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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | September 20, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Louisville jumps to No. 3, BYU enters latest Power 10

College volleyball rankings: Louisville rises, BYU enters into Power 10

There are some more big changes in this week's Power 10 rankings. This top 10 is based heavily on the eye test (watching these teams perform), and ranked wins and losses. Game results matter. 

Rankings can be interpreted differently, but keep in mind that ranked wins matter most in this version. 

Here are my latest Power 10 volleyball rankings after Week 4: 

1. Texas (1)

Texas stays at No. 1 with little explanation needed. Last week the veteran group notched three wins over Arizona, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. 

2. Wisconsin (2)

Wisconsin also remains at No. 2 this week. My top two teams have been the same since my preseason Power 10 rankings. I don't see a reason to move them considering what they proved last season and the fact that they remain undefeated this year. 

3. Louisville (5)

Louisville Volleyball

Louisville takes the No. 3 spot, with little doubt. The Cardinals are now 10-0 on the season, their best start since 2005, and they have three ranked wins with a sweep over Purdue, a five-set win over reigning national champion Kentucky and a dominating sweep over Nebraska on the ROAD. 

The win over Nebraska was super impressive. They shut out a very skilled team in a hostile environment at the Devaney Center and looked elite in all aspects of the game. Their blocking was unstoppable, serving was strong, offense and defense in rhythm — this team is playing top-notch volleyball, and it is impressive. The Cards held Nebraska to .046 hitting and out-blocked the Huskers 22 to 13. Anna Stevenson led with 11 kills on .583 hitting, followed by Anna DeBeer and Jones with 10 kills apiece.

4. Pitt (3)

Pitt comes in at No. 4. The Panthers, too, are 10-0 with multiple ranked wins and are looking really good this year. They have swept their last three opponents after a big ranked win over BYU in four sets. To explain my thinking here, Louisville is undefeated with three ranked wins over Purdue, Nebraska and Kentucky, while Pitt is undefeated with ranked wins over BYU, Baylor, Washington State and Rice. So slightly higher ranked wins for Louisville, which is why I gave the Cardinals the No. 3 spot. 

5. Ohio State (4)

The Buckeyes are also 10-0 on the season but ranked below Louisville and Pitt for me because they have fewer ranked wins on the season, with just one over Washington. They were also pushed to five sets by Notre Dame this past weekend, but held on for the win. They are headed into Big Ten play this weekend with a match against Purdue coming up. 

6. BYU (NR)

BYU Volleyball

Rankings the teams in spots six through 10 was tough. After Ohio State, the remaining teams either have multiple losses but with tough schedules or fewer losses with weaker schedules. Again, this is based off of ranked wins and the eye test. 

I am going with BYU at No. 6 after the Cougars took down Utah in a rivalry sweep, also in straight sets. The Cougars have just one loss on the season at 10-1, but it was to a strong Pittsburgh team in what was a really competitive match. So the ranked win makes the difference here and their 10-1 record explains why I have them over the rest of the teams in the Power 10. 

7. Washington (6)

Washington comes in below BYU just because I value the ranked wins more. This team is 7-1 on the season with one loss to Ohio State, but the Huskies haven't played a ranked opponent since. I am really looking forward to seeing them play against Utah this week. 

8. Purdue (9)

The Boilermakers are 8-1 on the season with their one loss coming against No. 3 Louisville and they have wins over Tennessee and Washington State. I gave Washington a slight edge because of the eye test and their success last season (making it to the national semifinals with almost the exact same team), but these two teams feel pretty similar to me. 

9. Kentucky (NR)

Kentucky volleyball

Teams number nine and 10 were especially tough to rank because there are many teams to consider that have more than two losses but also extremely tough schedules. Minnesota for one (with three losses but two ranked wins), Stanford (three losses, but to highly ranked teams, and three ranked wins), and Utah (two losses but one to an unranked team in Boise State) were all options.

At No. 9, I am going with Kentucky after the Wildcats pulled off a ranked win over Stanford on Sunday. The reigning champs move to 7-3 on the season and those losses include one to Wisconsin and a five-set heart-breaker to Louisville – which, by the way, I give the team kudos for pushing the Cardinals to five sets in a match that could have gone either way. The win over Stanford pushes them over the hump with a ranked win under their belt, and from watching this team, I think they should be in the top 10. 

10. Stanford (10)

Oregon's vulnerability to Harvard kept them out of the rankings for me, and while Minnesota and Stanford are extremely close, I give Stanford the edge for better wins and losses to higher-ranked teams. This team has losses to Kentucky in five sets, Minnesota in a competitive match and the No. 1 team in the country, Texas. But the Cardinal has three ranked wins over Nebraska, Penn State and Florida. I value that… so Stanford remains in the top 10. 

Nebraska drops out of my Power 10 after notching three consecutive losses last week to Utah, Stanford and Louisville –  three great teams. However, as this Husker team continues to shuffle around players and find itself, I still expect big things from Nebraska this season.

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