Nine teams ranked in the DII women's volleyball top 25 met in Denver this past weekend at the Colorado Premier Challenge. There were some big surprises that led to quite the shakeup, with a new No. 1 team atop the latest poll.
WEEKEND RECAP: What we learned at the Colorado Premier Challenge
Before we get into what we learned in the latest AVCA rankings, let's take a look at the top 25, led by new No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino.
|1||Cal State San Bernardino (35)||1137||7-0||2|
|2||Western Washington (6)||1092||8-0||3|
|4||Minnesota Duluth (1)||955||7-1||5|
|9||Southwest Minnesota State||744||6-2||15|
|15||Northwest Missouri State||409||7-1||18|
|19||St. Cloud State||292||8-0||NR|
|20||Wayne State (Neb.)||265||8-0||22|
|21||Texas A&M - Commerce||222||5-3||20|
|23||Palm Beach Atlantic||180||5-3||16|
Cal State San Bernardino sits atop the DII women's volleyball top 25
The Coyotes are back in familiar territory, moving up one to the top spot in the Week 2 AVCA poll. Cal State San Bernardino reached the No. 1 spot as recently as November of last season, so it is no stranger to the limelight.
The Coyotes are certainly deserving of the honor. They opened the season sweeping through the Texan Invitational, knocking off fellow top 10 teams Minnesota Duluth (3-1) and Tarleton State (3-0). This past weekend, they went 12-1 in winning all four matches of the DII West Region Volleyball Showcase. Kim Cherniss has created a powerhouse at San Bernardino and her 2019 Coyotes are playing the part.
Western Washington, Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney are good
Perfect, actually. Each of the three is 8-0 and all moved up a spot (or two) in the top 10 this week.
Western Washington traveled across the country and showed little rust from its fantastic 2018 season. The Vikings opened with wins against ranked West Florida and Wheeling and haven't stopped rolling since. Washburn has only played one ranked opponent thus far in 2019, but the Ichabods have also only lost one set. All season. They went a perfect 12-0 in sets this past weekend at the Skyhawks Volleyball Tournament.
Nebraska-Kearney is also on fire. The Lopers had a big weekend at the Rosella Meier UNK Fall Classic with a near-perfect showing. They, too, dropped one set all weekend, closing out the weekend with a 3-1 victory over No. 17 Rockhurst.
How does Tampa bounce back?
The Spartans certainly struggled in Denver, dropping all four matches in the Colorado Premier Classic. But all is far from lost.
Sunshine State Conference play opens this weekend for Tampa and it has the luxury of opening at home. The Spartans will welcome Eckerd and Saint Leo to town. Both are off to hot starts — Eckerd is 7-1 and Saint Leo is 6-2 — so a Spartan sweep of the weekend would be a huge opening statement in SSC competition.
They'll need at least one win to get some momentum rolling. The following weekend, the Spartans travel to No. 16 Barry and No. 23 Palm Beach Atlantic on Friday and Saturday, respectively. If Tampa can right the ship and close out September with four straight wins against some very hefty competition, it'll be right back in the driver's seat.
TOURNEY TIME: How the DII women's volleyball championship works
DII women's volleyball top 25 shakeup: Top risers, fallers and newcomers of the week
Obviously, there was quite a bit of movement in this week's AVCA poll.
Southwest Minnesota State continues to yo-yo up and down the rankings. One week after dropping six spots to No. 15, the Mustangs jump right back up six spots to No. 9. A 3-1 showing at the Colorado Premier Challenge definitely helped, their lone loss coming in the championship to Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears, who stumbled to a 2-2 start and dropped five spots to No. 10, climbed back up four spots after its CPC title.
Hillsdale is off to quite the start. The Chargers stunned the Golden Bears on opening night and having been rolling ever since. A defeat of then-No. 16 Palm Beach Atlantic to close this past weekend moved Hillsdale to 7-1 and helped them jump five spots to No. 14 this week.
The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats are enjoying a historic season, and we're only two weeks in. The Bearcats, now 7-1 with a signature win over No. 8 Northern State this past weekend, jumped three spots to No. 15, the highest ranking the program has ever achieved.
Tampa dropped the furthest this week, plunging 12 spots to No. 13. Wheeling, who split the St. Cloud State Tournament with losses to ranked Minnesota Duluth and host St. Cloud State, dropped seven spots to No. 21. Palm Beach Atlantic has also had a rough start to its season. Seemingly unphased after being displaced opening weekend due to Hurricane Dorian, the Sailfish split at the Hillsdale College Invitational this past weekend. They became the latest victims to the rising Chargers and also fell seven spots landing at No. 23.
There are four new teams in the poll this week. Regis jumps right into the top 20 at No. 18 after an impressive showing at their Colorado Premier Challenge. The Rangers took down Texas A&M-Commerce and Tampa on opening night of the tournament, both in straight sets.
St. Cloud State is off to a perfect start in 2019, sitting at 8-0 after sweeping through the Dixie State Tournament and then its own St. Cloud State Invite. That allowed the Huskies to enter the top 20 from the unranked as well. Its last two wins came against then-ranked Michigan Tech and Wheeling.
Sioux Falls is also a perfect 8-0 on the season after sweeping the Pioneer/Patriot Tournament and enters the poll at 24, while new No. 25 (tied) Upper Iowa is also perfect after not losing a single set at the UW-Parkside Invitational this past weekend. That gives the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference an astounding eight teams in the top 25.