This weekly roundup has a little bit of everything: a preview of the top upcoming matchup, a recap of a record-breaking performance, a notable return, and notes on a scandal. Oh, and a little tidbit from signing day.
Wisconsin at Minnesota, Thursday night
It would be hard to overstate what is at stake in Thursday night’s matchup between No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 5 Minnesota. The two teams have identical 13-1 league record, so the winner will take over the top spot in the Big Ten standings.
The result of this match will also have a major impact on which of these two teams has a chance for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, with Wisconsin currently sitting at No. 4 in the RPI and Minnesota at No. 7.
The Badgers won the first meeting between these two teams earlier in the season, in straight sets no less. But heading into this matchup in Minneapolis, Minnesota is the hotter team. The Gophers are riding an eight-match win streak, while Wisconsin got upset by Ohio State just last Friday.
The match will air on BTN at 8 PM CT.
USC’s Lanier Knocks Down A Program Record
Khalia Lanier had quite a week. Last Thursday, in a five-set loss to Utah, the senior outside hitter for USC took 82 swings and scored 40 kills, breaking the USC 25-point rally scoring era single-match kills record. She made just eight errors to hit .390 for the match.
Two nights later, against Colorado, Lanier added 33 kills (hitting .452) to bring her total for the week to 73. With 1,880 career kills, the senior from Arizona is just 39 away from passing Alex Jupiter to take over the No. 2 spot in the USC record book.
Not only did Lanier earn her second-consecutive Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honor, but the AVCA also named her its national player of the week.
USC currently sits sixth in the Pac-12 standings and received votes in the most recent AVCA top 25 poll.
Kathryn Plummer is back
Stanford outside hitter and two-time AVCA National Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer didn’t play for the entire month of October, but last week, she finally returned to action. Against Arizona State, on Thursday, she came in only to serve, but then for the Arizona match on Saturday, she played front row for the first time in six weeks, collecting 15 kills on 22 swings with just one error to hit .636.
Even without Plummer’s services for the past month and a half, Stanford has maintained its spot at the top of the Pac-12 standings and is currently No. 4 in the country—No. 5 in the latest NCAA RPI.
Penn's Season Cut Short
The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team will not play its final two matches of the season. The administration cancelled the remainder of Penn’s scheduled matches in response to “vulgar, offensive, and disrespectful posters” found in the team’s locker room.
With a 4-8 Ivy League record, Penn was unlikely to make the postseason anyways, but this news report just brings more attention to a program that has been dealing with multiple issues since the hiring of Iain Braddak prior to the 2018 season.
The Daily Pennsylvanian, an independent student newspaper at Penn, has done a great job of covering the team and its struggles. To follow the complete saga, I suggest starting with this article, then read this one, and finally this one from just two days ago about the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019 season.
Signing Day Highlights
On Wednesday, top-ranked prospects from around the country put pen to paper and officially committed to their college program of choice. Without doing a complete audit of each program’s signing day haul, it looks like Minnesota might have come out on top—the Gophers signed PrepVolleyball’s No. 1 recruit Taylor Landfair, and the No. 3 recruit in Jenna Wenaas.
Upcoming NCAA Volleyball Matches Live on FloVolleyball
Friday, Nov. 15, 2019
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019