The 2022 DI women's volleyball season begins Aug. 26. As a quick refresher, Wisconsin won its first ever national title this past December by beating Nebraska. We saw an all-Big Ten national championship five-set thriller for the title, as the Huskers put together an incredible tournament run sparked by mostly underclassmen.
The volleyball scene loses the star power of players like Dana Rettke and Lauren Stivrins this season. But there was a LOT of interesting moves in the transfer portal. For example, former Penn State star Kaitlyn Hord will suit up in Husker red this season, Kentucky's Madi Skinner will be a Longhorn, Kansas' Caroline Crawford will be at Wisconsin, and so much more.
With that being said, many of the teams that finished in the top 10 or so last season will be facing off very soon as non-conference play kicks off this season. Stanford finished last season No. 21, but scheduled one of the toughest non-conference schedules of anyone with Florida, Texas, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Louisville all back to back.
We took a look at some of the big matchups to look forward to early in the season. These are all before each team hits in-conference schedules.
Welcome to opening weekend! Here are two big matchups that should be on your radar.
- Baylor vs. Minnesota — Baylor and Minnesota will face off on Friday, Aug. 26. at the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge in Fort Worth. Minnesota lost Stephanie Samedy, their leader, but gained a few players out of the transfer portal and a strong freshman class led by Mckenna Wucherer, the Wisconsin Player of the Year. Baylor will be their very first opponent of the season. The Bears lost Yossiana Pressley, large shoes to fill, so it will be interesting to see how they fill in the holes this season.
- Texas vs. Ohio State — The Longhorns will take on Ohio State also as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge, on back-to-back days. The Longhorns also had a slew of transfers — Skyler Fields departed with the program, but Madi Skinner and Zoe Fleck transferred in. Plus, Logan Eggleston and Asjia O'Neal, among others are back. Ohio State will be their very first matchups of the season. The Buckeyes have established themselves as a powerful Big Ten program, and they did it with a young group. Almost all of them return.
- Baylor vs. Wisconsin — This should be a fun matchup as well. We will also likely see a reunion of Shanel Bramschreiber with Baylor, her former team. It's been reported, though not officially announced, that Bramschreiber has been added to Wisconsin's team as a grad transfer.
- Texas vs. Ohio State game 2 — Rematch! One day later.
- Stanford vs. Florida — The Cardinal starts a difficult stretch with the Gators. Kevin Hambly scheduled one of, if not the most difficult non-conference schedules for his group. Following its 2019 national title and the loss of a legendary senior class, the Cardinal struggled in the shortened 2020 season and then had hot and cold moments in 2021. I would look out for this team in 2022. It begins with making a big statement with this tough schedule.
- Texas vs. Minnesota — The Longhorns continue with a mid-week matchup against the Gophers. Minnesota finished last season ranked just two spots below Texas after a pretty good tournament run.
- Pitt vs. BYU — This should be a good one. The Cougars typically have one problem come tournament seeding, and that is strength of schedule since they compete in the WCC. The Cougars did schedule four tough opponents in their non-conference schedule: Pitt, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and in-state rival Utah. Pitt will be the first, and likely highest ranked, of them all.
- Minnesota vs. Florida — The Gators have a big-name transfer in AC Fitzpatrick from Penn State. I am excited to see her compete ahead of SEC competition against the likes of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Stanford.
- Louisville vs. Ohio State — Finally, the Cardinals. Louisville spent almost ALL of 2021 as the No. 1 team in the nation. It could have continued too... but the eventual champs, Wisconsin, just barely beat them in a five-set thriller. Hence why they finished as the No. 3 team in the NCAA last year. They have a ton of talent returning, too, so an OSU matchup should be fun.
- Texas vs. Stanford — The Cardinal continue their tough schedule with a date with the dominant Texas Longhorns.
- Georgia Tech vs. BYU — The Yellow Jackets had a historic season in 2021. We all should be excited to see how they show out in 2022. The Jackets are hosting the Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta that BYU and Ohio State will be attending for some good non-conference matchups.
There are a lot of 🔥 matchups to tune into on Sept. 9.
- Wisconsin vs. Kentucky — Kentucky won its first-ever title in 2020, but lost a lot of star power, and even more this year with the departure of Madi Skinner. I'm excited to see what they put on the court for 2022.
- Louisville vs. Purdue — Here is Purdue on this list. Louisville will be hands down the toughest opponent on the Boilermakers non-conference schedule. They will need this before the wringer of Big Ten play begins.
- BYU vs. Ohio State — Ohio State has a hefty non-conference schedule as well, and like I mentioned earlier, these ranked matchups are super important for a BYU team playing in the WCC.
- Penn State vs. Stanford — PSU is on the list for the first time. Penn State will be under new head coach Katie Schumaker-Cawley after the retirement of Russ Rose. We will likely see a lot of new faces as a lot of former players departed with the program. They will go up against Stanford — the two programs have both won multiple national titles in the past. Now they will face off as they attempt to re-emerge as national powers this season.
- Minnesota vs. Stanford — Another tough matchup on Stanford's calendar to watch out for.
- Georgia Tech vs. Ohio State — Here is the last matchup of the Georgia Tech Classic. Two programs on the rise in past years will face off.
- Nebraska vs. Stanford — This has been an incredible matchup in years past, with two powerhouse programs battling it out.
- Wisconsin vs, Florida — I am way too excited for this one. The matchup will be in the Kohl Center that can hold 17,000 fans. That's one factor. But I am also thinking back to the thrilling five-set matchup between Wisconsin and Florida in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in 2020. Excited to see them face off again.
You kept asking. We listened. It's happening.— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) June 6, 2022
See you at the Kohl Center in September. pic.twitter.com/TUVLRiAvKw
- Louisville vs. Stanford — This feels like the old vs. the new. Stanford is a team that has won 10 national titles in the past. Louisville has not won a single one. But the Cardinals have been the top dogs as of late and the Cardinal have not. Excited to see them face off this year.
- Ohio State vs. Pittsburgh — Pitt does not have a TON of tough opponents on its non-conference schedule. So this one will be important. Leketor Member-Meneh arose last year as a phenom when no one expected it and put Pitt amongst the top teams in the nation, so I am excited to see what they have this year.
- Nebraska vs. Kentucky — The Huskers will face Kentucky out of the SEC right before Big Ten play begins.