There was surprisingly not a ton of action in the college volleyball world last week. At least not like we have become accustomed to. I probably could have sent out the same Power 10 as last week and called it a day. But, volleyball still happened and I got to watch some great matchups, so the more I sat on it, I made a few changes.
It’s a Power 10 after all, right?
If I could have it my way, I would have multiple ties. This is what my ideal Power 10 would like this week:
T-1 — Nebraska and Wisconsin
T-3 — Stanford, Louisville, Florida
T-6 — Oregon and Washington State
8 — BYU
9 — Pittsburgh
10 — Tennessee
But that’s no fun… so let’s try and order them. At least for this week:
1. Nebraska (Prev. 2)
One of the biggest changes coms right at the top, as Nebraska takes over the No. 1 spot for me. Now, I easily could've kept Wisconsin here. Both teams are undefeated on the season and Wisconsin did absolutely nothing to move down.
But when you compare the two, Nebraska has been a machine. They are not just winning, they are dominating. This past week they swept two ranked opponents, including a clean sweep over the committee’s No. 10 team, Minnesota. They have dropped all of three sets this season. This team certainly has the talent, but we thought perhaps they would have some growing pains with such a young core. Bergen Reiley taking over at setter as just a freshman, Harper Murray and Andi Jackson coming in and starting as freshmen... but, no. If you thought that, you were mistaken. They look as mature and seasoned as it gets. The offense is spectacular, but even when they are not hitting their best, the Huskers will still dominate the game defensively to make up for it. They lead the nation in opponent hitting percentage — holding opponents to a .101 clip on average. This defense is top-notch, led by Lexi Rodriguez. So although Wisconsin and Nebraska are practically tied in my mind, I’ll throw the Huskers a bone for how dominating they've been.
2. Wisconsin (1)
Like I mentioned above, the Badgers did nothing to move down. Wisconsin secured two sweeps this past week over Northwestern and Indiana to follow up a five-set come-from-behind win over Florida. In my mind, they are tied for No. 1. The only difference with Nebraska right now is just how dominating their wins are — the Badgers have been pushed to five sets a few more times this season.
This is a national championship-caliber team, though. The talent and experience is immense and this team is hard to defend. They can quite literally hurt you from anywhere on the court. Not many missing pieces or weak spots on this team. I am so excited for the Big Ten race this season with Nebraska and Wisconsin the clear top dogs.
3. Stanford (5)
Here comes the change of heart — Stanford, Louisville and Florida are so difficult to order. I had Stanford lower because it had one more loss than Louisville and Florida. But, if you based on head-to-head alone, it would be Florida (who beat Stanford handedly), then Stanford (who beat Louisville in five), then Louisville. But there are other factors too, and multiple ways to do this. The Cardinal had a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule, and one of their losses to Florida was without Caitie Baird. Plus, the loss to Nebraska doesn’t seem as bad when they are the No. 1 team in my eyes.
4. Louisville (3)
I’ll go with the Cardinals next, even though, again, this could be ordered many ways. The win over Washington State is also starting to look better as the Cougars continue to make waves this season with big, ranked wins. Louisville is a complete team with one of the best liberos in the country in Elena Scott.
5. Florida (4)
And then Florida. Even though Kennedy Muff is an outstanding setter, I don’t think this is the same team without Alexis Stucky right away. They are going to need some time to adjust to a new setter, and re-build up those connections. So that is the only reason why I decided to put a full-strength Louisville and Stanford ahead of them. But, gosh they pulled out another five-set come-from-behind win over a strong Georgia team. This team loves five-setters and you have got to give them so much credit. Sofia Victoria and AC Fitzpatrick have been incredible too, taking some of the load off of Kennedy Martin and making this offense a little harder to defend. Elli McKissock is always giving her team extra opportunities and this team always impresses me in serve receive. Sounds cliché too, but the heart of this team is a big factor. They are rallying together after losing Stucky, and they are fighting together day in and day out. I know they are only going to continue to improve the more time they have with Muff as the season goes on. If I could have them tied at No. 3, I would.
6. Oregon (6)
I'm keeping Oregon at No. 6 for now. This spot will be very quickly decided on the court this week as the Ducks take on Washington State. The Ducks and Cougars have similar resumes so far this season, so I am pumped for this matchup. Oregon seems to have all of the pieces as well, and they only slipped up once in a five-set loss to Minnesota this year.
7. Washington State (7)
The Cougars stay put at No. 7 with the Oregon matchup looming. This team skyrocketed into the rankings this season, but just survived Arizona in five sets last week. Either way, they pulled out the win and only have one loss on the season to Louisville.
COUGS REMAIN RED, HOT, AND ROLLING! 11 STRAIGHT!— Washington State Volleyball (@WSUCougarsVB) September 24, 2023
📺 Pac-12 Arizona pic.twitter.com/YCXPXUErtX
8. BYU (9)
BYU heads to Austin to take on Texas twice this week. The Cougars were almost my team of the week after taking down Baylor and Houston handedly in Week 5. It is really great to see more ranked matchups on their schedule now that they are in the Big 12, and they have two big ones this week.
Don’t blink👀 pic.twitter.com/lqVCZsdO4o— BYU Women’s Volleyball (@BYUwvolleyball) September 23, 2023
9. Pitt (8)
Pitt was not included in the DI committee’s first top-10 reveal on Sunday, but I'm keeping the Panthers in my rankings over teams with more losses. The Panthers have two losses, but to top-10 teams — Oregon and BYU. Some teams below them have worse wins to squads further outside the top 10 or not ranked at all. Pitt has swept its last five opponents as well.
10. Tennessee (NR)
Welcome to the Power 10, Tennessee. We have another SEC team entering the chat. This was Georgia Tech's spot last week, but the Jackets' wins look less desirable now as Ohio State continues to lose more games. GT still has the win over Penn State, but a loss to Georgia too. Tennessee, on the other hand, has been on fire with just one loss — in five sets — to Wisconsin. The Vols just swept Kentucky last week and Morgahn Fingall has looked like one of the best players in the country. So welcome, Tennessee.
What a win 🤩 pic.twitter.com/tDKoaimusL— Tennessee Volleyball (@Vol_VBall) September 24, 2023