Here are the top women's volleyball series to watch in week 2, including No. 4 Kentucky taking on Arkansas as the SEC re-starts play in the spring.
No. 19 UCLA vs. Oregon — 9 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 29 and 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30 on Pac-12 Network
UCLA started off the season with back-to-back wins over California last weekend. Oregon split itss series with Washington State and received votes in this week’s AVCA poll. UCLA is led by senior outside hitter Mac May, a 2019 second-team All-American. She debuted this season against Cal with an impressive 20 kills, two blocks and an ace. But it's not all May. The Bruins have some new weapons offensively that looked pretty good in their opening series, including junior transfer élan McCall. Freshman Iman Ndiaye had impressive showings as well for the Bruins.
Oregon, though, has also looked balanced offensively with different leading scorers in their first two matches. After dropping their season opener, coach Matt Ulmer was impressed with how the Ducks responded. In their five-set win over Washington State, the Ducks had contributions from everyone. They were led by Gloria Mutiri's match-high 15 kills and Georgia Murphy's career-high 29 digs. Four other players posted double-doubles.
So, two balanced offenses will face off.
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No. 4 Kentucky vs. Arkansas — 6 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 29 on SEC Network+ and 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 20 on SEC Network
The SEC played in the fall, and the conference is back on the court for the spring season this weekend. No. 4 Kentucky will face off against Arkansas Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats were undefeated in the SEC in the fall, hence its No. 4 ranking in the latest AVCA poll. Plus, they’ve got some really strong returning players as well, including Madison Lilley, Alli Stumler and Gabby Curry, as well as a top freshman class.
Arkansas is unranked but only lost one series in the fall to a top 25 team, Missouri. They responded by beating Texas A&M twice, a strong team from last season and one that received 44 votes in the AVCA poll this week to Arkansas’ 2 votes. Jillian Gillen led the Razorbacks in kills, digs, aces and points last season as just a freshman. Now she's a sophomore, and racking up a lot of points again.
This matchup will be a good way to re-start SEC play this spring.
A few more matchups to keep your eye on:
Over in the Big Ten, Nebraska will take on Northwestern on Big Ten Network+ Friday and Saturday, at 6 p.m. ET both nights. Washington State and Arizona State will face off Thursday and Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. Arizona State just split the series with then-No. 8 Washington last week and Washington State is right on the verge of breaking into the top 25 with 80 votes received. Lastly, Cincinnati will take on Illinois State this week, both teams receiving votes in the poll and both teams 1-0. Those matches will be played on Friday and Saturday on ESPN+.