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.
*Note: The VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings are utilized for a team’s ranking
*The entire week’s schedule can be seen here.
THE BIG MATCH:
#16 Utah (18-7, 9-5) at #12 USC (18-7, 10-4) – 9 pm ET
The battle for second place in the Pac-12 continues to be a tight one (as is for third), as one team will make a big statement in Los Angeles. Besides that, it’s a chance for both teams to add to their resumes and opportunities of hosting in the first and second rounds.
Utah comes into this one needing to turn things around as they have lost four of five after an incredible start. That’s partially the life in the Pac-12 with so many ranked teams and difficult matchups such as the two this week for the Utes at USC and at UCLA. Watch out for Adora Anae, a National Player of the Year candidate, who hit just .040 in a five-set loss to USC in Salt Lake City (although she posted 14 kills and 16 digs). She should boast even better numbers this time around.
The Trojans have the advantage for second-place right now but have a very difficult finish to the season. That said, it gives them a great opportunity to win some matches and boost their RPI and resume as they look to be on the borderline of hosting in the first two rounds. USC posted 18 blocks in that five-set road win at Utah earlier this season, and had strong contributions from Niki Withers. Beyond her four blocks in the match, she led the way with 22 kills while hitting .300. They’ll look to get her going once again.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
(RV) Western Kentucky (27-2, 13-0) at North Texas (24-2, 11-1) – 7 pm ET
This is the regular season finale for Western Kentucky while North Texas will have one more, as huge ripple effects branch off the result of this match. For the Hilltoppers, a win would equal yet another regular season conference championship. For the Mean Green, a win would put them even in the loss column and a win in the finale against Middle Tennessee State away from a conference split at the top.
#17 Colorado (19-6, 9-5) at #22 UCLA (15-8, 8-6) – 11 pm ET
The Buffaloes have been one of the hottest teams in the country by winning seven of eight matches, including three over ranked competition. However, that one loss? In five sets at home to UCLA. The Bruins could use a big win too as they look to vault into a tie with a team in front of them in the Pac-12 standings. Both of these teams have their sights on hosting too, making this one even more intriguing.
BEST OF THE REST:
Temple (14-8, 10-4) at SMU (18-7, 12-2) – 8 pm ET
#8 BYU (23-2, 12-1) at Gonzaga (13-12, 8-5) – 9 pm ET
California (13-12, 4-10) at #9 Washington (20-6, 10-5) – 10 pm ET
(RV) Oregon State (17-9, 7-7) at Arizona (9-14, 3-11) – 10 pm ET
#19 San Diego (19-4, 12-1) at Portland (14-11, 5-8) – 10 pm ET