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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | September 20, 2022

Here are the top women's college volleyball matchups to watch in Week 5

College volleyball rankings: Florida enters Power 10 after wild week

I am not sure that there is anything that could beat last week in college volleyball, but Week 5 is sure going to try. There were countless crazy matchups last week that made for an awfully difficult Power 10 rankings this week. Now, I am going to highlight three matchups coming up this week that you will not want to miss. 

No. 17 Pepperdine vs No. 4 San Diego | 10 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept.  22, on WCC Network

The San Diego women's volleyball team

Here is a big one. San Diego has burst onto the scene this year, and has made its way up to No. 4 in the latest AVCA ranking. I placed them at No. 5 in my Power 10 rankings following a few huge wins this season. They have already taken down Pittsburgh in a five-set battle to open the season, and they SWEPT Ohio State. The only loss came against the No. 2 team in the nation, Louisville, in four sets. They played Ohio State on Sept. 3 but haven't faced anyone ranked since then. The reason for the big surge in the rankings was mostly due to the fact that the teams ahead of them started to fall off, and San Diego's resume proved better. Now they get a chance to prove they deserve to stay with another big matchup against Pepperdine. 

Pepperdine has been hot. They do have two losses on the season, but one was a sweep against Nebraska and the other was another sweep at the hands of Northwestern. But they followed up the loss with a huge win over then-No. 6 Minnesota. Freshman Emily Hellmuth had a career night, posting 21 kills on an impressive .516 hitting percentage for the Waves. Grace Chillingworth, Rachel Ahrens and Meg Brown were also big with 11 kills apiece. I am excited to watch them face another top-10 team in San Diego to open WCC play. It is also so great to see two really competitive teams in the WCC this season. They will have another tough matchup in the very same week against No. 16 BYU, so watch out for that one as well. 

No. 7 Ohio State vs No. 3 Nebraska | 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 24, on BTN+

Nebraska's Kaitlyn Hord.

Next, I have this huge top-10 battle between Nebraska and Ohio State. You'd think maybe the Buckeyes would get a break after their crazy-difficult non-conference schedule. But no, they play in the Big Ten and have Nebraska right out of the gates. The Buckeyes are 4-4 on the season, and when you look at how tough their schedule has been, you might honestly understand it. They did pull out three good wins over Louisville, BYU and Georgia Tech, and just when it seemed like they were on the rise, they were just swept by Pitt last weekend. Nebraska too is looking for a big ranked win. They likely did not take kindly to losing to Stanford in Week 4. They followed it up with a sweep over Kentucky, and remained as a top-three team in the country. But a win over a top-10 team would further solidify that spot. 

It is also important to note that the Huskers have been without Ally Batenhorst, who was big for them last season as a freshman. Whitney Lauenstein has been on absolute fire offensively, and Kaitlyn Hord had a big game for the Huskers last week. Ohio State has one of the best setters in the nation in Mac Podraza. 

No. 6 Wisconsin vs No. 8 Minnesota | 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 25, on BTN

The Wisconsin volleyball team.

Last but certainly not least, another huge Big Ten battle between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This one should be REALLY good. The Badgers are coming off of a disappointing loss to Florida. Not only because it was a five-set loss, but because it was in front of an NCAA regular-season record crowd of 16,833 mostly Badger fans at the Kohl Center. The Gators took the first two sets pretty easily, and the Badgers looked totally lost as a team. Danielle Hart was pretty consistent for them, though, leading with 10 kills and eight blocks. Anna Smrek came off the bench and was a huge spark both offensively and defensively, too, but overall the offense struggled. They turned it around a bit and tried to pull off the reverse sweep, but fell short in the fifth. I am looking forward to seeing how they respond in this matchup against another really good team. 

Minnesota also played Florida, and beat them in four sets. But, the Gophers just suffered a loss to Pepperdine in Week 4. Mckenna Wucherer did make her collegiate debut in the match, though, and posted 13 kills. She was a very highly regarded as a recruit coming in, and now that she is back, she should provide a nice boost to Minnesota's offense. This team will be looking for a big win over Wisconsin after dropping to No. 8 in the latest AVCA poll. 

Full schedule of ranked matchups: 

Thursday: 

Friday: 

Saturday:

Sunday: 

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