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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | March 30, 2021

2021 college volleyball rankings: Final Power 10 before selections

College volleyball rankings: Final Power 10 of 2020-21 regular season

It is the FINAL week in the college volleyball regular season. Selections for the 48-team NCAA tournament field will be at 4 p.m. ET this Sunday, April 4, on ESPNU. 

Crazy that it is already here... I know. But with that, here are my final power 10 rankings for the 2021 spring college volleyball season. 

1. Wisconsin

Wisconsin volleyball

Wisconsin started at the top and will finish at the top for me. The national championship runner-up with so much promise this season had multiple cancellations and postponements. So far, they have only played 11 matches, compared to other teams in the 15-20 range. They have two more games to go this weekend against Michigan, fingers crossed. After a month off, we finally got to see the Badgers against a top-tier opponent in Minnesota and they picked right back up where they left off. The Badgers won, 3-1, and showed us again just how good they are in every single category. Lauren Barnes flawlessly led the backcourt with 47 saves in the match against Minnesota. Blocking has always been a force for the Badgers, and they have so many options offensively. Three players notched double-digit kills in the win against the Gophers:  Dana Rettke, Grace Loberg and Devyn Robinson.

2. Nebraska 

Nebraska Volleyball

The two through five spots in the Power 10 were incredibly difficult to order because Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas and Kentucky are all pretty even for me. Each has the potential to make deep runs in the tournament, and it is difficult to judge this season given the mostly in-conference schedules. I give Nebraska the nod at No. 2 because of what I think was a stronger win over Minnesota in their split series. They have a win and a loss against Ohio State as well. The Huskers have a really impressive lineup with the capability of going the distance this season. 

3. Minnesota

Minnesota volleyball

The Gophers come in at No. 3. They had their second loss on the season to No. 1 Wisconsin in four sets, but, they were missing two starters, And, they only got to play them once. Now the Gophers are the only team to have the advantage of seeing and playing the No. 1 team in the country. This is a better loss in my opinion than Nebraska's loss to Ohio State, but the Huskers' dominating sweep over Minnesota in the second game of their series gives them the slight edge. 

4. Texas 

Texas Volleyball

The Longhorns fall out of their No. 2 spot for the first time this season after suffering a loss to Rice last week. However, they did beat Baylor for the fourth time this season. They sport an impressive 21-1 overall record, but I have to put more weight on the strength of schedule that Nebraska and Minnesota have played compared to Texas'. Either way though, four wins over a good team in Baylor is impressive. It is hard to beat a team twice, let alone four times. Logan Eggleston tallied 15 kills, Skylar Fields notched 12 and freshman standout Melanie Parra added 10 kills and four aces in the win. 

5. Kentucky 

Kentucky volleyball

Kentucky comes in at No. 5 after taking home its first win over a top-10 team this season and also its first loss of the season. The Wildcats responded to a five-set loss to Florida with a big sweep in the following match. Madi Skinner and Ali Stumler each tallied 13 kills in the win. The response from their first loss and in a competitive rivalry match was a good sign, considering they are soon to see a lot more matches like those ones in the NCAA tournament... and this time without a chance to play a team twice. After the Florida series the Wildcats earned two sweeps over Alabama, and doing so, won their fourth straight Southeastern Conference championship and clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament. 

6. Florida

Florida volleyball

The Gators move up to the No. 6 spot after splitting the series with Kentucky. They too closed out their regular-season schedule last weekend with two wins over Texas A&M. They should be in a pretty good place heading into selections this weekend as the second team in the SEC. This is another team that has a great offensive combination of players. Thayer Hall, T'Ara Ceaser and Holly Carlton have been impressive all season. Ceaser in particular has been a huge difference-maker, and the Gators have become pretty reliant on consistent points on the board from her. Ceaser posted 20 kills in the five-set win over Kentucky.

7. Washington

The Huskies lead the Pac-12 this season and will compete for the conference championship and AQ in the NCAA tournament this weekend. Washington has consistently improved and now incorporates all of its players offensively. The Huskies' last match was a five-set thriller against Stanford. Head coach Keegan Cook was pleased that his team got to compete in such a high-intensity match at this point in the season. 

8. Purdue

I have a lot to say about Purdue here. The Boilermakers just took home not one, but two wins over Ohio State. This is the same Buckeyes' team that beat Nebraska once and Penn State twice. But, the Boilermakers completely overpowered them. This team has been yearning for some big wins in the Big Ten, and they got it. With these two wins, that’s three wins over top-10 teams. More losses than some of the others yes, but they have had a tough schedule. In the latest win they had an impressive defensive outing with Jenna Otec taking Big Ten defensive player of the week. Their offense clicked across the board, and setter Hayley Bush recorded a double-double. 

9. Ohio State

The Buckeyes fall to No. 9 after the two losses to Purdue last weekend. Emily Londot still led all scorers for the Buckeyes but Purdue was too much for them in both matches. Lack of experience is what concerns me for the Buckeyes, but they have impressed us many times this season already. They have two more matches against Indiana this coming week. 

10. Baylor

Baylor Volleyball

Lastly, Baylor closes out the top 10 in my final rankings. The Bears drop to No. 10 after their fourth loss to Texas this season and at home. They did beat Rice earlier in the week, a feat Texas failed to do. But, they just couldn't make it happen against the Longhorns, despite a 28-kill performance from Yossiana Pressley. 

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