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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | February 23, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Wisconsin is still the clear No. 1 in latest Power 10

College volleyball rankings: Wisconsin clear No. 1, Penn State falls out of latest Power 10

A confession — there are almost no changes to my Power 10 rankings this week. But I promise there's more to these rankings than meets the eye if you stick with me to the end.

Week five in college volleyball saw a top-five matchup in the Big Ten...and this week, we have more of that coming. The Big Ten is dominating my top five with three teams holding the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Let's take a look at my latest Power 10 rankings ahead of week six.

1. Wisconsin (1) 

The Badgers remain the No. 1 team in the country after moving to 10-0 last weekend. In their last win over Michigan State, it wasn't even Dana Rettke headlining the stat boards. Freshman Jade Demps tallied 17 kills in the win, and she and fellow freshman Devyn Robinson combined for three kills to clinch the match after dropping just their second set of the season. Demps performed really well out of system, which is something the Badgers having been working to improve this season. Now they will have their toughest test yet against Nebraska this weekend. 

2. Texas (2) 

The Longhorns remain at No. 2 this week. Since Minnesota and Nebraska split the series last weekend, I couldn't justify moving either of them ahead of Texas. Good news, though — the Longhorns resume play this week. So I will have a lot more to say here next week after they get back onto the court this spring season. 

3. Nebraska (3) 

Nebraska Volleyball

The Huskers stay as my No. 3 team in the country after a dominating 3-0 win over Minnesota on Sunday. That came after they fell, 3-1, on Friday to the Gophers in the first match of the series that was still extremely competitive.

On Sunday the Huskers put it all together. They hit .300 on the match and held the Gophers to .153 hitting. They were stuffed 12 times on Friday but only were blocked five times on Sunday, and had a season-low 10 attacking errors on the match. Lexi Sun was a huge difference-maker. Not only did she lead with 12 kills offensively, but I was amazed at her defensive performance in the backcourt. She kept balls alive left and right and hammered down kills from behind the line. Lauren Stivrins notched eight kills and Madi Kubik finished with 10. It was the first sweep by the Huskers over a top-five team since Sept. 29, 2017, against No. 3 Minnesota. They put it all together right in time for their series against No. 1 Wisconsin this week. 

4. Minnesota (4) 

Minnesota volleyball

The Gophers come in at No. 4 this week and are still neck-and-neck with the Huskers following last weekend's split series. They were swept on Sunday, but won the first match 3-1 and still deserve a high ranking in my Power 10. On Friday, the Gophers came out victorious behind another sensational match from Stephanie Samedy where she notched 27 kills. Pair that with a record 14 blocks from Regan Pittman and three aces and 18 digs from CC McGraw, who reached the 1,000-dig milestone in the match. 

5. Utah (5)

Utah's series against Oregon last weekend was cancelled, so there is not much to go off of here. However, the Utes have a top-10 matchup against Washington this week. I am very much so looking forward to seeing this strong team against a tough opponent. 

6. Kentucky (6)

The Wildcats were also idle last weekend with the postponement of their South Carolina series. Kentucky travels to play Texas A&M this week.

7. Baylor (7)

This is the last time you will hear me saying that the Bears have yet to resume play in the spring. Baylor will be back on the court this week against North Texas and Pepperdine.

8. Florida (9) 

Florida moves up to eight, but mostly because Penn State moved out of my Power 10. The Gators were also subject to cancellations last weekend, but they have a tough Tennessee series this week. The Vols knocked off Missouri twice two weeks ago. 

9. Purdue (10)

Purdue Volleyball

One major difference between the AVCA rankings and my Power 10 is that I am continuing to keep Purdue in the top 10. Penn State falls to my hypothetical No. 11 spot because of Purdue up at No. 9. The Boilermakers finished last week with two wins over Northwestern. 

10. Washington (NR)

The Huskies are back in my Power 10 this week with Penn State dropping out and Washington picking up two wins over Colorado. That's perfect timing to set up a top-10 matchup with Utah this Thursday and Saturday. Claire Hoffman led the way in the Huskies' latest win with 14 kills, followed by 12 from Samantha Drechsel.

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