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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | March 4, 2021

These are the must-watch college volleyball series this week

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 6 Baylor highlights the top college volleyball matchups in week 7

Here are the top college volleyball series and matchups that you won't want to miss in week seven. 

VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS: Week 7 Power 10 rankings | AVCA Poll

No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 11 Purdue | 7 p.m. Friday, March 5 on BTN+ and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 6 on ESPNU

Penn State VB

Going into this matchup, Penn State will be coming off a mid-week match against Ohio State on Wednesday, a team they lost to in five earlier this season. So this makes for a competitive week for the Nittany Lions. 

Purdue has looked better than you might think from its 8-4 record this season. They pushed Minnesota to five sets twice, and their other two losses were to Wisconsin to open the spring season. Those two losses to Wisconsin were also without star outside hitter Grace Cleveland. So yes, a four-loss team, but to two of the best teams in the country. Penn State will be another top-10 Big Ten opponent for them this season, and it's a good chance for us to see what they are made of. 

The Nittany Lions also lost twice to Minnesota, but in four sets once and five sets the next. Based on common opponents, it seems as if this will be a really even matchup. Grace Cleveland and Caitlyn Newton have been consistent every match for the Boilermakers. The Lions' offensive production has varied a little bit more. They will have to put it all together this week. 

Purdue star outside hitter sat down with NCAA.com to preview the matchup. Watch the full video here: 

Purdue volleyball's Grace Cleveland breaks down their upcoming Big Ten series vs. Penn State

No. 7 Washington vs. No. 20 Oregon | 4 p.m. Friday, March 5 and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 7 on Oregon Livestream 3

Oregon Volleyball

The Huskies are coming off of two huge wins over Utah and now own the first-place spot in the Pac-12. Oregon is in second place, so the roles have been reversed for the Huskies. Instead of going into the series as the second place team against the top dog, they are now the top dog in a 1-2 battle with the Ducks. 

Washington has been putting it all together as of late. Ella May Powell has been an incredible quarterback for what now seems like an abundance of weapons. Samantha Drechsel, Madi Endsley, Claire Hoffman and Marin Grote, ALL big contributors in their last wins. 

I talked to Ella May Powell this week ahead of the series and she spoke about the development of their offensive weapons this season. 

"I can't do what I do without them. And our passers have been passing lights out, working so hard to get me in great positions," Powell said. "It has been really fun to see our hitters just grow and get more comfortable out there. I have no doubts when I set any of my front row hitters, I just have so much faith in them." 

The Ducks are 8-2 having split both of their toughest series this season against UCLA and Washington State. Their matches against Utah were cancelled, so there is not quite as much to go off on. This series will give us a better idea. In their last few matches though, wins over Colorado, they had an abundance of names on the stat leaderboards, including Brooke Nuneviller, Taylor Williams, Gloria Mutiri, Morgan Lewis, Abby Hansen and Karson Bacon. 

Watch the full interview with Powell here: 

Washington's Ella May Powell talks Husky volleyball after taking first place in the Pac-12

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 6 Baylor | 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 3 on Longhorn Network

Texas Volleyball

Result: Texas, 3-1

Preview:
The Big 12 started play in the fall of 2020, so these two teams have already played twice. Basically this is Texas vs. Baylor Part III this season. The two matchups in the fall resulted in two five-set wins for the Longhorns. In the first match, Baylor went up by two sets before Texas turned the match on its head and pulled off the reverse sweep. The second was the almost the exact opposite. Texas took the first two sets before Baylor stormed back to tie it up, but Texas made it a done deal in the fifth. These matches had insanely high numbers. Yossiana Pressley put up 32 kills in the second match for the Bears. 

Now it’s about four months later and they will face each other again in this top-10 matchup. The Longhorns have been showing off their new weapon in Melanie Parra since they started in the spring, as if they needed any more offensive weapons. Against Baylor in the fall, they had so much balance all over the court. In the first match, Logan Eggleston notched 22 kills, Skylar Fields had 14, Asjia O'Neal added 13 and Brionne Butler tallied 10 kills. That is four players with double-digit kills. It is hard to defend a team that can set the ball to anyone, and now they have yet another option added to the mix in Parra.  

Baylor will be looking for vengeance after coming up short twice in heartbreakers. They just won a five-set match against Pepperdine as well where they displayed much more offensive balance. Pressley notched 17 kills and Lauren Harrison and Marieke Van Der Mark each contributed double-digit kills as well. You know this is going to be an exciting one.

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