Last week of regular season; Stanford claims Pac-12 title
SAN FRANCISCO - STANFORD clinched at least a share of its third-straight Pac-12 crown and 19th overall and has a chance to clinch outright as the Pac-12 volleyball regular season wraps up this week. Teams look to make one final impression on the NCAA Volleyball Selection Committee or end the season on a high note. No. 9 WASHINGTON still has a chance to claim at least a share of the league crown, while No. 17 UTAH and No. 25 WASHINGTON STATE look to record one of their best seasons in program history. No. 23 UCLA also looks to be back in the postseason mix after missing out on the NCAA Tournament last season. Every volleyball rivalry match this week will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
The NCAA Division I volleyball committee announces the 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Stanford is the defending NCAA Champion winning its NCAA-record eighth last year, giving the Pac-12 its nation-leading 16th all-time.
• STANFORD leads five Pac-12 teams in the AVCA poll, moving up to No. 3 this week while receiving 11 first-place votes. Washington moved up a spot to No. 9 this week, followed by No. 17 Utah and No. 25 Washington State. UCLA reenters the poll at No. 23 after being out for two weeks.
• 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 eight teams in the top 52 RPI, tied for the most of any league in the country. Eleven of the teams also have 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. 25).
STANFORD CLAIMS AT LEAST SHARE OF PAC-12 CROWN
• For the third year in a row and 19th time ever, Stanford has won at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title. The Cardinal are 16-2 in league play with two matches still remaining. Stanford has not finished lower than second in all but three seasons since the Pac-12 began sponsoring women's basketball in 1986.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
• Facing the final week of the regular season, teams look to end on a high note or make a final impression on the NCAA Volleyball Selection Committee. Stanford could clinch the Pac-12 title outright as early as Tuesday when it faces No. 25 Washington State.
• The Cougs look to snap a two-match losing streak and are still in the running to have its best finish since 2001. They currently sit in fourth place, which would tie last year’s finish. After taking on the Cardinal, WSU travels to Washington.
• Washington also takes on Washington State and California this week. The Huskies are still mathematically in the title hunt but need Stanford to drop both matches in order to clinch a share of the league crown. In second place, UW has bounced back from an uncharacteristic sixth-place finish in 2018 after finishing no lower than second place the five years prior.
• Entering the week in third place, the Utes are looking to post their best finish since joining the Conference in 2011 when it hosts Oregon State and travels to Colorado. Anything better than fourth place would clinch that for the program.
• UCLA is on the road to Arizona and USC, while looking to make a strong case for a NCAA at-large bid, as are USC and Arizona State. The Bruins missed out on the postseason last year while the Sun Devils are looking to make a return to the tournament for the first time since 2015.
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 ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in four statistical categories, including rankings fourth in assists per set (13.76) thanks in large part to two-time Pac-12 Setter of the Year Jenna Gray who’s 11.54 assists average ranks ninth in the country.
• Four of the nation’s top-30 blocking teams also hail from the Pac-12 with the Cardinal posting the eight-best blocks per set average (2.88). Washington ranks 15th (2.74), Washington State is 21st (2.66) and Utah is 29th at 2.57.
• 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 seventh and 10th in kills per set (4.88) and points per set (5.32), leading the Pac-12 in both categories. Gray and Washington State’s Magda Jehlarova (8th, 1.46 bps) also appear in the top 10 in their respective categories.
• The Conference also boasts four of the nation’s offensive producers. Along with Lanier, UCLA’s Mac May (11th, 5.31 pps; 13th, 4.67 kps), Utah’s Dani Drews (16th, 5.21 pps; 14th, 4.64 kps) and Washington’s Kara Bajema (23rd, 5.06 pps; 23rd, 4.42 kps) are all in the top 25 in kills and points per set.
PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
• For the second-straight week and fifth time this season, Washington senior Kara Bajema was voted Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after averaging 5.5 kps on .360 hitting for 5.9 pps.
• Senior Morgan Hentz helped Stanford to a pair of wins and at least a share of the Pac-12 crown, the team’s third straight and 19th overall. She averaged 4.57 dps in the wins, en route to earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the seventh time in her career. She broke the Cardinal’s all-time career digs record and ranks fifth all-time in Pac-12 history.
• Arizona’s Kamaile Hiapo is the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the second week in a row after helping the Wildcats to a 1-1 week, including an upset of then-No. 22 Washington State.
NCAA & PAC-12 CAREER LEADERS
• Stanford’s Jenna Gray was the first active player in the NCAA to hit the 5,000-career assists milestone. She also became just the 15th player in Pac-12 history and the fourth Cardinal to record 5,000 career assists, and enters the week ranked in the top 15 in league history in 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 second among active NCAA leaders this season with 1,952 kills and is on the verge of becoming just the eighth player in league history with 2,000 kills. Two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer was back on the court after missing action for five weeks and reached the 1,800-kills milestone, entering the top 25 in Pac-12 history.
• Two-time Pac-12 Libero of the Year, Stanford’s Morgan Hentz is fifth all-time in Pac-12 history in career digs with 2,167, breaking the all-time Stanford mark. 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 2,115. 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 (589) and is currently 12th. She is one of six active in the NCAA to have recorded 500-career blocks, ranking below USC’s Jasmine Gross, who has tallied 630 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 496 career blocks, ranking in the top 30 in the Pac-12 record book.
• 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 returned to the court on Nov. 7 at Arizona State, then put up 15 kills on 22 swings at Arizona two days later. 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.
• 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 19 upsets (based on national polling at the time of the meeting). The first week of league action was explosive, with five of those upsets.
• Winning three of its last four matches, including a win over Washington State, Arizona State has surpassed its win total from a year ago when it went 16-12 overall and 8-10 in league play. Both are the most wins since 2015, the last time the Sun Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
• 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. Its 10 league wins are the most since 2013, the last time the Golden Bears were in the NCAA Tournament.
• After starting Pac-12 play with an 0-10 record, Colorado has posted a 4-4 mark in the month of November so far (as of Nov. 25), posting wins over UCLA and California, while also taking Washington State to five sets.
• Oregon’s last three matches have gone to five sets with the Ducks finally breaking through on Sunday, Nov. 24 to defeat USC. The Ducks are 3-6 this season in five setters, but one of those wins was against Utah on Oct. 29.
• 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.
• After missing out on the NCAA Tournament last season and posting its first-ever losing campaign in program history, UCLA has made a big turnaround, recording more overall wins than last season (13 in 2018) and more league wins (11 in 2018). The Bruins are guaranteed a winning record this season and sits in a tie for fourth heading into the final week after finishing ninth last year.
• USC Sophomore Raquel Lázaro is the only Trojan to have played every set this season and leads the Pac-12 in double-doubles (18).
• 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 Utes posted their fifth 20-win season in seven years. Their 12 Pac-12 wins are a team record.
• Washington has posted its 18th-consecutive 20-win season, surpassing its Pac-12 win total from a year ago. The Huskies, who finished an uncharacteristic sixth in the league last year, can finish no lower than third.
• 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.
• 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.
• For a full television schedule, visit pac-12.com.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Specific to Site)
|Tuesday, Nov. 26||TV/Stream||Time|
|#3 Stanford at #25 Washington State||P12W||7 p.m. PT|
|Wednesday, Nov. 27|
|California at #9 Washington||P12BA, P12W||4 p.m. PT|
|Oregon at Colorado||P12M, P12O||2 p.m. MT|
|Oregon State at #17 Utah||Live Stream||4 p.m. MT|
|#23 UCLA at Arizona||P12N||2 p.m. MT|
|USC at Arizona State||Live Stream||5 p.m. MT|
|Friday, Nov. 29|
|California at #3 Stanford||P12N||3 p.m. PT|
|Oregon State at Oregon||P12O||5 p.m. PT|
|#23 UCLA at USC||P12LA||7 p.m. PT|
|Saturday, Nov. 30|
|Arizona State at Arizona||P12A||12 p.m. MT|
|#17 Utah at Colorado||P12M||11 a.m. MT|
|#25 Washington State at #9 Washington||P12W||5 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: Morgan Hentz, Stanford
Freshman: Kamaile Hiapo, Arizona
Offensive: Paige Whipple, ARIZ; Ivana Jeremic, ASU; Sterling Parker, COLO; Willow Johnson, ORE; Audriana Fitzmorris, STAN; Mac May, UCLA; Dani Drews, UTAH.
Defensive: Kamaile Hiapo, ARIZ; Courtney Leffel, ASU; Rachel Whipple, COLO; Brooke Nuneviller, ORE; Grace Massey, OSU; Savvy Simo, UCLA; Berkeley Oblad, UTAH; Shayne McPherson, WASH.
Freshman: Kennedi Boyd, ASU; Sterling Parker, COLO; Karson Bacon, ORE; Zoe Weatherington, UTAH.
2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK