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Pac-12 coaches name Stanford women the volleyball favorite

 
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Stanford was picked as the Pac-12 volleyball favorite in a vote o the conference coaches it was revealed by the conference office Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

The defending Pac-12 champion Stanford women's volleyball team is the coaches choice to repeat as conference champions, the Pac-12 office revealed Wednesday.

Stanford, which received 11 first-place votes, totaled 121 points. USC, which earned a first-place vote, was second with 100 points, followed by Oregon (96) and UCLA (90). Rounding out the top half of the poll were Colorado (89) and Washington (73).

Washington State totaled 64 points to take seventh, followed by Utah (47), Arizona (46), Oregon State (27), Arizona State (24) and California (15).

Stanford, which has captured 17 Pac-12 championships since 1986, has finished in the top three in the conference in 30 of 32 seasons. The coaches have correctly chosen the champion 18 times out of the past 32 polls. The Cardinal has won eight of the last 12 conference championships.

Stanford returns six starters from last season's squad, which went 30-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the 21st time in program history.

Among the returners are reigning AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer and AVCA first team All-Americans Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz. Junior Audriana Fitzmorris was a second team pick in 2017, while senior Tami Alade landed on the honorable mention list.

Fitzmorris, Gray, Hentz and Plummer all earned spots on the 14-member preseason All-Pac-12 squad. Stanford led all teams with four selections. Colorado, Oregon and UCLA each had two players picked.

Stanford opens its season on Sunday, Aug. 26 at American. The Cardinal faces five preseason top 10 opponents in its first nine matches: No. 8 BYU (Aug. 31), No. 6 Penn State (Sept. 7 in its home opener), No. 4 Minnesota (Sept. 9), and No. 3 Texas twice (Sept. 11 and Sept. 14).

In addition, six other Pac-12 schools are ranked among the top 25.

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