Undefeated no more, Stanford's 37-match winning streak came to an end on Sept. 14 when Minnesota beat the defending champions in four sets. The Cardinal were handed their first loss since Aug. 2018, paving the way for Nebraska to take over the top spot in the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll.
After spending three weeks behind Stanford, the Huskers reclaim the No. 1 ranking for the first time since the final poll of 2017. Nebraska became the top ranked team following a 3-0 week that includes straight-set wins over High Point and Denver, in addition to a four-frame victory against Loyola Marymount.
In Stanford's loss, Minnesota held the Cardinal to a .185 attacking percentage — a far cry from the .356 mark the team averaged through its first five matches. Gophers' opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy went for 21 kills and six blocks in the upset.
.@GopherVBall knocked off No. Stanford for the first time ever in program history last night to go undefeated at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge!— Minnesota Gophers (@GopherSports) September 15, 2019
Take a look at match point below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/dPwDLcZz4d
Despite the outcome, Stanford only dropped one spot to No. 2, a decision likely influenced by a four-set road win over Penn State. The rest of the top 5 (Texas, Penn State and Baylor) remained in place.
Here is the full poll.
Nine of the top 10 teams remained in tact, with Washington being the lone newcomer. The Huskies moved up two places after picking up a win over then-No. 17 Creighton. Four top-10 teams — Stanford, Penn State, Marquette and Oregon — lost last week. However, the caliber of the losses were of high quality, resulting in those programs dropping a combined six spots. The Ducks were hit the hardest, falling from No. 10 to No. 14 after losing three times, albeit to Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Penn State.
DOWN GO THE CHAMPS: Minnesota ends Stanford's 37-game winning streak
Illinois was the only other team to drop more than three spots, sliding five to No. 19 after losing to Central Florida and Illinois State. The Illini did manage to salvage the weekend with a five-set win against then-No. 7 Marquette.
Among teams previously ranked, Hawai'i and Missouri were this week's biggest risers.
The Rainbow Wahine surged to No. 13, a five-spot ascension after handling West Virginia, Utah Valley and UCLA in Honolulu. The Tigers won all four of their matches, earning straight-set wins in three of them over Austin Peay, Kansas City and Boise State.
Joining the rankings are Colorado State and California.
Both teams received votes last week, finding themselves inside the top 25 after convincing performances. California improved to 8-0 after wins against Buffalo and North Dakota State. The Golden Bears are one of 10 remaining unbeaten teams.
The Rams took both matches in a home-and-home with then-No. 19 Colorado. CSU swept the Buffaloes in Fort Collins before winning a five-set thriller in Boulder.
Colorado (19), Michigan (24)
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This week, Nebraska plays its first regular season match as the No. 1 team since Nov. 2016. It's also the first time Stanford won't compete as the top-ranked team since last November. Though the meeting takes place prior to the fall equinox, the atmosphere inside the Devaney Center should be comparable to a mid-December match when No. 2 Stanford comes to Lincoln on Wednesday for a rematch of the 2018 national championship game.
Pittsburgh held steady at No. 6 after wins over ranked Pac-12 foes Oregon and Utah. The Panthers showed an ability to win close as all six sets won were decided by five or fewer points. Their next challenge comes against in-state opponent Penn State. Pittsburgh and the No. 4 Nittany Lions are set to meet in a home-and-home series on Friday and Sunday.
As of Sept. 16, only 10 teams remain undefeated in Division I volleyball. Three of which — Baylor, Hawai'i and Missouri — are all ranked in the top 20 and will face each other this week in Waco. No. 5 Baylor plays No. 17 Missouri on Friday and Hawai'i on Sunday. The Tigers and the No. 13 Rainbow Wahine face off on Saturday as the number of unbeaten teams will continue to whittle down.
Wisconsin won both of its matches last week to remain in the top 10. To conclude their non-conference slate, the No. 9 Badgers have a home-and-home with No. 10 Washington, first playing in Madison on Thursday before the return game in Seattle on Saturday.
Both Utah and Brigham Young lost to ranked opponents in the previous week. The Utes dropped a 4-set match to Pittsburgh while the Cougars were beaten by Texas. With league play approaching, No. 18 Utah hosts No. 12 BYU in Salt Lake City on Thursday.