volleyball-women-d1 flag

Michella Chester | NCAA.com | April 7, 2021

10 of the best duos to watch out for in the 2020-21 women's volleyball tournament

10 of the best college volleyball duos to watch in the 2020-21 tournament

The start of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament is officially one week away. It might feel like the longest week ever, but we have a lot to look forward to. Here is a look at 10 of the best duos to watch out for in the tournament this season. These are within the top 10 seeds in the bracket. 

1. Madison Lilley and Alli Stumler — Kentucky

Lilley and Stumler

To start things off, we have a setter-hitter duo that has been dangerous all season long, and a big reason why Kentucky’s offensive has been so explosive. This Wildcats offense is second in the nation in kills per set with 14.98, so it would be difficult to argue that this isn't a scary duo. Lilley is an All-American setter third in the nation in assists per set with almost 12, and Stumler averaged 4.27 kills per set this season. They have been playing together for three years now, and Lilley, a skilled quarterback, loves to set up Stumler. 

2. Lauren Stivrins and Lexi Sun — Nebraska

Lauren Stivrins and Lexi Sun

At Nebraska, we have a hitter duo — Lauren Stivrins and Lexi Sun. Together, they average 8.41 points per set as the two leading scorers on this Husker team. Stivrins is also extremely accurate with a .471 hitting percentage, which is fifth in the country. Sun is a pure hitter, from pretty much anywhere on the court. They are both skilled blockers, but Stivrins is a powerful threat at the net and offensively, she is incredible off the slide. Two seasoned vets with lots of energy, and I can't wait to see the duo in action in Omaha. 

Full breakdown and analysis of the 2020-21 DI women's volleyball bracket

3. Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke — Wisconsin

Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley

The No.1 team in the country has a lot of weapons, but they absolutely have a duo in Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke. These two know each other both on and off of the court. Off the court, they are roommates. On the court, their connection is flawless. Hilley has been setting up Rettke for as long as they have both worn a Badger uniform, from freshman year to now. We know Rettke well as a powerful force at the net, and if you need proof, she is second in the nation in blocks per set. But, she also leads the No.1 team in the nation in kills as well. 

DON'T MISS A MINUTE: Live coverage of the 2020-21 NCAA DI volleyball championship

4. Logan Eggleston and Skylar Fields — Texas

Texas has a lot of stars, and Brionne Butler was certainly at top of mind. But I love the offensive duo of Logan Eggleston and Sklyar Fields. Together, they average 8.79 points and 7.64 kills per set. Both are hitting above .300 this season and are incredibly difficult to defend. Jhenna Gabriel can set the ball anywhere with these two consistent options. That clearly shows because the Longhorns are ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in assists. Plus, Fields is just a sophomore, and Eggleston is a junior. We’ve got more firepower coming. 

5. Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman — Minnesota

Samedy Pittman

You might have guessed it. Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman. are a veteran duo and a powerful one at that. Both are returning AVCA All-Americans that led the Gophers to the national semifinals last season and both are natural leaders on the court. Samedy has been a sensation this season with multiple 20-plus kill performances. She has shown so much confidence this year and is leaving it all out there on the court. She takes a lot of swings, averaging 4.63 points per set. Pittman is a threat offensively and defensively. She can hammer down kills but also leads the Gophers, the 3-seed in the tournament this year, in blocks. 

6. Thayer Hall and T'Ara Ceaser — Florida

At Florida, the Gators have a huge dual threat offensively — Thayer Hall and T’Ara Ceaser. In 2019 it was mostly Hall, and Ceaser has been a welcome addition to their high-powered offense this season. These two hitters average 8.42 points per set together and 7.35 kills per set. They will be looking to make some noise in the tournament this season. 

WATCH: 2020-21 DI women's volleyball selection show

7. Ella May Powell and Samantha Drechsel — Washington

Drecshel and Ella May Powell

At Washington, there is a triple offensive threat of Samantha Drechsel, Claire Hoffman and Madi Endlsey. So they were all in consideration for a powerful duo here. But for the Huskies, I have to go with the duo of Ella May Powell and her leading scorer Drecshel. Powell is an All-American setter that runs the Huskies' multiple threat offense flawlessly. She has loads of experience heading into this NCAA tournament as well. Dreschel averaged 4.46 points per set this season. The Huskies won the Pac-12 and now they will get their shot in the tournament. 

8. Caitlyn Newton and Grace Cleveland — Purdue

Purdue's dynamic duo of Caitlyn Newton and Grace Cleveland clock in at No. 8. These two are scoring machines. Together they average 8.72 points per game. That tops this list if you are talking hitters. Cleveland told me she’s been able to grow so much with the guidance of Newton, who is a year above her. But, what I like most about this duo is they have faced the best of the best this season. 

9. Brooke Nuneviller and Gloria Mutiri — Oregon

For the 10-seed, Oregon, we have a hitter duo of Brooke Nuneviller and Gloria Mutiri. Nuneviller is another name on this list that has had record kill performances this season. She and her offensive counterpart Mutiri put up 6.88 points per set. They came second in the Pac-12 behind the Huskies, with whom they split the series with this season. In the Ducks win against Washington this year, Nuneviller had 35 kills. 

10. Emily Londot and Mac Podraza — Ohio State

Lastly, Ohio State. This is the only duo on this list that includes a freshman. The hitter setter duo of Emily Londot and Mac Podraza has been really successful this season. Londot has been a big reason why the Buckeyes had a record season this year. She tallied an average of 4.03 kills per set this season where the Buckeyes had a 12-0 start. And Podraza has been in the ranks as one of the best setters this season, clearly working well with Londot. She can be a sneaky threat offensively as well. She tallied 65 kills on .320 hitting. 

Women’s volleyball can experiment with challenge review system rules

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Tuesday approved an experimental rule allowing women’s volleyball teams to begin a match with two video coach’s challenges in conference matches.
READ MORE

These 9 NCAA women's volleyball programs have won the most national championships

Stanford won its second-straight title in 2019 and claimed the 38th national championship in NCAA women's volleyball history. Let's take a look at the programs with multiple titles.
READ MORE

Kentucky vs. Texas: Preview, how to watch the NCAA volleyball championship live from Omaha

Here is a preview and how to watch when Kentucky and Texas meet for the 2020-21 women's DI volleyball championship Saturday night in Omaha.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners