson, Washington Iman Isanovic, Arizona State
Oct. 28 Mac May, UCLA Morgan Hentz, Stanford Lexi Hadrych, UCLA
Nov. 4 Khalia Lanier, USC Kenzie Koerber, Utah Magda Jehlárová, Washington State
Nov. 11 Khalia Lanier, USC Alexis Dirige, Washington State Zoe Weatherington, Utah
Nov. 18  Kara Bajema, Washington Courtney Leffel, Arizona State Kamaile Hiapo, Arizona

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

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10:30 PM PT

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