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.
We get into the thick of things in week seven as another Wednesday headlined by ranked teams and conference matches takes place on hump day. In total, 20 matches occur on the day nine ranked teams and four more on the cusp in action. Of those 13 teams, eight appear in four matches, led 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:
#14 Michigan State (11-2, 4-0) at #5 Nebraska (11-3, 4-0) – 8 pm ET
So far the two top teams in the Big Ten have been Michigan State and Nebraska, the only schools yet to lose in Big Ten play. Now, the pair meets in Lincoln, Nebraska to determine which school sits atop the Big Ten standings.
The visiting team, Michigan State, has won their last nine sets and have conference wins already at Wisconsin and at Minnesota. With a veteran, senior-laden bunch, they won’t be stunned by the Lincoln crowd. They’ve got a well-balanced attack that won’t rely on one player’s performance either as four players have totaled over 100 kills. Alyssa Garvelink is one of those, while she also brings it on defense averaging 1.64 blocks per set.
Nebraska will go for their third straight ranked win at home. They took down Minnesota and Wisconsin last week after upending Penn State in University Park. They also feature a balanced offense as five players have over 100 kills. With Briana Holman hitting .331 in the middle and totaling over a block per set, that matchup with Garvelink should be key to the result.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
#9 Kansas (14-2, 3-0) at West Virginia (12-4, 1-2) – 6 pm ET
There’s plenty about this match that should put Kansas on high-alert. For one, West Virginia has established themselves as a possible top-five Big 12 team and fell just short of upsetting Texas in five sets a few weeks ago. Beyond that, Kansas needed five sets to win in Morgantown last year as West Virginia goes for a signature victory while Kansas looks to avoid the trap game with Texas next week.
#23 Baylor (13-4, 3-1) at #21 Iowa State (11-2, 2-1) – 7:30 pm ET
Iowa State’s lone conference loss came to Kansas while Baylor’s was to Texas. While both of these teams can still be a dark horse threat to the Big 12 title race, at the very least this match should give an advantage to which team poses that largest threat. It’s also a big opportunity to move up in the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings in a ranked pairing.
#6 Minnesota (13-2, 2-2) at #10 Wisconsin (11-2, 2-2) – 8 pm ET
It’s pretty incredible that one of these teams will be 2-3 in Big Ten play after this match, but that’s kind of the way things go in the Big Ten. Besides looking to protect home court, Wisconsin might need the victory more as they follow this one up with a road match at Michigan State and then another bout with Nebraska. A win for Minnesota though on the road could really be a springboard toward turning things around and challenging for the Big Ten title.
BEST OF THE REST:
(RV) Miami (FL) (9-1, 3-1) at (RV) Florida State (8-4, 2-2) – 6:30 pm ET
Texas A&M (4-6, 1-2) at #1 Florida (11-0, 3-0) – 7 pm ET
(RV) Michigan (12-4, 2-2) at Iowa (12-5, 1-3) – 8 pm ET
#18 UCLA (9-4, 2-2) at Arizona (7-6, 1-3) – 10 pm ET