Nicholas Yekikian, Assistant Sports editor
With the last bout of conference play looming over the Pac-12, this season’s leaders and losers are starting to take shape.
Of the five men’s soccer teams in the Pac-12, the consummate leader remains the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (12-2-1, 6-0-1 Pac-12).
Stanford’s offense has been uncontainable so far, and is the single biggest factor for the team’s nearly spotless record to this point. The Cardinal has outscored their opponents 31-8 in 2017. Their defense has been stingy too, allowing only .53 goals per game on average.
The next strongest team in the Pac-12, and the team that is en route to meet Stanford in the Pac-12 conference championship, is No. 17 California (9-5-0, 4-3-0). The Golden Bears have been hot on the Cardinal’s heels all year.
The Golden Bears defense is what has been holding them back, allowing a total of 18 goals on the season – the same number that the California offense has scored.
The middle of the Pac-12 has been populated by Washington (10-5-1, 3-3-1) who has managed to deliver the only blemish on Stanford’s conference record so far – a 1-1 tie.
However, the Huskies did fall to the Cardinal in another more recent meeting, and have lost to both the Golden Bears and the Bruins (6-6-1, 3-2-0).
San Diego State (5-9-0, 0-5-0) and Oregon State (5-10-0, 2-5-0) occupy the bottom two-fifths of the Pac-12. Both teams are below .500 and both have suffered blowout losses at the hands of Stanford.
The Aztecs remain with no victories in Pac-12 play, and at one point in the year the Aztecs were shut out for 535 consecutive minutes of game time.
San Diego State recently mustered a 3-0 victory – its first in five matches – against a Santa Clara team (2-11-0, 2-1-0 WCC) that has struggled to win all year.
By Kelsey Angus, Assistant Sports editor
Oregon State – the one Pac-12 opponent UCLA women’s volleyball has yet to face – has won four consecutive matches after starting Pac-12 play 0-4.
Outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall won her second Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honor in a row, her third this season. Marshall recorded 11 kills in the win over Arizona and 22 against Arizona State.
The Beavers’ Kylee McLaughlin picked up Pac-12 Freshman of the Week accolades for her 57 assists against Arizona State and season-high three aces against Arizona. The setter led a varied offense that helped both Oregon State middles achieve career-high kills against Arizona State.
Stanford libero Morgan Hentz rounded out the Pac-12 Player of the Week accolades. She averaged 4.5 digs per set in the team’s wins over Washington and Washington State.
Halfway through the conference season, Stanford remains the only team in the Pac-12 that is undefeated in league matches.
Men’s Water Polo
By Ryan Smith, Assistant Sports editor
An upset of UCLA men’s water polo should shake things up in the new rankings this week.
No. 3 California (17-1, 1-0 MPSF) went into Spieker Aquatics Center and avenged its September loss to No. 2 UCLA (15-2, 0-1) with a 12-9 road victory. The Bruins will likely be overtaken by the Golden Bears in the new rankings scheduled to be released Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, No. 1 USC (19-1, 1-0) won its sixth straight game with a 13-8 victory over No. 6 UC Irvine on Saturday.
No. 4 Stanford (13-3, 0-1) picked up four wins over the weekend, knocking off No. 16 Bucknell on Friday and Wagner later that night. Stanford then went on to claim wins against No. 7 Pepperdine on Saturday and No. 12 St. Francis Brooklyn on Sunday.
Looking forward to this weekend, UCLA will face No. 5 Pacific (14-3, 3-0) at home in an opportunity to bounce back from its loss on Saturday.