In what is arguably the best volleyball conference in the country, barring any Big Ten fans that want to get angry about that, the Arizona State Sun Devils sit in a tough position.
Practically going through a whole turnover, whether it be roster or coaches, the Pac-12 may not be kind to the Sun Devils.
After last season, former head coach Stevie Mussie departed from Tempe and new head coach Sanja Tomasevic took over. She spent the previous year as an assistant coach under Mussie.
The Sun Devils will miss players that transferred in the offseason but do return a few familiar faces.
Sophomore outside hitter Ivana Jeremic
As a freshman last season, Jeremic slowly became the favorite target for Sun Devil setters. The 6-foot-1 power hitter from Serbia finished third on the team in kills with 246.
Senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro
As a transfer last season, Okaro came out of nowhere and took over as the most important player for the Sun Devils offensively. She led the team with a total of 447 points (kills, blocks and aces) and solidified herself as a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12.
Senior libero Halle Harker
Harker is a true leader of this ASU roster. She is going into her senior season and statistically is one of the best liberos to ever dawn the maroon and gold. Her career total of 1,403 digs is currently sixth in the record books at Arizona State.
Sun Devil fans will also be seeing a plethora of new faces on the court this season. Expect a few of them to make a big impact immediately.
Senior outside hitter Isabel Miller
ASU will be the third college that Miller has played at throughout her college career. The other two schools were Boise State and San Diego Mesa college. At San Diego Mesa, she averaged 4.89 kills per set and had a .228 hitting percentage. She took charge at the maroon and gold scrimmage and notched 21 kills on Aug. 19.
Junior opposite hitter Payton Grahovac
Formerly at Long Beach State, Grahovac made 44 starts over her first two seasons. She registered 321 kills and 85 blocks. Also, being a threat from the opposite side as the outsides Grahovac will help to spread defenses out for the Sun Devils.
The Pac-12 boasts difficult competition each and every season. This year, there are six teams from the Pac-12 in the AVCA preseason top-25. Including two of the top three teams in the country.
The Stanford Cardinal are the reigning national champions, and while they lost a key leader in former middle blocker Inky Ajanaku, the Cardinal still started four freshmen in the national championship victory over the Texas Longhorns.
Head up north and the Washington Huskies should boast another strong team this season. Currently ranked third in the nation, the Huskies bring back the likes of senior outside hitter Courtney Schwan (2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year) and senior outside hitter Crissy Jones (2016 AVCA All-America Second Team).
Other forces to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 will be UCLA, Oregon, Utah and Arizona. All of which finish out the list of teams currently ranked in the top-25.
It is tough to tell how the Sun Devils will fare this year. The new faces have a tough challenge ahead of them in order to produce enough to make the team competitive.
The first match of the season is on Aug. 25, 2017 against Weber State at 11 a.m.