Pac-12 Conference

2013 Volleyball Media Guide

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PRESEASON NOTEBOOK The Pac-12 continues to show it is the premiere conference for women's volleyball, showcasing the nation's top talent and coaches. With a record 14 NCAA titles to its credit and a team playing in the national championship match for the thirdconsecutive year last year, no other conference in the country can match the Pac-12's success. Seven league teams earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2012, marking the 12th-consecutive year at least six league teams participated in the postseason. In 2012, eight players were named All-Americans, including five first-team honorees. For the thirdstraight year, the national player of the year was a Pac-12 player, as well. The future of Pac-12 volleyball looks as strong as ever, with teams hauling in their share of top recruits. 2013 is no different with 17 Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 selections appearing on eight league rosters, more than any other conference. Nine Pac-12 teams had recruiting classes ranked in the top 30, with seven of those ranked in the top 15. Here's a brief look at the teams of the Pac-12 as they prepare for the 2013 campaign: ARIZONA With a squad of primarily underclassmen, the Wildcats struggled with consistency last year. But after a year of ups and downs, including a big, late-season win over then-No. 5 UCLA, Arizona is looking at a seasoned roster going into 2013. Junior outside hitter Madi Kingdon has been a key contributor since arriving on campus as a freshman. Voted to the Preseason All-Pac-12 team by the league's coaches, Kingdon was among the top-10 hitters in the Conference last year. Head coach David Rubio will have to rely on a freshman setter in Penina Snuka, a Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 prospect. Despite her newcomer status, Snuka has the skills to make an immediate impact and the Wildcats will have to bring her along quickly in order to achieve their goals and hopefully make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. 2012 PAC-12 PRESEASON COACHES POLL 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 120 111 99 91 76 65 59 52 49 30 21 19 * First-place votes in parentheses. ARIZONA STATE The Sun Devils look to build on a very successful season that saw them go to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years, record their first 20-win season since 1993 and earn their most league wins since 1999. ASU relied on a talented freshman in Macey Gardner who acclimated to the collegiate game immediately, averaging 4.79 kills per set, which ranked 18th in the country. A Preseason AllPac-12 pick, she was named first team All-Pac-12 last year, the first Sun Devil to earn the honor since 2002. Sophomore setter Allison Palmer dished out nearly 1,500 assists last year, mostly to Gardner, as the offense ranked as the fourth-most prolific in the Pac-12. Also returning is libero Stephanie Preach, one of three seniors on the squad. The senior leadership will be key in mentoring a talented incoming class that was ranked No. 13 in the country. CALIFORNIA The Golden Bears were plagued with injuries last season. Among the most significant was the seasonending loss of starting libero Robin Rostratter. Additional injuries resulted in significant contributors missing matches, including senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan who was also not at full strength for most of the season. Regardless of those injuries, California still was able to maintain a .500 record, an accomplishment in itself because of the tough Pac-12 slate with a depleted roster, and earned an 11th-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Gehan is one of four returning starters, giving the Bears plenty of leadership. Gehan's experience will be especially important as the only player on the roster to have played in the national championship match in 2010. The Cal returnees will have some help from a talented incoming class that was ranked 21st in the country and includes three Volleyball Magazine FAB 50 players, among which is setter Alyssa Jensen, who got a head start adjusting to the collegiate game after traveling to China with the Pac-12 All-Star team. Macey Gardner, Arizona State 8 // Stanford (10) USC (2) Washington Oregon UCLA Arizona State California Arizona Utah Colorado Washington State Oregon State 2013 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL MEDIA GUIDE // PREVIEW Lauren Plum, Oregon COLORADO The Buffs saw dramatic improvement last season after bringing in one of the most talented classes in recent history. Colorado more than doubled its win total from two years ago last season and improved in the Conference win column. Head coach Liz Kritza has done solid job on the recruiting trail and brings in another talented class. That, combined with the return of every starter, gives Colorado the aim to build on its momentum from last year. The Buffs were also hit by the injury bug last year, impacting senior outside hitter Kerra Schroeder the hardest as she missed out on the majority of the season. The team's kills leader in 2011, Schroeder looks to be back to form in her final campaign. In addition, sophomore Alexis Austin, who led the team in kills (3.39) as a rookie, comes back for the Buffs. The combination of the two, in addition to Neira OrtizRuiz, could help Colorado put on a strong and experienced attack in 2013. OREGON The Ducks are coming off of their most successful year in the history of the program after reaching the NCAA Championship match last year. Head coach Jim Moore welcomes back two All-Americans in senior setter Lauren Plum and junior outside hitter Liz Brenner. Directing one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, Plum was the nation's leader in assists per set (13.37) in 2013, while Brenner recorded the second-most kills per set on the team (4.39). Along with the nine letterwinners returning, Oregon also welcomes seven newcomers, including outside hitter Naya Crittenden and middle blocker Haylee Roberts. Both were highly-touted recruits and named to Volleyball Magazine's FAB 50. Though plenty of weapons return for the Ducks in 2013, the team will have to make up for the losses of AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year Alaina Bergsma, as well as Katherine Fischer, who provided consistency and was one of the top liberos in the Pac-12.

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