FloVolleyball's Weekly NCAA Notebook (10/3/19)

This week, the phrase “there’s a new No. 1” takes on even more significance. That story and more in our weekly NCAA roundup, covering the top headlines from the week that was in women’s college volleyball.

Baylor is No. 1.

With Stanford losing its third match of the season to Washington last week, there were no more excuses: undefeated Baylor rose to the No. 1 spot in the Sept. 30 AVCA Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history.

The Bears are now the only undefeated team left in Division I, having dropped just two sets along the way (one to Wisconsin and one to Houston). On Saturday, they kicked off Big 12 play with a sweep of Kansas and improved to 2-0 in conference with a sweep of Oklahoma Wednesday night. 

Star outside hitter Yossiana Pressley ranks first in the country with 5.86 kills per set. 

A match to bookmark on your calendar: Baylor versus Texas in Austin on Oct. 23. Baylor will be looking to prove that it can live up to its billing as the top team in the country, and Texas, of course, will want to reclaim the headlines in the conference where it has reigned supreme in recent history.

Pac-12 Parity

As mentioned above, Stanford lost to Washington in both teams’ second conference match of the season. To open the Pac-12 season, the Cardinal handed Cal its first loss of the year. Washington, on the other hand, headed into Sunday’s match versus Stanford having lost its opener to Washington State in four. 

In all, only two Pac-12 teams went 2-0 in the first conference weekend: Oregon State and UCLA. The Beavers topped in-state rival Oregon in five sets on Thursday and then beat Colorado in four on Friday. USC and Arizona State fell at the hands of UCLA, resulting in USC dropping out of the top 25. 

WSU, which upset Washington, lost its second match of the weekend in five to Cal, while Oregon got some redemption with a five-set victory over then-No. 18 Utah. 

Washington’s Kara Bajema earned her third straight conference Offensive Player of the Week honor after recording 19 kills versus WSU and 17 hitting .302 with 10 digs and five blocks in the upset of Stanford. 

Oregon State libero Grace Massey got the defensive honor thanks to her career-high 32 digs versus Oregon, followed by 11 digs in the Colorado match. 

Setter Kylie Robinson took home the top freshman award for Oregon. The redshirt frosh quarterbacked the Ducks through its pair of five-set matches, collecting 108 assists along the way. She currently ranks second in the conference with 11.02 assists per set. 

Bayley McMenimen Steps Up For Minnesota, Earn Setter OTW Award

UCLA transfer Kylie Miller filled the starting setter role for Minnesota in each of its first nine matches of the 2019 season. But on Saturday, the senior had to sit out due to an undisclosed injury and sophomore Bayley McMenimen made her first collegiate start. 

With the 5-9 Floridian at the controls, Minnesota swept then-No. 15 Purdue. McMenimen finished the match with 45 assists and 12 digs for the first double-double of her college career, and on Monday, the Big Ten honored her with the Setter of the Week award. 

Her fellow Gophers opposite Stephanie Samedy and libero CC McGraw were also highlighted in the Big Ten’s weekly awards, being named Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively. 

Wisconsin Edges Penn State

In a match that could have big implications in the Big Ten down the stretch, Wisconsin got past Penn State in four sets Wednesday night (23-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-13). Junior outside hitter Grace Loberg topped the score sheet with 21 kills, leading her team to a 3-0 record in Big Ten play. 

The Badgers also excelled on defense, out-blocking Penn State 10 to eight and out-digging their opponents 63 to 47. Penn State hit .175 for the match but just .043 in the third and fourth sets. 

"That's obviously a good win, but more than that it's just how we played is better than even the result,” Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We bounced back after that first set. We fell behind a bit in the second set and I thought our serving really kicked into another gear. Those last two sets of holding them to .050 or so—those are pretty low numbers against a team that has as much offensive talent as Penn State does.”

Wisconsin continues a tough week of competition by traveling to Lincoln to face No. 2 Nebraska on Saturday. 

Kentucky vs. Florida on Sunday

Only three teams made it through the first week of SEC play undefeated, and two of those teams will face off against each other on Sunday. 

Kentucky toppled Mississippi State and Missouri last week, but leading attacker Leah Edmond left the court in the first set of the MSU match with a lower leg injury. Outside hitter Alli Stumler stepped up in her absence, recording a match- and career-high 20 kills, hitting .327. Against Mizzou, Edmond returned to the lineup, but Stumler still led the way, this time with 16 kills, hitting .368. 

Stumler, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, swept almost every weekly award on Monday, taking home SEC Player of the Week and Offensive Player of the Week, in addition to earning AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week.

Florida started its conference season with victories over Auburn (3-0) and Georgia (3-1). The Gators hit a fiery .427 against Auburn and .325 versus Georgia. In both contests, Thayer Hall led the offense with 14 and 15 kills, respectively. 

Sunday’s match will take place at 1 PM ET. 

Upcoming NCAA Volleyball Matches Live on FloVolleyball

Friday, Oct. 4

Michigan State vs. Ohio State 7 PM ET

Illinois vs. Indiana 7 PM ET

Saturday, Oct. 5

Michigan State vs. Maryland 7 PM ET

Iowa vs. Penn State 7 PM ET

Northwestern vs. Indiana 7 PM ET

Rutgers vs. Minnesota 9 PM ET

Sunday, Oct. 6

Hofstra vs. Towson 12 PM ET

Michigan vs. Ohio State 1 PM ET

USA Finishes With Silver At NORCECA

The U.S. women’s national team had to settle for silver in the final tournament of the 2019 international season as the Domincian Republic beat USA in the gold-medal match of the NORCECA Continental Championship (25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 20-25, 15-9). 

Team USA Watch Guide

Team USA is set for the Men's FIVB World Cup. Here is every game that they will play on their quest for a title.

Watch Guide: Men's FIVB World Cup

Check out the full schedule for the Men's FIVB World  Cup.

NCAA Games Live On FloVolleyball

NCAA games live this week on FloVolleyball.

FloVolleyball's Weekly Notebook: Big Week For Wisconsin

Yep, Baylor is still undefeated and No. 1, but the Bears weren’t the hottest team in the country this week. Keep reading to find out who was and more of the top storylines from the last seven days in women’s college volleyball.

Team USA Women's NORCECA Schedule

NORCECA Women's Continental Championships gets underway today and the same silver medal team from the FIVB World Cup will look to impress upon their runner-up finish in Japan.

Marymount Wins Second Nike Tournament Of Champions In A Row

There was plenty of deja vu to go around inside the Kroc Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Saturday. It was the final of the 2019 Nike Tournament of Champions, and Marymount of Los Angeles and Mater Dei of Santa Ana matched up across the net from each other just like they did a year ago in the championship match of the 2018 Nike TOC.

Team USA Set For Phase 2 Of FIVB World Cup

The U.S. Men’s National Team went 4-1 in the first phase of the 2019 FIVB Men’s World Cup in Fukuoka, Japan. Having beaten Italy, Poland, Japan, and Tunisia and lost to Argentina, the USA sits No.2 in the standings, trailing only undefeated Brazil. 

USA Women's Roster Set For NORCECA

The exact same group of 14 athletes who just a week ago finished the 2019 FIVB Women’s World Cup with a silver medal will represent the USA at the NORCECA Continental Championships, Oct. 8-13 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Experience Has Towson On The Rise

Coaches always say they don’t put much stock in preseason rankings. But even so, it has to feel good to upset the preseason favorite.