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 schedule really starts to crank up on the day with 20 total matches in action throughout the women’s Division I volleyball landscape. Of those 20 matches, four feature a pair of ranked teams in action thanks to the Big Ten and Pac-12. However, it’s the Big 12 that takes the cake for the match of the day, with a top 10 meeting in Lawrence.
*Note: VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings is utilized for a team’s ranking
*The entire week’s schedule can be seen here.
THE BIG MATCH:
#6 Texas (12-2, 4-0) at #8 Kansas (16-2, 5-0) – 9 pm ET
Dating back to 2015, these two teams have dominated the Big 12 – Kansas going 34-3 while Texas holds a 33-3 mark in Big 12 play. Texas won the conference in 2015, while Kansas took it last year as beyond the conference crown, this one has huge implications on potential seeding and hosting in the NCAA Tournament come December.
The Jayhawks host this one where they look to down Texas for a second straight time. In fact, in 2015 the difference in the conference was Texas winning in five sets in Lawrence, where as last year it was flipped but in Kansas’ favor. Kelsie Payne, who currently leads Kansas with 294 kills (4.20 per set) and is hitting .342, will look for an encore of her 21 kill, eight dig, six block performance last year vs. her hometown team. Don’t forget about the other pin player Madison Rigdon too – currently second on the team in kills (249, 3.56 per set) after she averaged 18 kills, 10 digs in two matches with Texas last season.
Texas has only fallen twice this season – both to top 10 opponents. Beyond that, they’ve been rolling as they look to enact revenge on Kansas. Although Texas lost the 2016 match in Lawrence, it wasn’t due to Micaya White, who notched 25 kills while hitting .352 to go with seven digs. She is currently second on the team this year in kills (157) and kills per set (3.41), as Texas installs a new player to the mix in freshman Lexi Sun – who is the team leader in those aforementioned categories. Sun hasn’t been bothered by the big stage before, but this one is a little different for any freshman.
OTHER NOTABLE MATCHES:
#19 Purdue (15-2, 5-1) at #5 Minnesota (15-2, 4-2) – 7 pm ET
The Golden Gophers finally had a 2-0 week after starting 2-2 in Big Ten play, as now they look to keep pace toward the top of the standings. Purdue comes in on the road looking to prove they belong in that conversation as well after a strong start against mostly the lower-half of the conference. Their schedule really picks up starting with this one too, as they could really make a statement over the next few weeks.
#4 Nebraska (13-3, 6-0) at #14 Wisconsin (11-4, 2-4) – 9 pm ET
Nebraska will look to stay perfect in Big Ten play as they’ve had a remarkable start to the conference slate after losing three matches before hand with injuries throughout the roster. While they are trending up, Wisconsin has hit a bit of a rut after winning all but one set in the non-conference slate. With such a young team, the Big Ten can be quite difficult, but now that youth is back in Madison against a team they are familiar with after a five-set loss two weeks ago.
#15 Oregon (10-4, 3-3) at #13 Washington (14-3, 4-2) – 10 pm ET
Two top-15 Pacific Northwest foes meet in Seattle as they look to avoiding falling further behind Stanford at the top of the Pac-12 standings. Beyond that, this one could have implications on seeding for the NCAA Tournament. Washington setter Bailey Tanner didn’t play in the last two matches for the Huskies; something to keep an eye on as it makes Washington a more dynamic team.
BEST OF THE REST:
Northern Kentucky (8-7, 4-2) at Cleveland State (10-7, 3-3) – 6 pm ET
Tennessee (8-7, 1-5) at Georgia (12-7, 2-4) – 7 pm ET
Kansas State (9-9, 2-3) at #22 Iowa State (11-3, 2-2) – 7:30 pm ET
Texas A&M (5-7, 2-3) at #9 Kentucky (14-2, 5-0) – 8 pm ET