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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | November 17, 2021

Here are 4 top matchups to watch in college volleyball with two weeks left in the regular season

NCAA women's volleyball bracket predictions ahead of the selection show

That Nov. 28 date for the DI women's volleyball selection show seemed incredibly far away, but it is creeping up on us! Just two weeks left in the regular season ... can you believe it? 

With that being said, there are still SO many good matchups in the last two weeks. We are going out with a bang, that is for sure. Here are the top matchups you won't want to miss this week, and yes, these will all have huge implications for selections on the 28th. 

BRACKET PREDICTIONS: 2021 volleyball projections, two weeks from selections

No. 3 Pitt at No. 13 Georgia Tech | Friday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. ET on ACCN

Pitt Volleyball

REMATCH! Pitt has just two losses  this year, and one of those came to Georgia Tech. It is one if the biggest reasons that Tech was ranked in the committee's top 10 reveal as well. It was Pitt's first loss on the season, leaving just two undefeated teams left in the NCAA at the time. The Yellow Jackets won in five sets behind a big-time outing from Julia Bergmann. She piled up 24 kills at a solid .386 clip, including a pair of aces along with six digs and four total blocks. Mariana Brambilla added 9 kills with an ace, four digs and three total block and Matti McKissock put up a season-high 58 assists. So it was a great win, but it took a great performance for the Jackets to do it. 

Pitt still remains in the topmthree of the AVCA poll, while Tech is tied for 13. The committee however, (which is what matters for selections) saw Tech as a top-10 team. Since Georgia Tech beat Pitt, they have since lost to Louisville for the second time, both in three sets, and Pitt also lost to Louisville in a five-setter. Now, they will rematch to see if Tech can pull off the upset again. Georgia Tech will be looking to stay highly regarded by the committee, and Pitt is vying for a top-four seed in the tournament with the hopes of getting to host if they make it past the first and second round. 

Pitt is coming off of a close call against Syracuse last week. They won in five sets after giving up a 2-0 lead. But Leketor Member-Meneh has been a rockstar for the Panthers; she posted 23 kills in that win. Georgia Tech's last game was the three-set loss to Louisville. Like I mentioned, it was the second one of those this season. So, they will be looking to prove themselves here against another top-three team. 

Penn State's slate this weekend in the Big Ten

I say Penn State's slate, because they have two top matchups this weekend and will be looking to upset both Nebraska and Ohio State. The Huskers, Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are vying for a favorable seeding, so these are all important matchups nearing selections. Here are the matchups and game information:

No. 15 Penn State at No. 11 Nebraska | Friday, Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on BTN

No. 15 Penn State at No. 10 Ohio State | Sunday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. ET on BTN

All three of these teams are looking to prove themselves before selections. Nebraska and Penn State already faced once this year, when the Huskers won in four sets. Ohio State and Penn State faced even earlier in the season, with PSU getting a sweep. But Penn State has since also lost to Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue, so the Nittany Lions fell to No. 15 in the rankings. 

The Huskers beat Penn State in the midst of their 10-0 winning streak in the Big Ten this season. It was on the brink of Lauren Stivrins' return, and they seemed to be on the upswing. Madi Kubik was the star of the match for the Huskers as she equaled her season high with 19 kills and added 12 digs, a block and an ace for her second double-double of the year. As you might know, the Huskers spent the better half of their non-conference schedule mixing up their lineup, incorporating freshmen talent, etc. It seemed that they had landed on a lineup that didn't include previous Husker offensive star Lexi Sun in the starting rotation, but Sun has been back in the mix as of late. In Nebraska's latest win over Indiana, she led the scoring effort with 11 kills and two service aces. She started alongside Lindsay Krause and Madi Kubik as the three hitters. Ally Batenhorst wasn't in the starting lineup, but still notched 11 kills herself. I am excited to see Sun back involved in a big matchup against Penn State. The last ranked matchup they had was a three-set loss to Ohio State. 

RANKINGS: Latest Power 10 rankings | Latest AVCA top 25

Penn State is coming off of four straight wins since its surprising loss to Illinois. In the last win PSU displayed an extremely balanced offensive front with Adanna Rollins, Kaitlyn Hord, Jonni Parker and Allie Holland all in double-digit kills. They dropped in the rankings following the loss to Illinois, and now they have two huge opponents to prove themselves before selections. 

Once they get past the Nebraska on Friday night, they've got a rematch against Ohio State. This one is a different situation though, since PSU swept Ohio State the first matchup. They did it behind a huge performance from Rollins, who notched 14 kills on .524 hitting efficiency. The Nittany Lions hit a great .380 on the match to win it, and will need a lights out offensive performance again to get past Ohio State twice in the same season. 

The Buckeyes have won three straight, including a big win over Nebraska since its last loss to Minnesota. They were ranked within the top 10 of the committee's first reveal, and will want to stay there after losing to Minnesota twice this season and to Wisconsin and PSU. They will need a win here to help their case. 

No. 5 Wisconsin at No. 9 Minnesota | Sunday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET on BTN

Wisconsin volleyball

WOW I am excited for this one. For one, we have a top-10 matchup on our hands. Minnesota has been on fire lately with recent wins over Nebraska and Ohio State twice. But both Minnesota AND Wisconsin fell at the hands of Purdue just last weekend, so both will have something to prove here. Minnesota is trying to stay in the top 10 and get a favorable seed within the top 16 on the 28th, and Wisconsin definitely wants to be a top-four seed. It will be less likely for the Badgers if they notch their fourth loss on the season. 

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS: We are tracking all 32 AQs for the tournament

Yes, Minnesota and Wisconsin already faced this season and the Badgers took them down in a straight sweep. But that was before Minnesota got hot, and a night where Wisconsin had it all going for them, including a standout performance from Julia Orzol. The thing about Wisconsin lately, and especially after they lost Danielle Hart to injury, is that they are tough to beat when it is all working, but if you throw one thing off they can be dismantled. They ARE beatable, Purdue clearly showed that twice by slowing down Dana Rettke. When they swept Minnesota, it was all on. Orzol was dominating offensively, they were applying great service pressure with five service aces, and Dana Rettke was on fire with a .611 hitting percentage.   

Minnesota has seen an uptick in performance from Jena Wenaas, on top of Stephanie Samedy's offensive power. Wenaas has been a great addition to help balance out the offensive effort ... she led the win over Nebraska with 22 kills herself. Samedy still though posted 23 kills in the loss to Purdue, followed by Wenaas with 10. 

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