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.
The weekend starts to inch closer as we’ve got a nice appetizer on hand for Thursday with 20 teams ranked or ‘on the cusp’ in the latest VolleyMob Top 25 in action on the day. The highlights seem to come especially from the Pac-12 as the conference has three matches that feature six of those 20 schools, led off by our match of the day.
*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:
#3 Stanford (11-2, 4-0) at #15 Oregon (9-3, 2-2)
A pair of top 15 teams square off in Eugene, Oregon with strong implications on top of the Pac-12 standings.
Stanford is one of two remaining unbeaten squads in Pac-12 play as they will look to keep pace at the top. It won’t be easy though as in their only other Pac-12 road match they needed five sets to defeat Colorado. Last year in the only meeting between the teams (in Palo Alto), Kathryn Plummer notched 10 kills in three sets. So far, she is leading the Cardinal with 208 kills as no other player has more than 80.
Oregon is off to an up-and-down start in conference play with wins over Oregon State and Utah but losses at UCLA and at Colorado. Still the Ducks pose a threat as a Pac-12 dark horse, but if they want to prove that role they could use a win like this one. Ronika Stone, who is hitting .410 this season, dominated in last year’s match with Stanford to the tune of 14 kills while hitting .524. However, Oregon will need more help around her this time in Eugene.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
Pittsburgh (11-4, 4-0) at (RV) Florida State (9-4, 3-2) – 6:30 pm ET
The ACC continues to be a rotating wheel of who will emerge as the next top contender after it started with North Carolina, moved to Florida State and switched to a combination of schools. Now, Pittsburgh might be the top dog in the conference – the 4-0 ACC record certainly says so. The Seminoles aren’t done fighting for the conference crown however, which should make this match extremely important toward whatever happens to end the ACC season.
#19 Purdue (13-2, 3-1) at (RV) Illinois (12-3, 3-1) – 8 pm ET
Two teams off to 3-1 starts in Big Ten play square off as they look to keep just a match behind Nebraska at the top of the standings. Beyond that, it’s another opportunity for a resume building win as these are the types of matches that separate teams in the rugged Big Ten.
#20 Colorado (12-3, 2-2) at (RV) Washington State (12-4, 1-3) – 9 pm ET
The combined Pac-12 records for these two teams is 3-5, yet both are seen as potential top 25 teams because the conference is so difficult. Things continue as Colorado looks to build off its win against Oregon from last week while Washington State is looking to bounce back after falling in four sets at UCLA and at USC.
#17 Utah (12-3, 3-1) at #8 Washington (13-2, 3-1) – 11 pm ET
Both of these schools suffered their first Pac-12 loss last week as Utah fell to Oregon in five sets while Washington dropped one on the road to USC. The Huskies will now look to bounce back as they try to keep pace with Stanford and USC at the top while Utah tries to prove they belong in that conversation as well.
BEST OF THE REST:
Providence (13-6, 2-2) at (RV) Marquette (12-5, 6-0) – 6 pm ET
#2 Penn State (13-1, 3-1) at Ohio State (9-6, 2-2) – 7 pm ET
Alabama (12-5, 1-3) at #11 Kentucky (12-2, 3-0) – 7 pm ET
#12 USC (12-3, 4-0) at Arizona (7-7, 1-4) – 9 pm ET
#18 UCLA (10-4, 3-2) at Arizona State (10-6, 0-4) – 11 pm ET