Every day at VolleyMob we will preview several of the most notable and interesting matches in NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball. We will offer an inside look at some of those top matchups each day as we carry along through the 2017 season.
Friday created another day of excitement and statements leading into Saturday when we search for more clarity. In total, 13 teams in the VolleyMob Power Rankings Top 25 are in action on the day with several meetings serving mass importance on the conference standings.
*Note: VolleyMob Power Rankings Top 25 is utilized for a team’s ranking
*The entire week’s schedule can be seen here.
THE BIG MATCH:
#10 Wisconsin (11-3, 2-3) at #14 Michigan State (11-3, 4-1) – 6:30 pm ET
Two top-15 Big Ten squads face off in East Lansing, Michigan as one looks to keep pace at the top while the other looks to ignite a run in conference play.
The team sitting near the top and hosting this match, Michigan State, is coming off their first loss of 2017 Big Ten play after falling in four sets at Nebraska. Before that, they had won 10 straight sets in four match wins over the likes of Minnesota, Ohio State, Maryland and starting the streak in the fifth set against Wisconsin. Autumn Bailey starred in that match for the Spartans with 16 kills (.204) and 25 digs as she looks for an encore performance in front of home fans.
That five-set loss to Michigan State has started a theme for Wisconsin, who have now lost three matches in Big Ten play – all in the fifth set. In fact in their last two matches, coming against Nebraska and Minnesota, the Badgers have fallen in five. The schedule doesn’t get much easier with Nebraska up next, but the Badgers have been so close to several huge wins that they are just a few corrections away – pretty impressive considering their youth. One of those youngsters, 6’8″ freshman Dana Rettke, logged 19 kills (.412) and five blocks last meeting with Michigan State.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
#6 Minnesota (14-2, 3-2) at (RV) Michigan (12-5, 2-3) – 1 pm ET
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Fresh off a five-set win at Wisconsin, the Golden Gophers will look to avoid being caught off-guard in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Minnesota had an up-and-down start, but now will look to take off and move back toward the top of the standings but they need wins like this one. The Wolverines could also use the victory after a loss to Iowa in the week.
West Virginia (12-5, 1-3) at #23 Baylor (14-4, 4-1) – 3 pm ET
It was a great start to the week for Baylor, who took down Iowa State in straight sets on the road. They could add to it with a match against a potential NCAA Tournament team in West Virginia as they look to keep pace near the top of the Big 12 standings. For the Mountaineers, if they do want to hit that moniker, they’ll need to pick it up on the road and score some big wins like this one after losses to Texas and Kansas already in the year.
#24 Cal Poly (15-2, 5-0) at Hawaii (11-5, 5-0) – 10 pm ET
This could end up being the match of the year in the Big West, as the Mustangs made a statement early in the year and haven’t looked back as potentially the top team in the conference. It’s fitting that they have to go through perennial power Hawaii though, as the conference title runs through the Rainbow Wahine.
BEST OF THE REST:
#2 Penn State (14-1, 4-1) at Maryland (13-4, 2-3) – 7 pm ET
#5 Nebraska (12-3, 5-0) at Iowa (13-5, 2-3) – 8 pm ET
#16 Northern Iowa (14-4, 4-0) at Evansville (6-10, 0-4) – 8 pm ET
#9 Kansas (15-2, 4-0) at Oklahoma (4-13, 1-3) – 8 pm ET