Sixty-four teams are down to 16 after three days of action in the 2022 DI women's volleyball tournament. Out of the top 16 teams seeded for the tournament, just one team, Creighton, was knocked out. Auburn knocked the BlueJays out of the tournament and Houston took down the Tigers for a spot in the regionals.
For the re-rank, I took each team's initial seeding and then took into consideration their first and second-round performances. I also took into consideration who they beat to get here. These are right-now rankings — the regular season is long gone.
Here are the remaining 16 teams in the tournament, re-ranked:
The Cougars come in as the No. 16 team for me after their two five-set wins in the tournament. The started the tournament ranked outside of the top 16 and got here by taking down South Dakota and Auburn. Against South Dakota, they won the first two sets while hitting .516 and .457, before struggling in efficiency in the third and fourth, thus allowing the comeback. They hit just .190 in the fifth but pulled out a 15-11 win. Then, they had the Tigers who had just taken down Creighton in the opening round. The Tigers were up two-sets to one before Houston came back to win it. The Cougars have been struggling a bit, but wins are wins! They will face off against one-seed Stanford in the regional.
Baylor comes in at No. 15 in my re-rank. The Bears also just barely survived an upset in a five-set thriller over Rice. The Bears finished it off in the fifth 15-11 to advance to the third. Lauren Harrison came up big with 19 kills on .333 hitting. They finished off the match strong with a .529 team hitting efficiency in the fifth and final set after struggling more earlier in the match. The Bears will take on a tough one-seed in Louisville in the regional.
14. Penn State
The Nittany Lions are my 14th team in the nation right now. They eliminated UCF in four sets after dropping the opening frame to the Golden Knights. They did however absolutely dominate in a first round, three-set win over UMBC. The Nittany Lions never allowed the Retrievers to reach 20 points. Allie Holland, Alexa Markley and Kaushauna Williams each posted seven kills in the win.
I have the Wildcats around the same placement they were before the tournament. Kentucky quite frankly was pretty under-ranked all season, and they have some serious potential in their quadrant of the bracket. I seriously considered picking them to upset San Diego in the regionals in my bracket, and I still think there is a good chance it happens. The Wildcats secured a really strong sweep over Western Kentucky in the second round. This team has a strong setter in Emma Grome and the offense has looked really balanced so far. I am excited to see how the hitters match up against San Diego.
Now for the second remaining SEC team in the tournament. I have Florida at 12 in this re-rank. In the second round, Florida served seven total aces and limited Iowa State's offense to a .110 clip with strong blocking on the match. Offensively, Marina Markova and Merritt Beason led with 12 kills apiece. I think this team is performing well and they are in a good position ahead of the big regional matchup with Pittsburgh. I picked them in my bracket to pull off the upset.
Oregon is at No. 11. I could have justified putting the Ducks at No. 10, but I decided to give Marquette the edge based solely on both of their second-round performances. The Ducks dropped a set to Arkansas, but Brooke Nuneviller and Mimi Colyer prevailed. They had to fight tooth and nail in the first three sets before the Ducks dominated the fourth to win the match and advance. I am excited for the Nebraska matchup.
Marquette makes a big jump to No. 10 based on its tournament performances, so far. I had picked Georgia Tech to pull off the slight upset over Marquette in my bracket, and quite the opposite happened. Marquette SWEPT them. Aubrey Hamilton had a big match for Marquette with 17 kills on .382 hitting. The Golden Eagles held Julia Bergmann to just 13 kills on a low .195 hitting efficiency, and Erin Moss, the star of Tech's first-round win, was held to just six kills. I was impressed by this performance and rewarded Marquette for it big-time.
9. San Diego
The Toreros come in at No. 9, dropping in my re-rank. They pulled out two four-set victories in the first two rounds and I lowered them because the teams above them have just impressed me more so far. In the first round, they dropped the third set before cruising past Northern Colorado in the fourth to pull out the victory. A win is a win, but I would have liked to see them look a little more dominant in the opening match. In the second-round four-set win over Washington State, Breanna Edwards registered 23 kills on .447 hitting and Grace Frohling added 17 kills on .441 hitting. Gabby Blossom dished out 49 assists. Kentucky will be an incredible match up, get ready for it!
The Huskers remain around No. 8 for me, which would be a two seed. I would have put them higher, but they did struggle a bit against Kansas. They took the first two sets easily before dropping the third 25-19, then in the fourth there were 13 ties and eight lead changes before Bekka Allick finally notched two in a row to win it. Either way, a battle for the Huskers and good win. If you remember, I did pick Nebraska to advance to the national semifinals, I still think this is possible. My top four teams in this ranking are not the four teams I think will make it Omaha. This is just a ranking.
Pitt comes in at No. 7 after a more-than-impressive performance over BYU in the second round. Courtney Buzzerio showed up big-time in the most recent win with 23 kills, and Rachel Fairbanks was all over the court with not just 10 kills but 20-plus assists and 13 digs. They didn't struggle one bit and limited BYU’s weapons defensively. I gave them the edge over Nebraska who had a harder time in the second round.
Stanford takes a small drop from its No. 4 spot entering the tournament, but nothing too significant. I have them just below Minnesota and Ohio State because they dropped a set to Pepperdine in the first round. Pepperdine is a really good team, yes, but for the purpose of these rankings I wanted to reward the dominance of the teams above, who technically had lower seeds and should have faced tougher opponents. But, Kendall Kipp in the second round just dominated LSU. She posted 24 kills on .667 hitting in just three sets of action. Kami Miner dished out 45 assists. Yhey looked unstoppable. This is very much so still my pick out of this quadrant to make it to Omaha.
5. Ohio State
Ohio State takes a HUGE jump in the rankings since their tournament debut. As we all know, this team went on a four-game losing streak to end the season and just completely lost its mojo. It was tough to make picks surrounding this team in the bracket, because I had no idea if they were going to keep on that path or get out of the rut. Based on their first- and second-round performance, I would like to think the Buckeyes are back. As a No. 3 seed, they swept Southern California with ease, when I thought that might be a tough matchup. So, OSU gets a big boost ahead of the rematch with Minnesota in the regionals.
The Gophers got a little boost too. Some might disagree with this, and I understand the argument that they maybe faced slightly easier opponents in the first two rounds. But, I just couldn't ignore the roll this team is on right now. They are playing their best volleyball led by Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair. They pulled off two easy sweeps including a win over a pretty good UNI team with a pesky defense in the second round.
Wisconsin comes in at No. 3. Wisconsin would have played Washington in the second round, but TCU pulled off the upset instead. The Badgers then secured a sweep in both rounds and the dominance continues. They cruised through the first round with a very quick sweep over Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac got 15 points in the first set, but then never passed 10 in the second or third set. The Badgers defense held them to negative hitting and registered 20 blocks. Devyn Robinson led offensively with 11 kills on .667 hitting. In the second, it was Sarah Franklin who had the big match this time for the Badgers with 13 kills on .464 hitting.
The Cards were my No. 2 team heading into the tournament and now they have a big dominant sweep over Purdue on top of that. We’re talking a good team out of the Big Ten. No problem AT ALL for the Cards. If you watched them they are playing at a really high level right now. Amaya Tillman had a great match with 11 kills on .600 hitting with two blocks. Elena Scott put on a show as well in the backcourt with so many saves — totaling 22 digs on the match.
And of course, Texas comes in at No. 1. The Longhorns were dominant the first two rounds, swept a good Georgia team that upset Towson on the first day. They are my pick to win it all, and undoubtedly stay at No. 1 in my re-rank.