It’s crunchtime in NCAA women’s volleyball. What happens in matches throughout the month of November will be fresh on the minds of the NCAA selection committee come tournament time, and momentum built this month could make or break a team’s postseason run.
Here’s what I’m watching in college volleyball right now.
Pac-12 Log Jam
It seems like I tell some version of this story every week. There always seems to be a fresh upset (or three) in the Pac-12.
Last weekend, the true upsets included—with all listed rankings reflecting the teams’ rank as of the match in question—Oregon (7-14, 3-9) beating No. 20 Cal (18-4, 8-4) in four, No. 25 UCLA (13-8, 8-4) sweeping No. 22 Washington State (19-5, 8-4), and USC (13-9, 7-5) getting past No. 12 Washington (17-5, 8-4) in five.
But then there’s matches like No. 17 Utah’s (16-7, 8-4) bouts with Arizona State (13-10, 5-7) and Arizona (12-12, 2-10) over the weekend. Both matches went to five sets and could have easily gone the other way.
Cal, Washington State, Washington, Utah, and UCLA are all tied for second place in the conference with 8-4 records. Stanford is two games up at 10-2, but the Cardinal, who have been without two-time national player of the year outside hitter Kathryn Plummer since late September due to injury, have had to pivot once again to replace freshman outside Kendall Kipp, who suffered an injury of her own and has missed the last two matches. Freshman Natalie Berty cracked the starting lineup last weekend and Stanford got a pair of sweeps over Oregon State and Oregon.
Never a dull moment.
Jordan Thompson’s 50-kill match
Cincinnati’s star outside hitter Jordan Thompson celebrated her senior night in the best way possible. In a five-set victory over American Athletic Conference foe UConn, Thompson blasted a career-high 50 kills on 83 attempts, hitting .530. Oh, and she had 11 digs to secure a double-double.
Thompson’s kill total sets new single-match records at UC and in the AAC. She’s the first DI player to score 50 or more kills in more than 20 years and just the seventh time anyone has done so in NCAA history.
The redshirt senior leads the nation with 6.39 kills per set, almost a whole kill per set ahead of the next highest producer, Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley with 5.58 kills per set.
SEC's New Hotness: Texas A&M
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the race for the SEC title was looking really interesting. At that time, Ole Miss stood atop the standings with an undefeated conference record, while Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky were all tied for second.
As of this writing, however, it’s Texas A&M I’ve got my eye on. The Aggies (16-5, 8-3) currently sit fourth in the league, but they’re riding a five-match win streak, during which they’ve beaten Ole Miss, Georgia, Kentucky (then No. 15), and Missouri (then No. 24)
Texas A&M cracked the AVCA top 25 this week, coming in at No. 25, and even more impressively, the team sits ninth in the most recent RPI ranking.
Of course, as we’ve seen throughout this season, no team can be discounted, but A&M doesn’t face another ranked opponent until its final match of the season on Nov. 30, a rematch with No. 13 Florida, which beat the Aggies in five sets earlier in the year.
Upcoming NCAA Volleyball Matches Live on FloVolleyball
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019
Friday, Nov. 8, 2019
Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019