Women's volleyball rankings: Stanford takes No. 1 ranking after Texas falls in season-opener
It only took one week for there to be a change atop the American Volleyball Coaches Assocation Coaches poll, with Stanford claiming the No. 1 spot for Week 1 from Texas. The Longhorns were ranked preseason No. 1 but fell in their season-opener in four sets to Florida, who climbed to No. 3 from No. 12 with the monumental win. No team made a bigger jump in the poll this week than the Gators.
RELATED: Week 1 AVCA Coaches Poll
Texas was one of three NCAA Division I teams ranked No. 1 to fall last weekend, and one of two to lose to Florida (the Stanford women's soccer team also lost in Gainesville, Fla.). With the return of middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, a former first team AVCA All-American, Texas had its eyes set on the national championship this season but the Longhorns stumbled out of the gate. However, they bounced back with a win against Oregon the next day. The Ducks are ranked No. 14 in the latest poll after knocking off Nebraska, now No. 12, in the VERT Challenge. The Cornhuskers fared the worst this weekend of the four teams in the challenge. They lost 3-1 to Oregon, then 3-2 to Florida.
Stanford isn't a unanimous No. 1 with No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Texas also receiving at least one vote apiece for the top spot, but the Cardinal are viewed as the team to beat nationally and for good reason. Stanford started its season 3-0 with a trio of three-set wins, including two matches within a span of six hours on Saturday. The Cardinal defeated Long Beach State, Iowa and Wright State over the weekend. Sophomore setter Jenna Gray had a .349 attack percentage, 31 assists, four kills and two service aces in the team's final match of the weekend, propelling the Stanford to an undefeated start.
The Cardinal have a huge matchup looming this Friday against No. 5 Penn State, which is also off to a 3-0 start after wins against Tennessee-Martin, Delaware and West Virginia. Stanford and Penn State will travel to College Station, Tex., this weekend for the Texas A&M Tournament.
No. 7 Creighton, No. 8 Washington – The Huskies received two first-place votes in the preseason poll – the third-most of any team in the country – but they fell to No. 8 after a four-set loss to Creighton, which is ranked one spot ahead of Washington at No. 7. It is the highest ranking in program history for the Bluejays. Creighton's win broke Washington's 81-match regular-season non-conference winning streak. Both Creighton and Washington recorded three-set wins against Pittsburgh and Saint Mary's over the weekend.
Here's what Kirsten Bernthal Booth had to say after tonight's win at #3 Washington. pic.twitter.com/KqWekPFdQr— Creighton Volleyball (@CreightonVB) August 27, 2017
No. 16 North Carolina – The Tar Heels had one of the toughest opening slates in the country, facing Minnesota and Wisconsin on consecutive days. They were swept in both matches, despite changing their offensive formation for the second match to a 6-2 with freshman Holly Carlton and junior Kendra Koetter. While No. 2 Minnesota and No. 6 Wisconsin both moved up in the polls, North Carolina dropped to No. 16. The team is back in action this weekend with matches against Auburn and Florida in the ACC/SEC Puerto Rico Clasico.
No. 18 USC – Florida was the biggest riser in the polls this week with a nine-spot improvement, but USC was close behind, jumping eight spots from the first team in the "Others receiving votes" category in the preseason poll to No. 18 in Week 1. The Trojans went 3-0 during opening weekend with four-set wins against Loyola Marymount, Michigan and Albany. Led by outside hitter Khalia Lanier's 13 kills and nine digs, they won on the road against Lions on the road on Friday morning, before traveling across town for a nightcap victory against the No. 16-ranked Wolverines. Southern California then claimed the USC/LMU Tournament title with a win on Saturday – the program's longest winning streak since last October.