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||TheW.tv|
|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||TheW.tv|
|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||TheW.tv|
|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||BaylorBears.com|
|8:30 p.m.||Dayton||Northern Illinois|
|9 p.m.||Pittsburgh||Washington||Pac 12 Networks|
|9:30 p.m.||UT Rio Grande Valley||BYU||TheW.tv|
|10:45 p.m.||San Diego||UCLA||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|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||TheW.tv|
|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|
|3:30 p.m.||Texas A&M Corpus Christi||SMU|
|4 p.m.||Austin Peay||Missouri||Clarksville, Tenn.|
|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.||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|
|Aug. 28||7 p.m.||Washington State||Howard|
|Aug. 29||9 p.m.||Northern Colorado||Colorado State||MW Network|