In just one week of NCAA volleyball matches, already so much has happened. We’ve seen big upsets, unbelievable individual performances, and awe-inspiring comebacks.
Here’s a quick rundown of the top stories of the season so far as we prepare for another round of matchups this weekend.
Sweet Victory For Jasmyn Martin & Florida State
After playing in 29 of 34 matches in 2017 as a freshman, outside hitter Jasmyn Martin spent most of the 2018 season riding the Minnesota bench, so the news that she had decided to transfer in the offseason didn’t come as a big surprise.
What was surprising, however, was the way she led her new team, Florida State, to a sweep of the Gophers, who were ranked No. 3 in the AVCA preseason poll, in the second match of the 2019 season. The junior topped all players with 16 kills, hitting .500, to help FSU secure its highest-ranked win in program history.
You know that had to feel good.
Florida State then cracked this week’s top 25 poll, coming in at No. 22 with a 1-1 record, having lost to Wisconsin in the season opener. Minnesota fell five spots to No. 8.
The Gophers are now 1-2 after losing a Wednesday night match to Texas 25-23, 29-27, 35-33, but don’t expect them to stay down for long. Despite returning all but one starter, Minnesota has to integrate a new setter (UCLA transfer Kylie Miller) into its lineup, and once the team gets back in rhythm, it will be dangerous.
National POW Rasmussen Lights The Fire For Hawaii
Hawaii opened the season by hosting the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, and the home team went undefeated, upsetting preseason No. 21 San Diego and No. 13 Washington and adding a defeat of St. John’s to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2015.
The performance secured Hawaii a spot in this week’s top 25, coming in at No. 20, the team’s first time in the top 25 since the 2017 preseason poll.
Jolie Rasmussen, a 6-2 redshirt junior outside hitter who transferred to Hawaii from Oregon after the 2018 season, provided the spark for Hawaii’s stellar start to the season. In three matches, Rasmussen tallied 55 kills for an average of 4.58 per set, while maintaining a .347 clip. She also has 17 digs and 13 blocks to her name already.
Her performances earned her the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week honor.
In two seasons as a Duck (2016 and 2017), Rasmussen played a key role, starting on the outside as a freshman and sophomore. She missed some time as a sophomore due to injury, however, and redshirted the entire 2018 season.
“I just needed a change in scenery,” Rasmussen said of her choice to transfer in an interview with ESPN Honolulu. “I’ve been there and been injured for so long that I was always in this rut of injury and I just needed to get a fresh start and reinvent myself as the player I wanted to be, as opposed to the player that was injured all the time. So, I needed to step away, figure out who I was, and just make a new start is something I wanted to do.”
Utah Rounds Out Trio Of New Teams In Top 25
Along with Hawaii and Florida State, Utah also secured a spot in this week’s top 25 after being unranked in the preseason poll. The Utes went 3-0 over opening weekend, including toppling preseason No. 7 Kentucky and No. 23 Cal Poly. They followed those performances up with a sweep of Utah State in a mid-week matchup.
The defeat of Kentucky marked Utah’s first top-10 victory since 2017 and 11th in program history.
Dani Drews has been the Utes leading attacker in the first four matches of the season, collecting 55 kills (3.93 per set) along with 40 digs and 13 blocks. Middle blocker Berkeley Oblad, who earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-American honors in 2017, was granted a medical redshirt for 2018 after suffering an elbow injury early in the year, and in her first week back in action, she rattled off 36 kills and 25 blocks.
In this week’s national poll, Kentucky fell to No. 12, while Cal Poly, which is 0-3 after also losing to Kentucky and St. Mary’s, dropped out entirely.
Reigning Champs So Far Untouchable
It’s hardly unexpected, but reigning national champion Stanford looks quite good for week one: three wins and three sweeps, with a team scoring more than 20 points in a set just twice.
Stanford started the season taking down College of Charleston and Duke at the College of Charleston Classic, but even preseason No. 7 Florida didn’t provide much of a challenge for the Cardinal.
Two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer led the offense in each of the three matches, accumulating a total of 49 kills, hitting .435. Transfer middle blocker Madeleine Gates has already proved her value, ranking second on the team with 22 kills to go with 13 blocks.
On Sunday, Stanford hosts No. 3 Texas, which is also undefeated on the season, traveling to Palo Alto with wins over Minnesota, Northern Iowa, and USC under its belt.
Marquette Hits An All-Time High
Talk about making a statement in week one: Marquette not only upset preseason No. 9 BYU, but the Golden Eagles handed the Cougars their first loss at home since October 2017. Marquette also celebrated wins over Boise State and Utah Valley over opening weekend, going 3-0 and earning a bump to No. 11 in this week’s national poll. That ranking marks the highest in program history.
Six-foot-five senior outside hitter Allie Barber had a match-high 19 kills versus BYU and leads the team with 45 total kills in three matches. Kaitlyn Lines, a 6-0 junior transfer from Pacific, was named MVP of the BYU Nike Invitational, finishing the weekend with 37 kills, hitting .413, and six aces. Senior setter Lauren Speckman recorded a double-double with 31 assists and 13 digs as one half of the Eagles 6-2 in the BYU match.
Another big week awaits Marquette as it will face No. 4 Wisconsin on Thursday and No. 17 Baylor on Sunday.
Upcoming NCAA Matches LIVE on FloVolleyball
Thursday, Sept. 5
Friday, Sept. 6
Saturday, Sept. 7
Sunday, Sept. 8
Tuesday, Sept. 10