We had some great matchups in the opening weekend of college volleyball, but things are only going to get more heated going forward. Top teams scheduled hot and heavy for their non-conference schedules in 2022, and we have some great matchups coming up this week.
Here are four top matchups you won't want to miss in Week 2 of college volleyball:
No. 8 Ohio State vs No. 3 Louisville | Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. ET on ACCN
I am excited about this one. The Buckeyes continue their extremely tough stretch of non-conference opponents with the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals. They are coming off of a tough opening weekend and two big losses to the top-seeded Texas Longhorns. They struggled in a lot of facets of the game against Texas, especially in the passing game. They were able to get some momentum going at a few points, but they were never able to maintain it and hardly ever able to close out a set. Rylee Rader was anticipated to be a big-time contributor this season for the Buckeyes, considering her performance last season as just a sophomore, but she was not a huge factor against Texas. Mac Podraza had a hard time getting her the ball, and that all goes back to passing.
Louisville will be another tall task. This team is loaded in talent, with Anna DeBeer, Aiko Jones and Amaya Tillman in the middle, Claire Chaussee, and Elena Scott anchoring a strong backcourt. The Cards handled their first three opponents with ease, so this should be their first tough, ranked matchup of the season. You won't want to miss it.
Texas took down Minnesota in four sets on Wednesday night. Here is a set-by-set recap.
We already have a top-five matchup in just the second week of college volleyball. The Gophers are a top-five team thanks to taking down Baylor last week in their season-opener. Minnesota debuted some new talent on the court this season and we saw the return of Taylor Landfair after she missed most of the season last year due to injury. She and Jenna Weenas shined at the corners, and freshman Carter Booth contributed in her collegiate debut. So, some really promising signs for the Gophers, but now they face the toughest task of all just one week in, with the top-seeded Longhorns.
By tough task, I mean this Texas team has it all. They brought back an incredible core of Logan Eggleston, Molly Phillips and Asjia O'Neal, and then a slew of transfers. Zoe Fleck, one of those transfers, won Big 12 defensive player of the week last week after her opening weekend performance, and Madi Skinner, another transfer, followed right behind Eggleston in scoring for the Longhorns. Eggleston totaled 33 kills over the weekend and five service aces. They were able to dismantle an experienced Ohio State team. OSU returned almost all of its starters from last year, so I didn't expect them to have growing pains early on. But they still really struggled to get anything going against Texas, and suffered in the passing game. Minnesota will need to be aggressive with Texas early on in this match. I am excited to see how they handle the Longhorns early in the season.
Defending champions Wisconsin took down Marquette in four sets.
Next, I have an in-state battle between Marquette and Wisconsin. There is a pretty good distance between Marquette and Wisconsin in the rankings, but Marquette had a big opening weekend with a win over a highly-ranked Kentucky team. Aubrey Hamilton led with 18 kills and two blocks in the match, followed by Ella Foti, a freshman, who added 12 kills. This match will be good for a Wisconsin team coming off its first loss of the season to Baylor. The Badgers lost in five sets, despite a 22-kill performance from Sarah Franklin. Julia Orzol and Devyn Robinson followed Franklin in points over the weekend, and Anna Smrek led in blocks. But we will likely need to see Smrek more involved offensively as they move forward.