SportsVolleyball

Midseason report



Shawn Hatjes

The Pacific-10 Conference season may be halfway over, but a clear front-runner has yet to emerge from a pack of talented contenders. No. 14 Oregon (15-5, 5-5) is currently in fifth and will look to move up the standings in the weeks to come. With that, it’s time to check in with the other nine teams in the conference, ordered from first to last.

No. 4 Washington (19-2, 9-2)

The Huskies have been dominant so far this season, their only two losses coming against Pac-10 rivals Stanford and Washington State. After the stunning loss to the Cougars, the Huskies got back to their winning ways this past weekend, defeating Arizona 3-1 and Arizona State 3-0. Currently, Washington ranks first in the Pac-10 in both hitting (.301) and opponent hitting (.148).

How the Ducks have fared: Lost 3-0 in Eugene despite strong performances from senior middle blocker Neticia Enesi (13 kills, .565 hitting percentage) and senior outside hitter Sonja Newcombe (17 kills, .300 hitting percentage, 11 digs).

No. 6 Stanford (15-6, 8-3)

The Cardinal has bounced back nicely from three early season non-conference losses. After winning three straight matches, the Cardinal did suffer a slight setback last weekend, falling 3-2 to a surging UCLA team. Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa’s .379 hitting percentage is good for third in the Pac-10 and she is second in blocks per set with 1.33.

How the Ducks have fared: Won 3-2 in first meeting at McArthur Court.

No. 7 UCLA (18-6, 8-3)

After losing three of their first six conference games, the Bruins have surged to five straight victories. Most recently, UCLA defeated Stanford in five sets in Palo Alto. Known for their tough defense, the Bruins stand second in the Pac-10 in opponent hitting percentage (.170) and blocks per set (2.80). They are also first in digs per set (16.33).

How the Ducks have fared: Lost 3-2 in Los Angeles after fighting back from an 0-2 deficit.

No. 13 California (13-8, 6-5)

Led by senior outside hitter Hana Cutura, the Golden Bears are off to a solid start in the Pac-10. Cutura, who leads the Pac-10 with 5.03 kills per set, tallied 22 kills in the Golden Bears’ latest victory over USC. California has held opponents to just .192 hitting this year (third in the Pac-10).

How the Ducks have fared: Won 3-0 in Eugene behind a team hitting percentage of .402.

No. 18 Arizona (16-6, 5-6)

The Wildcats had lost three straight matches before defeating then-No. 21 Washington State 3-1 last Saturday. Junior outside hitter Tiffany Owens and redshirt junior outside hitter Whitney Dosty both had 15 kills, and the Wildcats held the Cougars to a mere .131 hitting percentage.

How the Ducks have fared: Lost 3-1 in Tucson as the Wildcats hit .302 as a team.

No. 24 Washington State (16-6, 5-6)

Inconsistency has plagued the Cougars this season, as they have yet to win more than two Pac-10 matches in a row. A week after upsetting Washington on Oct. 23, they lost in four sets to both Arizona State and Arizona. Senior middle blocker Cassie Robbins hit .500 with 14 kills against Arizona, but it was not enough to overcome the team’s .131 overall hitting percentage.

How the Ducks have fared: Won 3-1 in Eugene as Newcombe and junior outside hitter Heather Meyers both hit over .400.

No. 17 USC (15-8, 4-7)

USC’s Pac-10 record dropped to 4-7 after a tough weekend in northern California. The Trojans lost 3-1 to both Stanford and California, and have now lost six of their last eight matches. Against California, they hit just .114 as a team, and only three players hit above .200. For the season, USC leads the Pac-10 with 14.84 kills per set.

How the Ducks have fared: Lost 3-0 in Los Angeles.

Oregon State (11-11, 2-8)

A loss to Oregon on Friday left the Beavers with a 2-8 conference record. Oregon State has now lost five straight matches despite the dominating play of senior outside hitter Rachel Rourke, who is second in the Pac-10 with 4.74 kills per set.

How the Ducks have fared: Lost first match 3-2 in Corvallis on Oct. 2, won second match 3-1 on Oct. 30.

Arizona State (12-11, 2-9)

A 2-9 conference record leaves Arizona State at the bottom of the Pac-10. The Sun Devils’ 3-1 win over Washington State on Oct. 30 was their first since Sept. 25, and a 3-0 loss to Washington on Nov. 1 eliminated any chance of a winning streak.

How the Ducks have fared: Won 3-0 in Tempe, holding Arizona State to a .069 hitting percentage.

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