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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | March 9, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Ohio State leaps into Power 10

College volleyball rankings: Baylor falls, Ohio State shakes up new Power 10

We are now heading into week eight of the college volleyball season, and time is sure flying. Ohio State jumps into this week's Power 10 rankings in a big way. The Buckeyes are 12-0, first in the Big Ten, No. 11 in the AVCA poll and now No. 6 in my Power 10 after their first win at Penn State in almost two decades. 

Here are my full Power 10 rankings ahead of week eight (last week's rankings in parentheses). Bring on the discussion and debate.

1. Wisconsin (1) 

The Badgers have been idle for the past two weeks due to Covid-19. But, the team to beat will be back this week. They have Northwestern (Friday and Saturday), Minnesota (March 17 and 21), Penn State (March 26 and 27) and Michigan (April 1 and 2) left on their schedule. 

2. Texas (2)

Texas Volleyball

Texas just beat Baylor for the THIRD time this season. Logan Eggleston put up 23 kills and Brionne Butler and Skylar Fields added 10 kills apiece. On top of their high-powered, balanced offense, their defense was impeccable down the stretch to keep Baylor from pushing a fifth set. They also held reigning AVCA National Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley to .044 hitting percentage with 11 hitting errors. They’re the No. 2 team in the country for a reason. 

3. Nebraska (3)

The Huskers finished last weekend with two sweeps over Illinois. Lexi Sun led the charge offensively in both matches with 17 and 14 kills in each sweep.

4. Minnesota (4)

The Gophers' two matches against Ohio State (what would have been an interesting series) were postponed due to Covid-19. 

5. Kentucky (5) 

Kentucky volleyball

Kentucky finished last week with two sweeps over LSU. Madison Lilley took home SEC Player of the Week and Setter of the Week from her 83 assist weekend, and Ali Stumler earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week from her 34 kills on .481 hitting weekend. I am most excited for the Florida matchup, the Wildcats' first top-10 opponent. That matchup is coming up in two weeks. 

6. Ohio State (NR)

Ohio State VB

Now for my No. 6 team, Ohio State skyrockets into the top 10 despite being ranked for the first time this season. Remember, these are my Power 10 rankings. These are not the AVCA rankings and I base them on how teams are playing right now. And Ohio State? They’re 12-0. They’re currently first in the Big Ten. And they just pulled off the season sweep over Penn State, defeating the Nittany Lions in Rec Hall for the first time in almost two decades. They hit .380, their highest mark of the season. The season sweep marked the first time the Buckeyes have done that since 2001. Emily Londot has had double-digit kills every single match this season. Vanja Bukilić and Lauren Witte each hit .562 and .667.

Yes, the two wins over Penn State are their two biggest wins of the season, but they have no losses either and deserve the recognition. The undefeated record will be put to the test right away with Nebraska this weekend. 

7. Washington (7)

Washington remains No. 7 in this week's Power 10 rankings. Even though they have a few big losses, they also have a few big wins, including two impressive ones over Utah. Last weekend, they split the series with Oregon. I think Oregon is a top-15 team. 

8. Florida (8)

The Gators could easily be higher than eight based on how well they have been playing, but I think they will have their best shot of moving up when they face a ranked Kentucky team in a few weeks. Last weekend was capped off with two sweeps over Arkansas, and they have not lost since the beginning of spring play.

9. Baylor (6)

The Bears drop three spots in this week's rankings after their third loss of the season to Texas. I had to put Ohio State and Washington above them because they have more wins over ranked teams. Florida doesn't have that either but they haven't lost since the start of the spring season. Baylor is not out of the discussion though just because they lost to Texas again. The Longhorns are the No. 2 team in the country, and I still did see some significant development in Baylor in this matchup. Lauren Harrison and Marieke Van Der Mark stepped up big offensively. Reigning National Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley struggled a bit with a .044 hitting percentage, which is unusual for the star. In the last three matches against Texas, she was carrying a heavy load, averaging just over 30 kills. This time around, she tallied 13. So it is a good sign that other players were able to step up, and when Pressley is back putting up her usual numbers with the addition of points from those around her, it could be a different story. 

10. Utah (9)

Utah rounds out my top 10. Purdue could've have been here as well but I dropped them out after they split the series with Penn State over the weekend. I still feel really high on that team though and I would say Purdue and Oregon are my first out. Utah finished last weekend with two wins over Stanford. Dani Drews led the team with 19 kills and Phoebe Grace posted a season high 10 kills hitting a team-leading .368.
 

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