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Pac-12 women's volleyball returns to action with 31 matches this weekend

Aug 25, 2022
Washington Athletics

Schedule // Standings // Statistics // Record Book

SAN FRANCISCO - The 2022 women’s volleyball season is set to commence this week as all Pac-12 teams will return to the court this week, as the first day of action is set to begin on Friday, Aug. 26, with a total of 31 matches during the first weekend of competition.

WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK

  • Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon State, No. 14 Stanford, No. 12 UCLA, No. 24 USC, No. 22 Utah, No. 8 Washington and Washington State are all in action on Friday.
  • The Wildcats, Sun Devils, Buffs, Trojans and Utes each begin their seasons with home tournaments – Arizona will host the Cactus Classic, Arizona State will host the Webb-Burbridge Classic, Colorado will host the Buffs Invitational, USC will host the Cardinal & Gold Classic and Utah will host the Utah Classic.
  • The Golden Bears will start off the season at the San Diego Tournament in in San Diego, Calif., the Beavers will head to Portland, Ore. to participate in the Rose City Showdown, the Cardinal is in Nashville, Tenn. for matches at Lipscomb and Tennessee State, the Bruins are headed to Wayne Estes Center for the Utah State Invitational, while the Huskies will take on Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Cougars will open play in the BYU Invitational in Provo, Utah.
  • No. 19 Oregon will begin their 2022 campaign at the Rose City Showdown in Portland against Long Beach State on Saturday, Aug. 27.  

AVCA NATIONAL RANKINGS

  • Six Pac-12 women’s volleyball teams are ranked in the first American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coaches Top 25 of the 2022 campaign, which was revealed Monday, Aug. 15. The Conference’s six programs in the preseason poll are the second-most among all leagues.
  • Defending Conference champion Washington, who is coming off their 26th NCAA tournament appearance in program history, leads the Conference at No. 8. The Huskies are followed by No. 12 UCLA, No. 14 Stanford, No. 19 Oregon, No. 22 Utah and No. 24 USC among Pac-12 schools in the initial rankings, while Washington State is receiving votes.
  • The Pac-12 has had at least five teams ranked in 17 of the last 20 AVCA preseason polls since 2003 with the only exceptions coming in 2014 (4), 2016 (4) and 2020 (4).

HUSKIES PICKED AS THE FAVORITE

  • Washington was voted by the Conference’s women’s volleyball head coaches as the league’s preseason favorite for the upcoming 2022 campaign.
  • The Huskies, which have claimed the Pac-12 title in back-to-back seasons, garnered eight first-place votes and tallied 117 points to take the top spot in the annual coaches poll. Stanford finished second with 107 points and two first-place votes, followed by UCLA (98 points) and Oregon (93 points), which both picked up one first-place vote.
  • It’s the fifth time that Washington has led the Conference’s preseason rankings. The Huskies were previously voted to the top spot in 2021, 2017, 2009 and 2005.
  • The preseason favorite has gone on to win the league title 21 times in the 36 years of Pac-12 women’s volleyball, including UW in 2005, which also capped that campaign with one of the Conference’s 17 national championships.
  • The 15-member Preseason All-Pac-12 Team was announced at the same time as the coaches poll, as Stanford and Washington each have three players on the team, which is tied for the most in the league. 

NEW AND FAMILIAR FACES

  • The Pac-12 returns eight second and third-team AVCA All-Americans from a season ago, including two-time defending Pac-12 Setter of the Year Ella May Powell (Washington). Returning second-team AVCA All-Americans include Caitie Baird (Stanford), Marin Grote (Washington), Kendall Kipp (Stanford) and Brooke Nuneviller (Oregon). The three third-team AVCA All-Americans include incoming transfer Skylar Fields (USC), Claire Hoffman (Washington) and Magda Jehlarova (Washington State).
  • In total, 30 of the 36 players awarded all-conference recognition for the 2021 season return this fall, including 13 All-Pac-12 performers, 10 all-conference honorable mention awardees and each of the league’s seven All-Freshman selections. 
  • Four Pac-12 teams landed at least one Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 recruit with USC leading the way with five top-50 recruits. Stanford follows behind with two, while UCLA and Oregon each landed one apiece. 10 named to the list will be donning a Pac-12 uniform this season.

OLYMPIANS MADE HERE

  • Four Pac-12 volleyball alumnae were Olympians at the 200 Summer Games in Tokyo and three were gold medalists.
  • Four-time All-American and 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year Alix Klineman (Stanford) won a beach volleyball gold medal for the United States playing with April Ross (USC), a three-time All-American and the 2003 Pac-10 Player of the Year.
  • Sarah Sponcil, who was an AVCA All-America honorable mention selection at UCLA in 2017, was also a beach volleyball Olympian along with USC's Kelly Claes. Claes did not play indoor volleyball during her collegiate career.
  • Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year (2007 and 2008), 2007 AVCA Player of the Year and four-time All-American, helped Team USA take home an Olympic indoor gold medal for the first time. Fellow Cardinal Kathryn Plummer, herself a two-time AVCA Player of the Year (2017 and 2018) was an alternate on that U.S. roster. 
  • Washington's Tamari Miyashiro was an assistant coach of UCLA alumnus Karch Kiraly for Team USA, and legendary UCLA softball head coach Sue Enquist was also on staff as a consultant.

HOW TO WATCH

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

  • Pac-12 institutions have won 17 of the 41 all-time NCAA championships in women’s volleyball, four more than the next closest conference (Big Ten), and four of the past 11.
  • The Conference has had at least five teams earn NCAA Tournament bids in 30 consecutive seasons and boasts eight postseason berths in five of the past nine tournaments.
  • The Pac-12 has had 10 or more first, second and third-team All-America selections in 13 of the last 17 seasons.
  • 13 former Pac-12 players have earned first, second or third-team All-America honors four times, while 27 players have earned All-America honors three times, with Ella May Powell garnering her third nod last season.
  • Since 1990, Pac-12 players have garnered AVCA Player of the Year honors 15 times, including the seven of the last 12 - California’s Carli Lloyd (2010), USC’s Alex Jupiter (2011), Oregon’s Alaina Bergsma (2012), Washington’s Krista Vansant (2013), USC’s Samantha Bricio (2015) and Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer (2017 and 2018).
  • The Honda Sports Award for volleyball has been bestowed upon a Pac-12 athlete 21 times in its 46 years of existence, including most recently Stanford’s Jenna Gray in 2019.