For some in Pac-12, rivalry week comes early. For others, including Washington, it comes very late. What’s going on?
When the first-ever Pac-12 schedule was released in spring, every team was to face its rival first and last in conference play. But several schools objected, since it meant playing three Pac-12 matches in just five days, with half the teams facing travel during that span.
The league agreed to let Washington and WSU move their series to the end of the season, meeting in Seattle the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and in Pullman three days later. The Oregon and Arizona schools followed suit.
|USC's Galen Center|
UCLA and USC played the first-ever Pac-12 match last Friday; UCLA steamrolled to a 3-0 win. One bright note in an otherwise troubled USC early season: 5,385 fans filled Galen Center, a USC home record.
Cal is hoping for similar support when it hosts what is known as the “Big Spike” series. For most of the past decade, Cal/Stanford has taken a back seat to the UW/Stanford series, as that duo finished in the top two every season between 2004-09. Stanford leads the Cal series 62-10, including a winning streak that spanned twenty seasons. Since breaking that streak, however, the Bears have won 4 of the past six matches, including a season sweep last season. Cal graduated national Player of the Year setter Carli Lloyd, but returns powerful outside hitter Tarah Murrey. Stanford graduated All-American Alix Klineman, but junior Karissa Cook is a big-time setter.
And in Boulder, Colorado and Utah go at it in their first-ever Pac-12 “rivalry” contest.