Pac-12 Conference

2017 Volleyball Media Guide

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9 2017 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL // PREVIEW PRESEASON NOTEBOOK Katherine Plummer, Stanford Khalia Lanier, USC Mary-Kate Marshall, Oregon State the returnees is senior outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall, who has been one of the to players in the Conference, earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 team two years in a row. Getting the ball to her will be redshirt junior McKenna Hollingsworth, who will also have the options of redshirt juniors Kory Cheshire and Lanesha Reagan. With three of the top-four scorers from last year back, Hollingsworth should have several options on attack. On the back line, junior libero Kayla Ellis is also back to take the lead. STANFORD Defending NCAA Champion Stanford will have a target on its back in 2017. Edged out in the coaches poll and picked to !nished second in the Pac-12, the Cardinal should be one of the favorites to win the national crown with 11 letterwinners returning, including AVCA National Freshman of the Year Kathryn Plummer. She is one of two All-Americans returning as senior Merete Lutz comes back for her senior campaign. Sophomore Audrianna Fitzmorris also looks to capitalize on a strong freshman outing. But the Cardinal have a new leaders at the helm for the !rst time in 16 years. Kevin Hambly takes over the reigns after Hall of Famer John Dunning retired after the championship run. Hambly has experienced success, leading Illinois to the NCAA title match in 2011, falling to UCLA. Managing expectations will be a big key for this squad, espe- cially one that has just one senior on the roster. 10 of the 15 players on the roster are underclassmen. Staving off complacency, which often plagues a young squad that has experienced success early, will be one of the things Hambly will have to deal with. That may take care of itself, however, since Stanford, again, takes on a tough non-conference slate which includes back-to-back weekends facing perennial power Penn State. UCLA While the Bruins look to build momentum on last season's success, which saw them tie for second in the Pac-12 and advance to the NCAA Regional !nal, they will look very different from last season's squa which returns just one starter. But adding to the squad is a talented corp that was ranked No. 3 in the nation among all recruiting classes. The lone starter returning is senior outside hitter Reily Buechler, the team's top scorer last year and sec- ond in the Pac-12, as well as top 15 in the nation. With an incoming class of eight student-athletes, her leadership will be very important. Newcomers Katie Jacobs and Mac May are among the standout class that joins the Bruins this fall. Both were prep All-American, Jacobs at the setter position. May is an outside hitter who was a two-sport athlete and spent some time with the USA Volleyball junior program. Maintaining consistency among a young squad will be one of the challenges, as well as !lling the voids left by departed veterans. USC Last year's Trojans squad showed its youth last year, !nishing the season four games above .500 and 10-10 in the Pac-12, but still made the NCAA Tournament. Another year of experience and USC looks primed to make a jump in the standings with 11 letterwinners back, including !ve starters. Among them are sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier, who put together an impressive freshman campaign car- rying the offensive load, earning All-Pac-12 honors and was an honorable mention AVCA All-American. This season's Trojans are a senior-laden squad with experienced players in senior setter Reni Meyer- Whalley, Brittany Abercrombie, Niki Withers and Jordan Dunn coming back. The Trojans will have early tests on the road, traveling to top-25 teams Creighton and Kentucky, as well as travel to College Park to face Oklahoma and Maryland. Then they turn around and open Pac-12 play in a rivalry game on the road at UCLA. UTAH The Utes are looking to position themselves as one of the top teams in the Pac-12 and they appear to have the momentum to carry them that way. Utah signed the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, adding to the !ve starters that are returning, includ- ing All-American Adora Anae. Anae has been an offensive force in the Pac-12 since arriving and has been improving each season. Last year, she broke out for 4.70 kills and 5.22 points per set, ranking in the top 11 in the nation in the categories. Anae is expected to be the focal point of the offense again this season. Sophomore Bailey Choy is back to take on the setter duties and dish the ball to Anae. Tawnee Luafalemana and Berkeley Oblad combined to be a solid core on defense at the net. The seven-member incoming class includes three All-Americans in Dani Barton, Phoebe Grace and Shannon Scully, who will look to challenge for playing time. There is no 2017 PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12 Taylor Agost, Oregon Adora Anae, Utah Reily Buechler, UCLA Crissy Jones, Washington Audriana Fitzmorris, Stanford Morgan Hentz, Stanford Khalia Lanier, USC Merete Lutz, Stanford Mary-Kate Marshall, Oregon State Kathryn Plummer, Stanford Courtney Schwan, Washington Ronika Stone, Oregon Bailey Tanner, Washington Lindsey Vander Weide, Oregon

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