The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Pac-12 volleyball: midway through

Cougs still No. 2 in conference
WSU libero Karly Basham celebrates after sweeping UW, Sept. 21, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Pac-12 volleyball teams have reached the halfway points of their conference seasons, as everyone has played 10 conference opponents and has 10 remaining on their schedule. With rematches on the opposite court, the first was played on coming up, and the hierarchy of the conference seems relatively set. 

Stanford is undefeated in the conference, WSU solidified itself as the No. 2 team, five teams have winning records and overall the conference is pretty tightly contested with wins being spread around without discrimination. 

No. 3 Stanford (17-2, 10-0 Pac-12)

The Cardinal are the clear cream of the crop in the Pac-12. Going into the homes of both Oregon and WSU to take them down proved that fact. A national title contender, Stanford looks even better than last season.

Kami Miner is the best setter in the Pac-12, averaging 12.03 assists per set, an entire assist more than the second-closest player.

As a team, they lead in the conference in kills per set at 14.92, assists per set at 14.05, attack percentage at .320% and blocks per set at 2.84. 

No. 6 Washington State (18-3, 8-2) 

Other than suffering a reverse sweep upset on the road by the hands of the Trojans, the Cougs have looked fantastic in conference play. If they take care of business against No. 9 Oregon at home, they will be the clear No. 2 team in the Pac-12. 

Looking at the rest of the schedule, No. 3 on the road against Stanford, No. 12 at home against USC and No. 24 on the road against Washington all will give the Cougs a challenge, but they will be favored in two of the three matches. 

Magda Jehlárová continues her storied career as she is second in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage at .450% and second in blocks per set at 1.39. As a team, WSU is second in hitting percentage at .300% and fifth in blocks per set at 2.51. 

No. 21 Arizona State (19-3, 7-3) 

Marta Levinska has led the Sun Devils to a surprising third-place spot halfway through conference play. She has hit .343% while averaging 4.30 kills per set and 0.70 blocks per set, one of the more efficient pure hitters in the Pac-12. 

As a team, Arizona State has dominated at the service line, leading the conference in service aces per set at 2.08. Levinska leads the team at 0.42 aces per set, while her teammate Mary Shroll is not far behind at 0.41. 

No. 9 Oregon (17-4, 7-3) 

The Ducks were swept by Arizona State at home, meaning they are just 4-3 in front of their home fans. While all three losses came against ranked opponents, it is a sign that they have slightly regressed from their deep postseason run in 2022. 

Individual talent is certainly still there, as Kara McGhee leads the Pac-12 in efficiency, as she is hitting .458% to go along with her fifth-best in the Pac-12, 1.28 blocks per set. Her teammate Karson Bacon is third in the conference in blocks per set at 1.36, a clear sign as to why the Ducks are second as a team at 2.82 blocks per set. 

No. 30 USC (13-7, 7-3) 

An upset win over the Cougs has been the highlight of a good season thus far for the Trojans. Skylar Fields is a statistical machine, leading the conference in kills per set at 4.90 while remaining pretty efficient at a .284% hitting clip. 

The best team stat for the Trojans is assists per set, as they rank third in the conference at 12.53 while also being third in digs per set at 13.83.

Washington (13-8, 4-6)

The Huskies spent a lot of time in 2022 ranked within the top 25 of the AVCA Poll, but the 2023 team has been unable to reclaim that magic and get things going. Sitting 11th in the conference in blocks per set with 1.86 and harboring a middling offensive attack, there has been much to be desired for the team.

They have not been bad enough to drop matches to the team below them, but they are clearly outmatched when taking on the teams above them. Their home-court advantage has helped, but they will be fighting to finish conference play, winning .500% of their matches. 

Colorado (12-9, 4-6)

Colorado is led by Skyy Howard and her impressive Pac-12 leading 1.44 blocks per set. Adding 1.90 kills per set, she is a very strong player at the net that has been a major factor in many of the team’s wins. 

Avery Bolles leads the Pac-12 in service aces per set at 0.46, but despite her success, the team is just eighth in the conference at 1.44. 

Utah (9-11, 4-6)

Utah is the worst team in the conference in terms of the efficiency of their offensive attack, hitting just .199% and having the most errors out of everyone with 441. 

Not having another skill to make up for their offensive production, they remain near the bottom of the conference and the schedule does not get easier as they take on Arizona State, Stanford and Oregon on the road. 

California (14-7, 3-7)

Despite leading the Pac-12 in digs per set at 14.45, a ninth-best hitting percentage at .228% has left the Golden Bears near the bottom of the barrel. Tara DeSa and Maggie Li both are continuing fantastic seasons, but the talent around them has struggled to keep up with the rest of the conference. 

Li is a surefire bet to win the Freshman of the Year in the Pac-12 as she is averaging 4.10 kills per set in her first season in the Pac-12. 

Last season, the Golden Bears did not manage to win a single conference match, so any additional wins on their three so far will be a welcomed improvement, but the team is likely looking for more than just some improvement. 

UCLA (11-9, 3-7)

UCLA plays tough, but often times they fall through at the end. Anna Dodson is fifth in the conference in hitting at .362% and she is averaging 1.19 blocks per set, but matching up with other top middle blockers in the conference can show her weaknesses. 

The Bruins have been a good blocking team but a putrid digging team, with teams finding great success if they are able to get through the first level of the defense. 

Oregon State (7-13, 2-8)

After winning two matches in Pac-12 play in 2022, the Beavers have already matched that total in 2023. Ryan White has averaged 3.56 digs per set, good for sixth in the conference, and as a team, digging has been the best skill that Oregon State has. 

Having committed the third most errors at 417, the offensive attack falters mostly by their own hand, but the Beavers still have a chance to finish the season much better than they did in 2022. 

Arizona (6-15, 1-9) 

With Arizona picking up a win, it secures the fact that no team in the Pac-12 will finish without a win in conference play, but after winning six matches in 2022, the Wildcats are looking for much more. 

Sofia Maldonado Diaz has been the go-to player on the court for Arizona, averaging 3.52 kills per set, but she has struggled with efficiency herself, hitting just .180% on the season and having committed the most individual errors in the conference.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.