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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | September 9, 2019

College volleyball rankings: Stanford retains top spot, Baylor into top 5

Check out this 1:55 second rally in this week's volleyball top plays

Two top-10 wins and a five-set extravaganza later, Stanford is battle-tested and still undefeated. More importantly, the Cardinal remain No. 1 in the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll.

To strengthen its grip at the top, Stanford swept then No. 7 Florida and outlasted No. 3 Texas in five sets. Two-time national player of the year Kathryn Plummer posted a career-high 34 kills to knock off the Longhorns.

Nebraska remains right behind Stanford for the third consecutive poll after staving off San Diego in five sets. Despite losing to the Cardinal, Texas holds at No. 3 after sweeping Minnesota a few days earlier.

But for the second straight week, multiple top-10 teams dropped at least one match, causing a bit of movement in the rankings.

Here is the full poll.

Rank School Points Prev
1 Stanford (64) 1600 1
2 Nebraska 1518 2
3 Texas 1481 3
4 Penn State 1388 6
5 Baylor 1236 17
6 Pittsburgh 1163 10
7 Marquette 1131 11
8 Minnesota 1095 8
9 Wisconsin 1007 4
10 Oregon 979 9
11 Florida 902 7
12 Washington 835 16
13 BYU 797 13
14 Illinois 751 5
15 Kentucky 723 12
16 Utah 650 19
17 Creighton 608 23
18 Hawai'i 560 20
19 Colorado 372 NR
20 Southern California 308 15
21 Missouri 280 NR
22 Louisville 243 24
23 Purdue 207 18
24 Michigan 153 14
25 Florida State 140 22

Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida each took a tumble after all three programs lost twice last week. The Badgers, after beginning the week at No. 4, were beaten twice on their home court against Marquette and Baylor to slide to No. 9. 

UPSET CENTRAL: Wisconsin among six ranked teams to lose Friday

Illinois dropped the final two sets of its match with Washington before being swept by Colorado. The Illini landed at No. 14, a nine-spot difference, after its first two losses of 2019.

Florida hosted Stanford in its home opener before traveling to Minnesota. The Gators were swept by both of their top-10 opponents, sliding four spots to No. 11 in the latest rankings.

Biggest risers

Baylor’s rise to No. 5 shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The Bears were slotted at No. 17 before a 3-0 weekend, including just one set lost in victories over then-No. 4 Wisconsin and then-No. 11 Marquette. Baylor's new position is the highest ranking its held in AVCA history.

Washington rebounded well from its first loss of 2019 with its most resilient win of the young season to move up four spots to No. 12. The Huskies battled back from a set down to stun top-5 opponent Illinois in five sets.

Three teams beat two ranked opponents last week — Stanford, Baylor and Creighton. The Bluejays stumbled against Nebraska and Baylor to start the year but recovered nicely by picking up ranked wins over the weekend against Kentucky and Southern California, giving Creighton a six-place boost to No. 17.

Joining the rankings are Colorado and Missouri.

The Buffaloes enter at No. 19 after sweeping Iowa and then-No. 5 Illinois last weekend. Missouri is ranked No. 21 after the Tigers had a 3-0 week, including a straight-set victory over then-No. 14 Michigan.

Dropped out

Tennessee (21), San Diego (25)

Looking ahead

Stanford is 2-0 against the AVCA Top 25 this year and continues its stretch of (potentially) six consecutive ranked opponents with Penn State and Minnesota. First, the top-ranked Cardinal face the No. 4 Nittany Lions on Friday before seeing the No. 8 Gophers a day later in State College.

RELIVE THE MOMENT: Stanford edges Texas in five sets 

Pittsburgh won 30 matches a season ago to earn the No. 12 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. Now, the No. 6 Panthers are searching for better postseason position with a more daunting non-conference slate. Pittsburgh hosts No. 10 Oregon on Wednesday, its first ranked opponent of 2019.

Baylor put together an impressive week with wins over Marquette and Wisconsin, reaching its highest AVCA ranking ever. To maintain that momentum, the No. 5 Bears will look to handle reigning SEC runner-up Tennessee. The Volunteers fell out of the rankings this week, but will have a chance to re-enter when they head to the Ferrell Center on Saturday.

Texas will play its fourth straight ranked opponent on Friday when they face No. 13 Brigham Young on Friday.  The No. 3 Longhorns are 2-1 against the AVCA Top 25 this year, the lone loss coming in five sets against top-ranked Stanford. 

Both Washington at Creighton are coming off of strong weeks. Washington rallied to beat Illinois while Creighton picked up a pair of top-15 wins. On Saturday, the two will face off when the Huskies travel to Omaha for a top-20 matchup.

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