Previewing This Week in The Top 25

  0 Wendy Mayer | August 22nd, 2017 | ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12, SEC

Every week throughout the 2017 season, VolleyMob will give you a glimpse at the schedule for the Top 25 teams and others receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll. We also will offer an inside look at key matchups between Top 25 foes.

Opening weekend offers 91 matches featuring the Top 25 teams or the 13 other vote getters. Of those matches, 11 are head-to-head meetings between ranked foes with two more pitting Top 25 teams against vote getters. Six ranked squads will be tested more than once.

No. 1 Texas and No. 5 Nebraska will put their rankings to the test against No. 12 Florida on the road and also in neutral site meetings with No. 18 Oregon. No. 11 North Carolina will battle No. 4 Minnesota and No. 7 Wisconsin. No. 20 Hawaii plays two ranked foes in No. 22 San Diego and No. 13 UCLA. The Torreros and Bruins also will face off.


Top 25 Head to Head


5 p.m. – #18 Oregon vs. #5 Nebraska

The Ducks (21-10, 13-7 Pac-12), which are under first year head coach Matt Ulmer, return 12 letterwinners from last season’s NCAA Tournament team, which placed fourth in the Pac-12. Senior right side hitter Taylor Agost, junior outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide and sophomore middle blocker Ronika Stone were Preseason All-Pac-12 honorees as Oregon was picked to finish third in the league.

No. 5 Nebraska went 31-3 in 2016, including a march to the Final Four. The team must replace a trio of All-Americans in Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and libero Justine Wong-Orantes. However, second team All-American setter Kelly Hunter will be back as the team’s floor general and Mikaela Foecke and Briana Holman will be on the receiving end of Hunter’s sets after honorable mention All-America seasons a year ago. Both Hunter and Foecke were named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team, while the Huskers were picked to finish second by the league’s coaches. Hunter is set to miss one of the Huskers’ weekend matches due to injury.


5:30 p.m – #4 Minnesota vs. #11 North Carolina

Minnesota (29-5) made its second straight NCAA Final Four appearance in 2016, but must rebuild following the graduation of 2016 AVCA Player of the Year Sarah Wilhite as well as All-Americans Paige Tapp and Hannah Tapp. First Team All-American and Big Ten Setter of the Year Samantha Seliger-Swenson is back, but she will have to utilize new weapons after losing three of her top four hitters. Two familiar options will be Honorable Mention All-Americans Alexis Hart and Molly Lohman.

The Tar Heels return 11 members of the 29-4 team, which won the ACC title en route to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2016. That group includes Second Team All-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Player of the Year Taylor Leath as well as honorable mention All-American and ACC Freshman of the Year Julia Scoles. Middle blocker/opposite Taylor Fricano also was named to this year’s Preseason All-ACC listing as UNC was picked to win the ACC title for the third straight year.


7 p.m. – #1 Texas at #12 Florida

National runnerup Texas was given the No. 1 ranking in the AVCA Preseason Poll despite falling to Stanford in the 2016 finale. The Longhorns return first team All-American Ebony Nwanebu and fellow seniors Cat McCoy and Chiaka Ogbogu. Ogbogu is back on the court this season after sitting out in 2016 due to athletic reasons. In addition, the Longhorns bring in the Gatorade National Player of the Year  in Lexi Sun, who was named the top-ranked recruit in the country.

Florida is looking to rebound after an early NCAA Tournament dismissal in 2016, falling to instate foe Florida State in the second round. The Gators, which went 27-4 and shared the SEC title with Missouri in 2016, ranked 15th in the final AVCA poll of the year. The roster features nine upperclassmen, including six seniors. Right side Alex Holsten and middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan will lead the way after second and third team All-America seasons respectively a year ago. The Gators were picked to win the SEC title behind the two preseason all-conference honorees.


8 p.m. – #15 Florida State vs. Baylor (RV)

10:45 p.m. – #22 San Diego vs. #13 UCLA

11 p.m. – #16 Michigan vs. USC (RV)



5 p.m. – #5 Nebraska at #12 Florida

7:30 p.m. #18 Oregon vs. #1 Texas


8 p.m. – #11 North Carolina vs. #7 Wisconsin

ACC favorites North Carolina will await the homestanding Badgers on Day 2 of the season. Wisconsin went 28-5 in 2016, including a second place finish in Big Ten play, before going on to the NCAA Elite Eight. The UW roster features just four upperclassmen: seniors Lauryn Gillis and Kelli Bates, captain Amber MacDonald and Tionna Williams. The Badgers have a tall order in replacing standout setter Lauren Carlini, who ran the show for four years. The team also will likely be without the services of outside hitter Molly Haggerty, who is a redshirt candidate as she recovers from a herniated disk in her lower back. This matchup will be the first major test for freshman setter Sydney Hilley, the third-ranked recruit in the country.


9:30 p.m. – #21 Ohio State at #10 BYU

The Buckeyes reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2017 and wound up with a 22-13 record, including a 10-10 mark in the ever rigorous Big Ten Conference. OSU welcomes four freshmen and two transfers to the program, but must replace All-American middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, who graduated. Junior setter/hitter Taylor Hughes will headline the roster after earning honorable mention AVCA All-America, All-Mideast Region and All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades a year ago.

The Cougars (29-4) won their third-straight West Coast Conference title and made their fifth straight Sweet 16 apperance in 2016. Despite losing All-American middle Amy Boswell and all-conference middle Whitney Young Howard, BYU returns the WCC Freshman of the Year in outside McKenna Miller as well as setter Lyndie Haddock and All-WCC freshman team libero Mary Lake.


10 p.m. – #9 Creighton at #3 Washington

Creighton posted a 29-7 mark in 2016 including the Big East championship and their first ever Elite Eight berth. The team returns Big East Player of the Year and third team All-American setter Lydia Dimke as well as honorable mention All-Americans in outside hitter Jaali Winters and outside/right side Taryn Kloth and adds three freshmen to the fold.

Washington also made the Elite Eight a year ago, finishing 29-5 including its second straight Pac-12 championship. The Huskies return 12 players, including All-Americans and All-Pac 12 selections Crissy Jones and Courtney Schwan and All-Pac-12 setter Bailey Tanner. UW also added Oklahoma transfer Marion Hazelwood in the offseason.



1 a.m. – #22 San Diego at #20 Hawai’i

11 p.m. – #13 UCLA at #20 Hawai’i


 Time (ET)  Visitor  Home  Neutral Site  Television/Stream
 Aug. 25 10 a.m. Oral Roberts Purdue
11 a.m. Arkansas State Kentucky
11 a.m. Cal Poly Dayton DeKalb, Ill.
11:30 a.m. Southern Illinois Western Kentucky Oxford, Ohio
Noon Ohio State UT Rio Grande Valley Provo, Utah
1 p.m. Cincinnati Utah Lexington, Ky.
1:30 p.m. Marshall Missouri Clarksville, Tenn.
1:30 p.m. Mississippi State SMU
2 p.m Saint Louis BYU
2 p.m. Albany Michigan Los Angeles, Calif.
2 p.m. USC Loyola Marymount
3 p.m. Stanford Long Beach State
3:30 p.m. Pacific Kansas State Corvallis, Ore.
4:30 p.m. Penn State Tennessee-Martin Morgantown, W.V.
5 p.m. Oregon Nebraska Gainesville, Fla. ESPN3
5 p.m. North Dakota State Boise State Tempe, Ariz.
5:30 p.m. Minnesota North Carolina Madison, Wis. BTN+
5:30 p.m. Kansas NC State ESPN3
6 p.m. Creighton St. Mary’s (Calif.) Seattle, Wash.
6:30 p.m. Missouri Middle Tennessee Clarksville, Tenn.
6:30 p.m. Western Kentucky Miami (Ohio)
7 p.m. Texas Florida SEC Network
7:30 p.m. Saint Louis Ohio State Provo, Utah
7:30 p.m. Cleveland State Purdue
7:30 p.m. Kent State Iowa State
7:30 p.m. Sam Houston State Texas A&M SEC Network +
8 p.m. Michigan State Furman Atlanta, Ga.
8 p.m. Duke Colorado State MW Network
8 p.m. Florida State Baylor
8 p.m. Rice SMU
8:30 p.m. Louisville Wisconsin
8:30 p.m. Dayton Northern Illinois
9 p.m. Pittsburgh Washington Pac 12 Networks
9 p.m. Utah Kentucky
9:30 p.m. UT Rio Grande Valley BYU
10:45 p.m. San Diego UCLA Honolulu, Hawaii
11 p.m. Michigan USC
Aug. 26 1 a.m. Marquette Hawai’i
9:30 a.m. Northern Arizona Western Kentucky Oxford, Ohio
10 a.m. Delaware Penn State Morgantown, W.V.
10 a.m. Northern Iowa Missouri Clarksville, Tenn.
10 a.m. Arizona East Tennessee State Nashville, Tenn.
10:30 a.m. Missouri State Kansas Raleigh, N.C.
1 p.m. Iowa Stanford Long Beach, Calif.
1 p.m. Pittsburgh Creighton Seattle, Wash.
1 p.m. Saint Louis UT Rio Grande Valley Provo, Utah
1 p.m. Michigan State Auburn Atlanta, Ga.
1 p.m. High Point Dayton DeKalb, Ill.
1 p.m. Nebraska-Omaha Iowa State
1 p.m. Idaho Kansas State Corvallis, Ore.
1 p.m. Weber State Boise State Tempe, Ariz.
1:30 p.m. Florida State Illinois State Waco, Texas
1:30 p.m. Wichita State Lipscomb Nashville, Tenn.
2 p.m. Texas State Texas A&M SEC Network+
3 p.m. Saint Mary’s (Calif.) Washington
3 p.m. Alabama Purdue
3:30 p.m. Texas A&M Corpus Christi SMU
4 p.m. Austin Peay Missouri Clarksville, Tenn.
4 p.m. Albany USC
5 p.m. Nebraska Florida SEC Network
5 p.m. Louisville Minnesota Madison, Wis. BTN+
5 p.m. Arkansas State Utah Lexington, Ky.
6 p.m. East Tennessee State Wichita State Nashville, Tenn.
6:30 p.m. UC Santa Barbara Florida State Waco, Texas
7 p.m. Stanford Wright State Long Beach, Calif.
7 p.m. Penn State West Virginia Morgantown, W.V.
7 p.m. Kansas NC State ESPN3
7 p.m. Pittsburgh St. Mary’s (Calif.) Seattle, Wash.
7:30 p.m. Oregon Texas Gainesville, Fla. Longhorn Network
7:30 p.m. Cincinnati Kentucky
7:30 p.m. Arizona Lipscomb
7:30 p.m. New Mexico Iowa State
7:30 p.m. VCU Texas A&M SEC Network+
8 p.m. Illinois State Baylor
8 p.m. North Carolina Wisconsin  BTN+
8 p.m. Michigan State Georgia Tech
8 p.m. Boise State Arizona State
9:30 p.m. Ohio State BYU BYUTV
10 p.m. Creighton Washington Pac 12 Networks
10 p.m. Michigan Loyola Marymount Los Angeles, Calif.
10 p.m. UCF Colorado State
10 p.m. Kansas State Oregon State
10:45 p.m. Marquette UCLA Honolulu, Hawaii
Aug. 27 1 a.m. San Diego Hawai’i
Noon Arizona Middle Tennessee Nashville, Tenn.
3 p.m. UC Santa Barbara Baylor
3:30 p.m. Belmont Wichita State
4 p.m. Washington State American
8:45 p.m. San Diego Marquette Honolulu, Hawaii
11 p.m. UCLA Hawai’i
Aug. 28 7 p.m. Washington State Howard
Aug. 29 9 p.m. Northern Colorado Colorado State MW Network



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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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