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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | November 9, 2021

Huge tests for new No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Wisconsin volleyball lead our top matches to watch

College volleyball rankings: A new No. 1 takes the throne on top of this week's Power 10

We have two huge matchups in college volleyball to preview ahead of Week 12. The new No. 1 team in the nation, Louisville, will have a tough challenge in Georgia Tech this week, and No. 4 Wisconsin will have a rematch against Purdue after losing to the Boilermakers just a few weeks ago. 

Here is a full breakdown of the top two matchups:

No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 14 Georgia Tech | 7 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 12 on ACCNx

Georgia tech volleyball

Alright, Louisville vs. Georgia Tech .... round two. The Cardinals are undefeated on the season and the very last perfect team, so obviously, they have already beaten Georgia Tech. The Cardinals swept the Yellow Jackets in their first meeting this season behind a great performance from Anna Stevenson with 11 kills and five blocks along and Anna DeBeer with 12 kills and three blocks.  Amaya Tillman hit .421 with 10 kills and five blocks. This is a huge reason why Louisville has been successful all season — they are incredibly balanced offensively and have a really tough block to hit around. 

Since the loss, though, Georgia Tech has been making strides. They were ranked in the Committee's top 10 reveal this season and have since risen to No. 6 in our most recent Power 10. Why? Well they took down Pittsburgh and handed the Panthers their first loss of the season. They did it with some crazy numbers. Julia Bergmann led with 24 kills at a solid .386 clip, including a pair of aces along with six digs and four total blocks. Senior right-side hitter Mariana Brambilla tallied 19 kills with an ace, four digs and three total blocks and Matti McKissock had a season-high 58 assists. They will need all of that and more to make it a good one against Louisville. 

The Cards are undefeated though and they are taking on a top-15 opponent, one that has already faced them and learned their tricks of the trade. It is difficult to beat a good team twice, and Georgia Tech is a good team with some really powerful players. The ACC has been on the rise in the past few years as a big-time volleyball conference, and this matchup is a good example as to why. This should be a good one on Friday night. 

No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Purdue | 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 12 on BTN+

Wisconsin volleyball

Who doesn't love a good old fashioned rematch? Wisconsin and Purdue will face off for the second time this season after the Boilermakers upset the Badgers in four sets on Oct. 31. It was Wisconsin's second loss of the season. This game has more implications though than just the Badgers getting redemption. Wisconsin currently sits on top of the Big Ten standings at 12-2 with just one less loss than Nebraska and Minnesota. So, another loss would give up their solo first place spot here. Purdue is fourth, but they are also sitting right on the verge of the top 10 and are fighting for a favorable position in the eyes of the NCAA volleyball committee. Selections for the tournament are just a few weeks away on Nov. 28, so this will be an important battle for them. Two wins over Wisconsin, a team that the committee ranked in the top three, would be really impressive for Purdue. 

In their four-set win over the Badgers in October, the Boilermakers outblocked Wisconsin 16 to 7 and put up four aces in the win. Those two stat lines were most likely extremely vital. Caitlin Newton and Grace Cleveland led offensively with 17 and 15 kills respectively, but Raven Colvin secured a career-setting performance, with 11 total stuffs. Among them were 10 block assists, which not only are a career-best, but the third-most by a Boilermaker in a four-set match in Purdue history. 

Wisconsin has long been known as a powerful blocking team, especially with Dana Rettke at the net for the past few years. But they were outblocked in the loss and Purdue currently ranks second in the nation with 2.89 blocks per set. So one of the best blocking teams in the NCAA, despite their four losses in the Big Ten. 

You can expect Wisconsin to come out strong. The loss to Purdue was an off-day for the Badgers. They struggled offensively and their typical aggressive service pressure was pretty much non-existent. If they play even remotely close to their normal performances, this will be a tough team for Purdue to handle. They are the No. 4 team in the nation for a reason, and when all of their components are on, it is pretty scary. 

Either way, a great matchup with some big-time implications. I will be live-blogging the entire match with live stats, scores and analysis. 

 

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