After a very competitive start to the 2018 season, the conference portion of the regular season is upon us! Starting this Wednesday, fans will get to see which teams carry their momentum from non-conference into conference play and if the 7 remaining undefeated programs will survive against their biggest rivals.
Live streaming and stat links are available here, on the VolleyMob TV schedule.
Penn State (No. 7 VolleyMob/No. 4 AVCA) at Minnesota (No. 8 VolleyMob/No. 7 AVCA)
Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. ET
Maturi Pavilion | Minneapolis, Minn.
- Big Ten volleyball fans won’t have to wait long to see a premier matchup as 7th-ranked Penn State heads to 8th-ranked Minnesota on Wednesday for its conference opener.
- In the preseason, VolleyMob tabbed Minnesota preseason favorite and predicted the Nittany Lions to finish 4th.
- The Golden Gophers are 6-2 so far this season, but have only lost to nationally-ranked Oregon (3-1) and Stanford (3-1).
- The Nittany Lions, defending Big Ten champions, have compiled a 9-1 non-conference mark and bring a 4-match win streak into the midweek matchup. Penn State’s lone loss came at Stanford in straight sets.
- Whoever wins this matchup will likely gain a lot of momentum, which will be helpful in a grueling Big Ten Conference slate.
USC (No. 10 VolleyMob/No. 14 AVCA) at UCLA (No. 15 VolleyMob/No. 17 AVCA)
Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 11 p.m. ET
Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
- Wednesday also touts a pretty big Pac-12 battle. 10th-ranked USC and 15th-ranked UCLA will go at it for bragging rights in Los Angeles and a leg up in conference standings.
- USC was chosen to finish runner-up in VolleyMob’s preseason Pac-12 preview to defending conference champion Stanford, while UCLA followed closely behind in 4th.
- The Trojans are off to an 8-3 start to the season and are on a 3-match win streak. Two of their 3 losses on the season came to ranked foes, including BYU and Marquette.
- The Bruins went 5-2 in the non-conference portion of their season, tallying ranked wins against Baylor and San Diego, before dropping back-to-back matches to Cal Poly in 4 sets. UCLA halted its skid with a win in 4 sets over Long Beach State.
Marquette (No. 17 VolleyMob/No. 21 AVCA) at Creighton (No. 13 VolleyMob/No. 10 AVCA)
Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. ET
D.J. Skol Arena | Omaha, Neb.
- This Sunday matchup will have Big East title implications. Volleyball fans will get to see if 17th-ranked Marquette has what it takes to get over the hump against 13th-ranked Creighton, which has won each of the last 8 Big East crowns (4 regular season, 4 tournament).
- Marquette returns all 6 starters plus the libero from last season, while Creighton has 4 returning starters and its libero back this year. The race is so close between these two that VolleyMob couldn’t give either team the edge in its Big East preview.
- The Golden Eagles are 9-3 on the season and are on a 2-match win streak. Marquette has only taken losses from nationally-ranked Baylor and BYU.
- The Bluejays are 8-4 overall with losses only coming to ranked opponents (UNI, USC, Nebraska and Illinois).
Illinois (No. 4 VolleyMob/No. 8 AVCA) at Purdue (No. 20 VolleyMob/No. 16 AVCA)
Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. ET
Holloway Gymnasium | West Lafayette, Ind.
- We’ll refer to this as the battle of the unbeatens. There are only 7 perfect programs left this year, two of which are 4th-ranked Illinois and 20th-ranked Purdue.
- Illinois, which was chosen to finish 4th in the Big Ten by VolleyMob, is off to an 11-0 start and has 4 ranked wins under its belt.
- Purdue, which was selected to finish 7th in the conference standings by VolleyMob, is 11-0 with one ranked win over Alabama.
Michigan (No. 19 VolleyMob/No. 18 AVCA) at Nebraska (No. 5 VolleyMob/No. 3 AVCA)
Friday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET
Devaney Center | Lincoln, Neb.
- 19th-ranked Michigan is off to an impressive start at 11-0, but will see where it measures up against its first nationally ranked opponent on Friday. And it’s a big one in 5th-ranked Nebraska on the road in one of the most difficult environments to play in.
- The defending national champion Huskers have lost just one match so far this season, falling to last year’s runner-up Florida in their season-opener. From there, Nebraska has rallied for an 8-match win streak, knocking off the likes of Oregon, Creighton and Iowa State among others.
- VolleyMob projected Nebraska to finish 2nd in its Big Ten season preview and Michigan to finish 6th.