The 2021 college volleyball season is already everything it has been hyped up to be, if not more. We have ranked matchups galore week after week, so talking about the top matchups every week is sure going to be fun.
Week 1 saw Wisconsin take down Baylor, Baylor take down Minnesota ... then earlier this week Stanford took down Florida. Prime examples of good teams with more losses this season.
This weekend, we have plenty of top matchups as well. Here are the top four matches you won't want to miss:
No. 7 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Baylor | Saturday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. ET
We've got yet another great top-10 matchup this weekend involving Baylor. The Bears have an intense non-conference schedule and Pitt is another challenge. Pitt already has two top 25 wins after being pushed to five by Rice and then taking down Washington State in four last weekend. I am liking the Panthers' new offense with familiar faces of Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee and the addition of Serena Gray and Leketor Member-Meneh.
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Baylor is coming off a big win against Minnesota and then a loss to Wisconsin. In the Wisconsin match, the Badgers absolutely dominated the first two sets and got the Bears completely out of rhythm. As the match went on, the Bears improved, but ultimately lost in four sets. They will be looking for redemption against another top-10 team. The Bears too are working with a new look this season, and can only get better from here. Yossiana Pressley and Marieke Van der Mark were big time performers against Wisconsin, Avery Skinner notched eight kills and Lauren Harrison stepped up big down the stretch when they took control of the third set. They will need to put all the pieced together earlier in the match. This could be a crazy good matchup.
FINAL: Pittsburgh 3, Baylor 2
No. 18 Georgia Tech vs. No. 16 UCLA | Saturday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. ET
This may not be a top-10 matchup, but it certainly has the potential to be a great one. ICYMI, Georgia Tech just upset Penn State last week. You might remember Julia Bergmann from last season’s NCAA tournament run for the Yellow Jackets, and she is showing up big time this season as well. She notched 16 kills and nine digs in the upset and senior Marina Brambilla led the offense with 21 kills. They’ll be taking on UCLA, a strong team in the Pac-12 led by star outside hitter Mac May. UCLA returns a lot of the same players from last season as well after a strong 2020-21 spring season. Now this group will have had more time together and got a lot of experience against top teams from last season.
FINAL: UCLA 3, Georgia Tech 1
2021 VOLLEYBALL: Top 7 storylines
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 20 Stanford | Sunday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. ET on Longhorn Network
The No. 1 Longhorns just faced and withstood a huge challenge in a four-set win against Minnesota. Now they’ve got No. 20 Stanford, who I might mention, took down No. 5 Florida earlier this week. Could Stanford be making a comeback this season? The Cardinal beat an extremely good and experienced Florida team in four sets and displayed a balanced offense in the win. There were FIVE players with over 8 kills … Caitie Bird led the effort with 20 kills, Natalie Berty posted 10 kills, Kendall Kipp notched nine, and Holly Campbell and McKenna Vicini added eight apiece. Vicini also hit .538 on the match. Looks like this Stanford team just needed some time to develop as a team after losing so many players, a luxury they weren't given last season in the midst of COVID-19. Stanford loaded its non conference schedule and now I am intrigued to see what they can do against the top dog, a team with the most firepower and experience and All-Americans out of anyone.
FINAL: Texas 3, Stanford 0