Another week and even more chaos at the top. That included one night where #3, #4 and #5 all lost. The results caused a bit of a shake up in the rankings while some new teams emerge in the top 10 and just in the poll overall. Things stay the same at the top though as BYU remains number one.
1. BYU COUGARS
- 8-0 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #1; Won vs/n #5 USC (3-0), vs/n Syracuse (3-0), at #22 Marquette (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. #25 Utah, at Weber State
- After making a large leap to number one, BYU solidified their top ranking among the chaos by sweeping a top five opponent and winning a difficult road match against Marquette. They look to be a secure top ranked team now.
2. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 5-1 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #2; Won vs. #9 Penn State (3-0), #4 Minnesota (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. #4 Texas, at #4 Texas
- Playing in the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge, Stanford won six of seven sets. Many of those were down to the wire, but it was against top 10 competition and gave the Cardinal their two biggest wins of the season to this point. They’ll have a chance to rack up a couple more top 10 victories this week in playing Texas twice for an Elite Eight rematch.
3. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 5-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Lost at #15 Baylor (1-3); Won at North Texas (3-0)
- Next Week: at #17 Marquette, vs/n Illinois State
- Wisconsin was one of many top-ranked teams to falter as they were the victim of an amazing individual and team performance from Baylor. Still, with so many others losing and being just a week removed from the Texas win, their resume keeps them in the top three.
4. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 5-1 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #6; Won vs. Texas State (3-0), vs. #16 Kentucky (3-1)
- Next Week: at #2 Stanford, vs. #2 Stanford
- The Longhorns made quick work of Texas State before coming back and slowly getting better against Kentucky in a match that they wound up hitting .400. This week will be huge to see where they’re at with a pair of matches against the Cardinal.
5. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 6-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #8; Won vs/at #14 Creighton (3-2), vs. #24 Iowa State (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Central Michigan, vs. New Mexico, vs. Missouri State
- Nebraska’s week didn’t appear to start great after falling behind 0-2 in sets to Creighton, but they battled back to take a 3-2 victory. Then, they swept and dominated Iowa State. That’s enough for the young Huskers to move into the top five.
6. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
- 8-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #10; Won vs/n Bowling Green (3-0), at Cleveland State (3-0), vs/n UC Irvine (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. (RV) Northern Iowa, vs. Lipscomb, vs. #14 Creighton
- With all the chaos, Illinois rises up the rankings just outside of the top five. That will be tested this week as they can add three more solid victories to a resume that already features wins at Washington, at Colorado State and versus Colorado.
7. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 6-1 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #9; Lost at #2 Stanford (0-3); Won vs/n #18 Oregon (3-0)
- Next Week: at Howard, vs/n Buffalo, at American
- Penn State did lose to Stanford in straight sets, but they were incredibly close in all three games and showed some positives. Then, they took those positives and swept Oregon, who was fresh off of a win over Minnesota. They’ll be even more tested come Big Ten play in a few weeks.
8. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 5-2 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #4; Lost vs/n #18 Oregon (1-3), at #2 Stanford (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. Green Bay, vs. #23 Kansas State
- The Golden Gophers didn’t have the best week playing in the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge, but still showed some bright spots from some individuals. They’ll look to regroup this week with a tough K-State team in what they’ll hope is their first top 25 victory before entering Big Ten play.
9. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
- 9-0 (0-0, ACC)
- Last Week: #13; Won vs. Kennesaw State (3-2), vs. Dayton (3-1), vs. #12 Washington (3-0)
- Next Week: vs/n College of Charleston, at Coastal Carolina
- The Panthers earned their second top 25 victory and have won six of the seven sets in those matches. They’re also still unbeaten after surviving Kennesaw State and will likely be the favorite in every match the rest of the regular season.
10. USC TROJANS
- 6-3 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #5; Lost vs/n #1 BYU (0-3), at #22 Marquette (2-3); Won vs/n Syracuse (3-2)
- Next Week: vs/n Louisiana, at #24 San Diego
- If you diagnose each loss, there isn’t anything bad about losing to number one or falling in five on the road to a ranked team. But when it gives the Trojans their third loss in their last five matches and they also were forced to five with Syracuse, some questions are now arising. Still, the resume for the win column with the Trojans is impressive enough to stay in the top 10.
11. FLORIDA GATORS
- 5-3 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #7; Won vs/n CSUN (3-0), vs/n Southern Illinois (3-1); Lost at Northern Arizona (2-3)
- Next Week: at Florida State, vs. Jacksonville, vs. FIU, vs. Army
- Florida lost a head-scratcher to NAU, which maybe can be explained from the altitude of the stadium – 7,000 feet above sea level – and the Gators just having an off day. Still, it drops them down as they’ve now gone 4-3 since that opening win at Nebraska.
12. BAYLOR BEARS
- 6-3 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #15; Win vs. #3 Wisconsin (3-1), vs. Rice (3-1); Lost vs. UTRGV (2-3)
- Next Week: at UTSA, vs. Virginia Tech
- Baylor had quite the odd week. A huge win over #3 Wisconsin led by Yossiana Pressley followed by a let-down in a five-set loss to UTRGV. The win over the Badgers has a bit more weight because it shows that this team can play with the best – and also so many teams also lost – but they are penalized for the loss by not cracking the top 10.
13. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 5-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Won vs. Dayton (3-2), Kennesaw State (3-1); Lost at #13 Pittsburgh (0-3)
- Next Week: at Boise State, vs/n CSUN, vs/n Sacramento State
- Washington couldn’t handle Pittsburgh on the road but was able to come away with two other victories for the week. They’ll have a tough test against Boise State on the road this week before Pac-12 action.
14. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 6-3 (0-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #14; Lost vs/n #8 Nebraska (2-3); Won vs. #24 Iowa State (3-1), (RV) Wichita State (3-1)
- Next Week: vs/n Lipscomb, vs/n (RV) Northern Iowa, at #6 Illinois
- The Bluejays were so close to downing Nebraska, but just couldn’t muster up enough late. They did bounce back with a win over Iowa State and another against Wichita State though and have a tough schedule ahead this week.
15. UCLA BRUINS
- 4-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at (RV) Cal Poly (1-3), (1-3)
- Next Week: at LBSU
- UCLA couldn’t earn a road victory against a really good Cal Poly team in a second round rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament. Still, their win over Baylor that could have gone either way, looks a lot better now. They’ll have a short week before getting into Pac-12 play.
16. OREGON DUCKS
- 5-3 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #18; Won vs/n #4 Minnesota (3-1); Lost vs/n #9 Penn State (0-3)
- Next Week: at Hawaii, at Hawaii
- The Ducks showed for the first time this season that they could take down a top-notch opponent. They did get swept by Penn State but it was an impressive week with the win over Minnesota led by Ronika Stone.
17. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
- 7-2 (0-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #22; Won vs. #5 USC (3-2), Syracuse (3-1); Lost vs. #1 BYU (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. #3 Wisconsin, vs. Tulsa, vs. Illinois State
- Marquette got a huge win in five sets at home against USC to rise up the rankings and even looked strong in a loss to BYU. They’ve got another statement they’ll be looking to make against Wisconsin and then after this week will embark on challenging Creighton in the Big East.
18. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
- 7-0 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #17; Win vs. McNeese State (3-0), Illinois State (3-1), Stony Brook (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Northern Illinois, at Western Kentucky, vs. ETSU
- The Cougars didn’t have much of a test, but are still unbeaten and beat UNI twice a week prior. Playing at Western Kentucky and against a sneaky good ETSU team, the Cougars will have to avoid sleeping on their opponents this week before Pac-12 play.
19. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 7-1 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: RV; Won vs. #11 UCLA (3-1), (3-1)
- Next Week: vs/n Mississippi State, vs/n Wichita State, at North Texas
- Two wins over UCLA put Cal Poly in a good position to keep winning and have a shot at hosting in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. They’ll have some challenges this week, but the Van Windens keep rolling.
20. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 9-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #19; Win vs. Valparaiso (3-0), Oakland (3-0), LSU (3-0), (RV) Colorado State (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Notre Dame, at Notre Dame
- The Wolverines have won all 27 sets they’ve played in. That’s super impressive. That said, they’ve still yet to play a top 25 opponent, so get jumped in terms of resume wins. Once Big Ten play comes though, they’ll have more than enough opportunities to jump the rankings.
21. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 8-0 (0-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #20; Win vs. Xavier (3-1), Lipscomb (3-0), Louisville (3-2)
- Next Week: vs/n Southern Miss, at (RV) Alabama, vs. South Alabama
- Purdue has yet to be fully tested but they’ve yet to slip up – although things were close in their match against Louisville. A rising Alabama team will be a good test on the road, but we will get a good read on the Boilermakers once Big Ten play rolls around.
22. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 4-4 (0-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #6 Texas (1-3); Won at Texas State (3-1)
- Next Week: at Louisville, vs. Chattanooga
- The Wildcats struggled again defensively, allowing Texas to hit .400. They weren’t perfect but rebounded with a win over Texas State. They’ve been close, but still don’t have a top 25 victory. If they can get their talent to mix together though, they’ll still be a threat to win the SEC.
23. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
- 8-1 (0-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: RV; Won vs. Missouri State (3-0), North Texas (3-0), (RV) Oregon State (3-1), Omaha (3-0)
- Next Week: at UMKC, vs/n Green Bay, at #8 Minnesota
- The Wildcats appear in the rankings for the first time after winning four matches and beating a solid Oregon State bunch. They also have two early season wins at Hawaii from week one.
24. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 2-4 (0-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #21; Won vs. Tennessee (3-0); Lost vs. Tennessee (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. #10 USC, vs. Louisiana, vs. (RV) Oregon State
- Tennessee is an underrated team from the SEC who downed Michigan State, so splitting isn’t the worst thing. Still, San Diego is off to a losing record with more tough matches ahead. It should prepare them for the WCC though where BYU looks to be at the top and Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine could challenge for number two.
25. UTAH UTES
- 7-2 (0-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #23; Lost at Villanova (2-3); Won vs/n Temple (3-2), vs/n High Point (3-1)
- Next Week: at #1 BYU, vs. Utah Valley
- The Utes have two odd losses coming to Villanova and St. Mary’s, but they’re still 7-2 and had a great week two with sweeps all around including over Iowa State. They hang on to a top 25 spot for now.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Iowa State* (6-3) (#24)
Northern Iowa* (5-4) (#25)
Oregon State (6-2)
Colorado State (6-3)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)