Big Four tournament features four top-10 teams
Big Four Tournament: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Stanford, No. 6 Texas, No. 8 Florida
Last weekend, top-ranked Penn State chalked up a trio of consecutive-set victories at the Penn State Invitational, defeating Dabrowa, a professional Polish team in an exhibition on Friday, then Syracuse and then-No. 19 Louisville the following evening. Junior setter Micha Hancock earned tourney MOP honors for her efforts, while senior Katie Slay and redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame joined her on the All-Tournament team.
They'll lead a strong field in Austin, Texas, at the Big Four Tournament. The Nittany Lions will face some of their toughest non-conference foes in the event, with a matchup against No. 6 Texas slated for 2 p.m. ET Saturday.
Second-ranked Stanford takes on eighth-ranked Florida in the second match of the day. At 4 p.m. Sunday, the Longhorns return to the court to host six-time national champion Stanford to close out the tournament. It will be the first time the Longhorns and Cardinal have met since 2010 and the first time in Austin since the 2006 NCAA regional final. Penn State and Florida face off at 11 a.m. ET Sunday.
This year, all four participants in the event are ranked within the top 10, marking the highest-ranking Big Four since 2010, when all four squads were also slotted in the top 10.
No. 3 Southern California
TCU and No. 3 Southern California will kick off the Marquette Challenge tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. ET.
Marquette opens its home schedule on Friday against No. 3 Southern California at 8 p.m. The Trojans are the highest ranked team to ever visit Marquette.
Southern California's freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the opening week of the season on Monday. Nwanebu, a first-year Trojan was honored by the conference alongside UCLA's Karsta Lowe who was chosen as the Offensive Player of the Week, and Utah's Erin Redd-Brandon who was named Defensive Player of the Week.
After the Marquette Challenge, the Trojans will then play a single match at Northern Illinois 2 p.m.
No. 4 Minnesota
The Golden Gophers open the 2013 home season this weekend when they host the Diet Coke Classic. Minnesota opens the home season on Friday against Ball State, followed by Western Illinois and Duke on Saturday.
Minnesota opened the 2013 season at the UAB/Samford Challenge last weekend. The Golden Gophers earned four consecutive 3-0 set wins against Jacksonville State, UAB, Georgia State and Samford. Minnesota hit .399 as a team, while Tori Dixon had 49 kills to average 4.08 kills per set. Daly Santana had 43 kills, while Ashley Wittman was at 39. Minnesota also established 22 aces and 204 kills last weekend.
No. 7 Michigan
The Wolverines open their home schedule this weekend as part of the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Wolverines and Michigan State will both host Oregon State and Oregon this weekend in the first year of the Challenge. On Friday, Michigan faces Oregon State. The Wolverines then host 2012 national finalist and No. 12-ranked Oregon on Saturday.
Michigan is coming off a 3-0 weekend at the Xavier Invitational, defeating Clemson, Xavier and Northern Kentucky in consecutive sets.
Wahine Volleyball Classic: No. 9 Hawaii, No. 10 UCLA
No. 9 Hawaii continues its homestand with the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic this weekend.
The Rainbow Wahine open the tournament on Friday, hosting New Mexico State then face Santa Clara on Saturday before playing the finale against UCLA on Monday.
The 'Bows served notice to the nation this past week when they upended top-ranked and defending NCAA national champion Texas in their season opener. It was the program's first win against a No. 1-ranked team since the 2000 squad beat UCLA at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Hawaii lost a five-set heartbreaker to San Diego in the finale on Sunday but won the title based on tournament tiebreaker rules.