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.
Week five continues as we full submerge ourselves in conference play. It’s a Wednesday, so with that conference action starting, get used to seeing the Big 12 and Big Ten go at it. The Pac-12 joins in on the fun as well and 11 teams either ranked or ‘on the cusp’ in the latest VolleyMob Top 25 continue their season with a match today.
*Note: VolleyMob’s Top 25 is utilized for a team’s ranking
*The entire week’s schedule can be seen here.
THE BIG MATCH:
#18 USC (8-3) at #15 UCLA (7-2) – 11 pm ET (ESPNU/UCLA Radio/Live Stats)
Two top-20 teams meet up for more than a high-level win and a strong start to Pac-12 play as the Battle for Los Angeles presents USC and UCLA with a chance for bragging rights over their rival.
Last year UCLA won all of those bragging rights by claiming both matches with USC, including in five sets at home, like this one is. Then junior and current senior outside hitter Reily Buechler racked up 20 kills and 12 digs for the match and has seen her level of play rise even higher this season.
Speaking of that five-setter last year, USC’s Khalia Lanier starred for the Trojans as she has thus far in 2017. Lanier notched 26 kills and 10 digs in that match and will look to continue her success as USC has been able to sleigh some volleyball giants already in taking down Michigan and Creighton.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
Northwestern (10-2) at #12 Purdue (10-1) – 7 pm ET (BTN2Go/Purdue Radio/Game Tracker)
Purdue only stumbled once in the non-conference portion of the schedule and rose all the way to #12 in the rankings this week as they begin Big Ten play. This should be the real test though, as Purdue had a phenomenal non-conference in 2016 as well, but went just 8-12 in the Big Ten. An upstart Northwestern side will be far from an easy win as they look to steal one on the road.
#7 Washington (10-1) at RV Washington State (11-1) – 9 pm ET (Pac-12 Network/Live Stats)
Two rivals begin Pac-12 play with a match that not only has Top 25 implications but could also establish the Cougars as a dark horse to the conference title. Washington State’s big attention grabbing win last year actually came against Washington in Seattle, although they lost later in the year in Pullman. For Washington, they’ve won eight straight as now they look to start their campaign to win a third straight Pac-12 Championship.
Cal (9-2) at #5 Stanford (7-2) – 11 pm ET (Pac-12 Network)
Yet another Pac-12 opener and yet another Pac-12 rivalry as Stanford hosts Cal in Palo Alto. The Golden Bears had a rough year in 2016, but look to be more competitive in the Pac-12 this season after posting a 9-2 non-conference record. Stanford meanwhile will look to take care of business as the defending National Champions go for the Pac-12 title in 2017.
BEST OF THE REST:
TCU (8-3) at West Virginia (11-2) – 6 pm ET (WVU Video/Live Stats)
Texas Tech (11-2) at #23 Baylor (10-3) – 7 pm ET (Fox Southwest/Baylor Video/Game Tracker)
RV Marquette (6-5) at Butler (10-2) – 7 pm ET (Facebook Live/Live Stats)
RV Illinois (9-2) at Indiana (11-1) – 7 pm ET (BTN2Go/Illinois Radio)
RV Maryland (11-1) at Ohio State (7-4) – 7 pm ET (BTN2Go/Game Tracker)
#11 Kentucky (9-2) at Missouri (7-6) – 8 pm ET (SEC Network/Live Stats)