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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | September 9, 2021

Here are the three top college volleyball matchups to watch in Week 3

Must-watch matches in Week 3 of college volleyball

Week 2 of college volleyball did not disappoint. We saw a lot of movement within the top 10 in the AVCA rankings and our NCAA.com Power 10 rankings, including Pittsburgh moving to No. 4, Kentucky dropping after getting upset by Creighton, and more. If you missed it, check out the latest Power 10 rankings. 

This week there are even more top matchups to get excited for — we have 10 listed in the top 25 matchups during non-conference schedules for this weekend. But, these are the three we are most excited for: 

No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Kentucky — Friday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on BTN

Wisconsin volleyball

The first top matchup we'll cover is No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Kentucky, AKA the reigning national champions. Kentucky just suffered its first loss of the season and in a big way — unranked Creighton swept the Wildcats on their home court in the Bluegrass battle. Now they will go on the road to face the No. 2 ranked Badgers. This will be the Badgers' second top 10 matchup since defeating Baylor, in a 3-1 win.

Wisconsin has been super impressive so far this season. They currently lead the nation in hitting percentage at .363, largely in part due to Dana Rettke who leads the Big Ten with a .544 hitting percentage. They have been really successful in their serve and pass game this season as well, outscoring opponents 25-3 from the service line. They get production out of the middle too which could cause problems for any team. Against Baylor, Rettke and Danielle Hart combined for 28 kills with ZERO errors. 

The Wildcats actually lead the all-time series, 4-2 against the Badgers. The last meeting came in 2008, a Badger sweep of the Wildcats. Madi Skinner leads the team with 3.67 kills per set, followed by senior Alli Stumler with 3.39. They did lose four starters from their national championship team, including the 2020 National Player of the Year Madison Lilley. Emma Grome has replaced Lilley as the setter this season, she is currently averaging 10.28 assists per set. 

No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 BYU — Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ACC Network Extra

Pitt Volleyball

This weekend will be the Panthers' first time playing at home this season. Pitt just got a big boost in the latest rankings to No. 4 in the AVCA and my Power 10 after taking down Baylor and Tennessee last weekend. This season’s success is coming off of a historical NCAA tournament run for them in 2020, making it to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history. Kayla Lund returns along with Chinaza Ndee, and they received the transfer of Serena Gray from Penn State and Leketor Member-Meneh from Missouri. Member-Meneh trails right behind Lund and Ndee in scoring with 2.47 kills per set. 

SWEEPSTAKES: No. 3 Nebraska volleyball takes down No. 19 Creighton in dominating sweep

BYU has been knocking on the door of the top 10 the past two weeks and now will get its chance against a top-five opponent. They are 6-0 so far on the season, they’ve got four All-Americans from last year, and on the contrary, will be playing on the road for the first time this weekend. Kenzie Koerber transferred from Utah this season to add another boost to their roster. She and Taylen Ballard-Nixon lead the scoring effort with 2.8 kills per set. Heather Gneiting currently leads the NCAA in hitting percentage with a .603 clip

No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 10 Louisville — Friday at 3 p.m. ET on FloVolleyball

Louisville Volleyball

I love this matchup because it is our first time seeing both Purdue and Louisville against really tough competition this season. The Cardinals are undefeated but have yet to face a ranked opponent, which is why they have yet to break into my Power 10. Purdue is coming off of a win over No. 25 Washington State last weekend with Caitlyn Newton and Grace Cleveland leading the way. Newton is averaging 3.69 kills per set this season and Cleveland is contributing 3.54 kills per set. 

The Cardinals are led offensively again by Anna DeBeer and have also displayed some great balance with multiple threats. They have won every single match so far this season by a landslide, except for a five-set win over Arizona State. Anna Stevenson and Aiko Jones are big-time players for the Cardinals to also watch out for this weekend. This one could be a pretty even throw-down in my opinion. 

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