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Pat Ralph | Excelle Sports | August 30, 2017

Six NCAA volleyball matches to watch this weekend

  No. 1 Stanford takes on No. 5 Penn State at the Texas A&M Tournament this weekend.

The opening weekend of the college volleyball season did not disappoint, as it featured some of the best teams in the country going head-to-head to kick off the season. Fortunately for volleyball fans, the action won’t let up over the long holiday weekend. There will be hundreds of matchups, but we boil it down and give you six matchups you should check out over Labor Day weekend.

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Friday, September 1st

No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 1 Stanford: 
What better way to start the holiday weekend than with a top five matchup between two of the best teams in country. That’s what will happen when the Cardinal and Nittany Lions square off in College Station, Texas this Friday. Both teams enter the match at 3-0 after strong opening weekends on the road. Additionally, neither has lost a set yet this season. Stanford, the new No. 1 team in the country, scored a trio of 3-0 wins over Iowa, Long Beach State, and Wright State. Penn State captured three 3-0 victories over Tennessee-Martin, Delaware, and West Virginia. This match won’t disappoint.

No. 13 Kentucky vs. No. 7 Creighton: The Wildcats and Jays both got off to strong starts to the season last weekend, each going 3-0 in the opening weekend. But Creighton’s performance raised the eyebrows of many across the volleyball, as the Jays upset No. 3 Washington 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 14-25, 25-23) to highlight the weekend. Creighton also took down Pitt 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17), as well as a straight set win over St. Mary’s last Friday. But the Wildcats also scored a Top 25 win last weekend, taking down No. 23 Utah in thrilling fashion 3-2 (25-23, 29-27, 13-25, 20-25, 15-12). The Wildcats also grabbed straight set wins over Arkansas State and Cincinnati. Friday night’s match should be fun.

Saturday, September 2nd

No. 4 Texas vs. No. 17 San Diego: The Longhorns did not get their season off to the start they wanted to last weekend, as Texas was dropped by No. 12 Florida in Gainesville 3-1 (16-25, 23-25, 25-18, 21-25). But the Longhorns returned home on Saturday and captured a 3-1 win of their own (23-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23) over Oregon to right the ship. San Diego also had its own opening game hiccup, as it lost to No. 13 UCLA 3-0 last Friday. After the loss, San Diego got back on track with a pair of 3-0 wins over Hawaii and Marquette to round out their opening weekend. The Longhorns will play Villanova before their match against San Diego.

No. 18 USC vs. No. 7 Creighton: After facing the Wildcats on Friday, the Jays return to the court to face the Trojans. Like Creighton, USC started their season off undefeated with three victories last weekend. Along with wins over Loyola Marymount and Albany, the Trojans scored a big 3-1 win over No. 19 Michigan. USC will also get a crack at Kentucky later on Saturday.
Sunday, September 3rd

No. 16 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Florida: As mentioned above, the Gators had a very nice opening weekend taking down the No. 1 team in the country in “The Swamp”. But it wasn’t just a win over the Longhorns; Florida followed it up with an upset over No. 5 Nebraska 3-2 (19-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-18, 15-11) on Saturday. Needless to say, the Gators established themselves as a national title contender with their pair of top 5 wins to start the season. On the other side of the net, the Tar Heels did not have an ideal opening weekend. North Carolina suffered a pair of 3-0 losses to Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Minnesota, so the Tar Heels will be looking for their first win of the season. Florida will also face N.C. State on Sunday.

Monday, September 4th

No. 13 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas: After their match on Friday against Creighton and pair of Saturday matches versus Northern Iowa and USC, the Wildcats will get the pleasure of facing the Jayhawks on Labor Day. The Jayhawks started their season off last weekend in undefeated fashion, capturing a pair of 3-1 wins over N.C. State (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24) and Missouri State (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19) to start the season. Before facing the Cats, Kansas will face Utah Valley.

This story was originally published on Excelle Sports. Visit ExcelleSports.com for more coverage of women's sports at all levels.

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