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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | August 30, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Ohio State crashes Power 10 rankings after Week 1

College volleyball rankings: Ohio State crashes Power 10 rankings after Week 1

What an opening weekend of college volleyball. I would say it is pretty clear that we are going to have a really fun volleyball season. Competition is tough this year and non-conference schedules are back. Here are my Power 10 rankings following the opening weekend of college volleyball. 

*AVCA rankings are specified within the parenthesis

1. Texas (1)

Texas Volleyball

Number one remains the same for obvious reasons. Texas returns a star-studded lineup this season after making it to the national championship match. This team clearly needs little to no adjustment time this season. Texas concluded the weekend with two dominant sweeps over San Diego and UTSA. Skylar Fields showed she is clearly going to have a dominant year, Logan Eggleston was serving up aces (a strategy that worked well for them in the spring season), as the crew looked like the No. 1 team in the country. 

2. Wisconsin (2)

Wisconsin volleyball

Wisconsin had an incredibly impressive outing over a top-10 team in Baylor this past weekend. We thought it was going to be a competitive, tight matchup but Wisconsin made a huge statement in its four-set win after absolutely dominating the first two sets. They came out absolutely on fire and displayed an extremely efficient offense and defense. Sydney Hilley was playing with so much trust, dishing it out to everyone on the team. They especially found success when utilizing their middles, as Dana Rettke and Danielle Hart combined for 28 kills on .583 hitting with NO errors. Devyn Robinson showed that she will be a key component this season as well for the Badgers and Julia Orzol made quite the debut. The freshman tallied 12 kills and three blocks against the Bears. 

3. Kentucky (3)

At No. 3 I gave Kentucky a boost here. The reigning champs lost key players but I moved them up for playing really strong against two NCAA tournament teams from last season, Dayton and Cincinnati. They didn’t even let a team put up 20 points against them. Not even once. Alli Stumler and Madi Skinner were the key contributors offensively for the Wildcats, as expected. Emma Grome stepped into the big setting shoes left by Madison Lilley, the 2020 National Player of the Year, this opening weekend. Against Cincinnati, she ran a solid offense for Kentucky with 31 assists as the Wildcats hit .341 as a team. That is a promising sign for the Wildcats.

4. Florida (5)

The Gators come in at No. 4 for me in my week one Power 10 rankings. They looked really good in their three wins over the weekend. It was not against super strong competition, but we will see that real soon when they play Stanford, Minnesota and Baylor in a row. T'Ara Ceaser and Thayer Hall led the majority of the Gators' offense on this veteran team, but they also had a strong debut from Merritt Beason.

5. Nebraska (4)

Nebraksa volleyball

Nebraska sits below the Gators right now only because they are still missing key players in Lauren Stivrins and Nicklin Hames as of now. Stivrins has been a key leader for the Huskers for the past four seasons and Nicklin Hames runs the offense — both are HUGE components. But, even in their absence, the Huskers displayed an extremely balanced and efficient offense. Madi Kubik, Kayla Caffey, Lexi Sun and another impressive freshman debut from the No. 1 recruit, Lindsay Krause, all had high-scoring outings. 

6. Ohio State (6)

Ohio State enters my Power 10 and ALL the way up at No. 6 after taking down Washington in the opening weekend. It was an extremely competitive match, just what we love to see. Emily Londot led all hitters in the win with 19 kills and Mia Grunze the senior notched 18. The Buckeyes had seven service aces as well in the win. This team had a big time breakout season last year, and I was waiting to see if they would continue it into this season. They sure did, welcome to the top 10, Buckeyes.

7. Washington (11)

Washington VB

Washington falls to No. 7 after the loss to Ohio State. I previously had them as No. 3 in my preseason rankings and the AVCA had ranked them at No. 4 after their national semifinal run just a few months ago. After the loss to Ohio State, the AVCA dropped them out of the top 10. I considered putting them lower, but the Huskies were right there with the Buckeyes the entire match. On top of that, tougher schedules this season is going to mean more losses for good teams. Ohio State is a great team, and Washington head coach Keegan Cook said this was exactly the experience they were looking for. I couldn't justify dropping a top three preseason team out of the top 10 entirely after their run last season with the same team just for one tight loss. I am looking forward to seeing how they adjust. 

8. Purdue (8)

Purdue VB

Purdue notched two opening weekend wins over good competition and displayed an efficient Boilermaker offense. Caitlin Newton and Grace Cleveland were on top of the stat sheets and the offense hit efficiently in both matchups. 

9. Pittsburgh (7)

Pitt was pushed to five by Rice in a nail-biter this opening weekend but they still picked up two top 25 wins — over Rice and Washington State. The offense had a bit of a new look with familiar faces in Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee, but then the addition of two transfers Serena Gray and Leketor Member-Meneh. 

10. Baylor (9)

Baylor remains in my top 10 at No. 10 after a split weekend to kick off its extremely tough schedule. The Bears picked up a big win over a great Minnesota team, then a big loss to the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers. This is still a strong team that will continue to develop. We already saw the adjustments they were able to make against Wisconsin mid-match, and I am looking forward to seeing it the rest of the season. 

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