Weekend losses drop volleyball to 7th in Pac-10

By Ron Parsons

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Stanford Cardinal, ranked No. 4 in the nation and on a 16-match winning streak, continued to reign over the Pacific 10 Conference women's volleyball standings.

The defending NCAA national champions swept No. 20 Arizona and No. 14 Arizona State last weekend to move to 13-0 in conference play, 19-2 overall. Both victories were in straight sets.

No. 10 Washington State (17-3), which split last weekend with Washington and Eastern Washington, remained second in the Pac-10 with a 9-3 conference mark.

The Los Angeles schools are tied for third place with 8-5 conference records. No. 11 UCLA (14-6) and No. 17 Southern Cal (11-6) both swept the Oregon schools last weekend.

With a 7-6 conference record, the 14th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils are in fifth place. ASU is 13-6 overall.

The Washington Huskies (10-10 overall, 5-7 in the Pac-10) are in sixth, and Arizona (13-8 overall, 5-8 in the Pac-10) dropped to seventh.

At 4-9 in the conference, California is eighth. The Golden Bears, who upset Arizona last week in straight sets, are 10-11 overall.

Rounding out the conference standings are the Oregon schools. Oregon State is ninth at 3-9, 9-13 overall, while the Oregon Ducks are in last place at 1-11, 7-15 overall.

Stanford coach Don Shaw said despite the Cardinal's dominance in conference play, the Pac-10 is still the toughest in the country.

"The hard part for us is that were the team that everybody expects to win," Shaw said. "But in this conference you're playing a team every night that can beat you."

Shaw said his team's performance this season had him optimistic about the Cardinal's chances for repeating as national champions.

"I think we're heading in that direction," Shaw said. "There are a lot of good teams out there, but nobody's playing the schedule we're playing."

Shaw said most other top teams, such as top-ranked Nebraska and No. 3 Hawaii, can't match Stanford in strength of schedule.

"They're not playing anybody, and I'm sitting here losing sleep thinking about coming down to play Arizona and ASU," Shaw said. "But it toughens you up."

More on Stanford: setter/outside hitter Lisa Sharpley was named the Pac-10 player of the week for her efforts against the Arizona schools.

Sharpley, a sophomore, compiled a .600 hitting average and had 23 kills in the two matches. She also had 35 assists, for a 6.5 per game average.

"Lisa Sharpley was on fire," Shaw said. "She could do no wrong on that right side."

Arizona players in the Pac-10 statistics: Junior outside-hitter Barb Bell, who had 28 kills last weekend, is second in kills with 342 and fifth in kills average with 4.44 per game.

Sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Venne leads the Pac-10 in service aces with 30 and is third in aces average with .39. Senior setter Laura Bartsch is sixth, with 23 aces for a .32 average.

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