Bear with me here. It is a BIG week in college volleyball and we have got a lot to cover. The ACC and Big 12 are back in the swing of things this spring season and we have a top-10 matchup in the Pac-12. Here are the top three college volleyball series you won't want to miss in week 6.
And I mean it, you really won't want to miss these.
No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Nebraska | 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 26, on Big Ten Network and 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, on Big Ten Network
Editor's note: This series was postponed because of Covid-19. Wisconsin has paused all activities for 14 days.
Last season, all the way back in 2019, Wisconsin beat Nebraska three times — twice in the regular season and once in the NCAA tournament to advance and eventually play for the national title. But this year, the Huskers are looking a little different. Yes, they do have the same players for the most part, but there has been a lot of development from last season. Lauren Stivrins and Lexi Sun are as dominant as ever, and Madi Kubik is a big time threat now as a sophomore. They were just a young team last season. Now, not so much. Everyone on the court is a threat, similar to Wisconsin. Nicklin Hames has been consistently good at setter and has showed extreme toughness. They are also getting big contributions from Riley Zuhn and Kayla Caffrey, who tallied seven kills and seven blocks in their sweep over Minnesota.
It also says a lot about a team when they can bounce back from a loss and adjust in the way that they did last weekend. They came back from a 3-1 loss to Minnesota and completely dominated the Gophers in the second match. Plus, Minnesota is not your average run-of-the-mill team. They are extremely good.
Wisconsin not only has All-Americans Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley, Molly Haggerty and Grace Loberg (players good enough to play for a national title last season,) but also has new talent that has made an immediate difference. Devyn Robinson and Jade Demps have shown no signs of youth. Robinson has consistently contributed points and Demps led all hitters with 17 kills in the Badgers last win. They looked good out of system last match. Everything is clicking.
This is going to be a super competitive, fun series to watch. I will provide a more in-depth preview of the matchup as well as live updates and analysis during both games here on NCAA.com.
No. 7 Utah vs. No. 9 Washington |9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, on Washington's live stream
Washington picked up the first win of the series with a sweep over No. 7 Utah (25-21, 25-23, 25-19). Utah remained close all match, but the Huskies worked all of their hitters into the mix and had a strong serve-receive performance out of the back-row (something Utah's Dani Drews said would be a vital aspect of the match).
This Utah team has a lot of weapons and Dani Drews looks stronger than ever this season. I think this is team with a lot of firepower and a lot of potential and it’ll be good to see them against a tough opponent.
I talked to Drews and she said they were excited for this matchup because they usually play up to their opponents. Coming off of a good 2019 season with a lot of the same players and a few new starters, including a freshmen at libero, Drews thinks this team is really good. She said the serve-receive portion of the game against Washington will be a key.
Washington has done a good job of learning from its mistakes this season. They have followed losses with a win in the second match of a series and in a pretty big way. Ella May Powell posted 60 assists in a match last weekend. She was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the first setter to do that since 2012.
Clare Hoffman and Samantha Drechsel are looking good offensively. This should be a tight matchup.
Hear more on the matchup from Utah outside hitter Dani Drews here:
No. 13 Louisville vs. No. 14 Notre Dame | 4 p.m. Saturday Feb. 27, on ACC Network Extra
Moving over to the ACC, No. 13 Louisville will take on No. 14 Notre Dame in another ranked matchup. The ACC has resumed play — I told you it was a good week. This is Louisville's first match since the fall and Notre Dame's second match back in action.
This is a rematch as the Cardinals lost to Notre Dame in straight sets in the first match of the fall season. Caroline Meuth has been killing it offensively for the Fighting Irish. She notched 17 kills in their last win over Valparaiso to open the spring season.
For the Cardinals, look out for Aiko jones and Anna DeBeer. I remember Jones the most from the historic upset over Texas in the tournament in 2019 when she hammered down a career-high 23 kills.
A rematch is always fun, and these are two pretty equal teams.
Other matchups to keep your eyes on:
Over in the SEC, No. 8 Florida take ons Tennessee. The Vols are unranked, but they just knocked off then-No. 16 Missouri a few weeks ago.
Also, the Big-12 is back! That means No. 2 Texas and No. 6 Baylor will be back on the court. Texas will face UTSA at 3 p.m. this Thursday and Baylor will take on North Texas at 7 p.m. Friday.