Top 10 Above the Net

The top ten teams remained unchanged, and Stanford scored a huge win vs. #3 Penn State last Saturday. Pac-10 play starts this week, with the Cardinal facing rival #10 Cal on Friday.

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 1

Results From Last Week: vs. Texas (W, 3-0); at Texas Tech (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Texas A&M (Sat.)

Summary: Nebraska started off Big 12 play in fine fashion, sweeping a depleted Texas squad and destroying host Texas Tech. Reigning AVCA Player of the Year Sarah Pavan was on her game against the Longhorns, with over half her swings going down for kills; she finished with 16 kills at a .520 clip with five digs, two blocks, and an ace. Middle blocker Kori Cooper proved that she too has the talent to be a make some noise in the collegiate world, putting down nine kills at a .692 rate to go along with a match-high three blocks. The 6'2" sophomore continued her offensive tear against the Red Raiders as she posted a match-high 11 kills with a .579 hitting percentage. Senior Tracy Stalls was also a force out of the middle with 10 kills on a .600 clip. Defensively, the duo each rejected a match-high five attacks up at the net, while outside hitter Christina Houghtelling led the back-row defense with 15 digs. Conference play continues for Nebraska when it hosts Texas A&M this Saturday in its only match of the week.

2. Stanford Cardinal (11-0)
Previous Ranking: 2

Results From Last Week: at Cincinnati (W, 3-0); Courtyard by Marriott Yale Classic – vs. Delaware State (W, 3-0); at Yale (W, 3-0); vs. Penn State (W, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: at California (Fri.)

Summary: Stanford started off its busy week with a trip to Ohio to face off with Cincinnati in an unusual midweek match. It may have been Bryn Kehoe's homecoming, but it was sophomore middle blocker Janet Okogbaa who stole the show, as she produced career-highs with eight kills and six blocks in just two games of action. Stanford then ventured off to Connecticut to participate in the Courtyard by Marriott Yale Classic, where it drilled both Delaware State and host Yale in its opening matches before overcoming Penn State in a five-game thriller. MVP Cynthia Barboza played her way to a double-double with a team-high 21 kills and 10 digs to lead the Cardinal to victory. All-Tournament selection Foluke Akinradewo hit a season-low .326 but still pitched in 15 kills, her final spike setting up match point. She and right side Erin Waller also led the team in blocks, with four stuffs each. Franci Girard added some heat out of the middle with nine kills on a .500 clip while also adding three blocks. Stanford, undefeated in the pre-conference play for the first time since 2001, continues its season on the road when it treks to the East Bay to face Pac-10 rival California on Friday.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2)
Previous Ranking: 3

Results From Last Week: Courtyard by Marriott Yale Classic – at Yale (W, 3-0); vs. Delaware State (W, 3-0); vs. Stanford (L, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: vs. Michigan State (Fri.); vs. Northwestern (Sat.)

Summary: The Nittany Lions' lethal offense was on full display this past weekend, as setters Jessica Yanz and Alisha Glass had plenty of options to work with at the net. Middle blocker Christa Harmotto powered Penn State past host Yale, as her 13 kills and .737 hitting percentage contributed to the team's .523 clip, while Yanz masterminded the team's .488 hitting percentage in a three-game sweep of Delaware State. The easy victories over the Bulldogs and the Hornets were only a tune-up to the colossal matchup against Stanford and the two teams did not disappoint. At times, outside hitter Nicole Fawcett was unstoppable on the left, posting a match-high 28 kills, but costly errors late in the match led to her lowly .197 hitting percentage. Head coach Russ Rose inserted Glass into the starting lineup over Yanz against the Cardinal and she responded by putting up 69 assists and 16 digs. All-Tournament selections Megan Hodge and Harmotto teamed up for 31 kills, while opposite Blair Brown and middle blocker Arielle Wilson diversified the offense with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Penn State looks to bounce back with the opening of Big Ten action, beginning with Michigan State on Friday, followed by Northwestern on Saturday.

4. USC Trojans (10-0)
Previous Ranking: 4

Results From Last Week: Sports Imports Classic – at Ohio State (W, 3-2); vs. Purdue (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Arizona State (Thu.); vs. Arizona (Fri.)

Summary: Southern California had a surprisingly difficult opening match at the Sports Imports Classic, going the distance with host Ohio State. Once again, it was opposite Asia Kaczor and outside hitter Diane Copenhagen carrying the team from the pins, combining for 41 kills. A pair of freshmen, outside hitter Kimmee Roleder and libero Geena Urango, also contributed greatly to the five-game victory. Roleder hammered down 14 kills, while Urango was a ball magnet in the back row with 31 digs. Against Purdue, USC had a field day on the offensive end, as setter Taylor Carico did a great job dishing the rock as her team hit at incredible .411 clip. Kaczor put down a match-high 16 kills, while Copenhagen and Roleder both registered double-doubles. Urango continued her strong play by collecting a match-high 21 digs in the sweep of the Boilermakers. Southern California opens up Pac-10 play by hosting the Arizona schools this Thursday.

5. Florida Gators (9-0, 2-0 SEC)
Previous Ranking: 5

Results From Last Week: vs. Georgia (W, 3-1); vs. Auburn (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: at Mississippi (Fri.); at LSU (Sun.)

Summary: The opening match of SEC play usually means victory for reigning conference champions Florida, but visiting Georgia had other thoughts in mind, snatching Game One rather easily by a score of 30-22. Having won the past 17 SEC openers, the Gators would not go down without a fight and behind the spectacular play of playmaker Angie McGinnis, the home team won the next three games rather handily. Picking up her fourth career triple double, the 5'11" senior was the shining star for head coach Mary Wise, producing 46 assists, 15 digs, and 11 kills, while adding four blocks and one ace to her stat line. Outside hitter Marcie Hampton and opposite hitter Amber McCray were the top hitters on the court, generating 15 kills apiece from the antennas. Hampton was also a terror in the back row, digging up 19 attacks, though libero Elyse Cusack was the top defender with 21 digs. Florida had a much easier time with Auburn two days later, as the crowd at the O'Connell Center witnessed a win that was never in doubt. Middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth led all players with 12 kills on a .375 clip, with McCray not too far behind with 10 kills. McGinnis and middle blocker Kristina Johnson put up a tough wall up front, each netting a team-high four blocks, while Cusack was once again stable in the back with 13 digs. SEC play continues for Florida this week as it visits Mississippi on Friday before heading to LSU on Sunday.

6. UCLA Bruins (10-1)
Previous Ranking: 6

Results From Last Week: USD Tournament – vs. Cal State Northridge (W, 3-0); vs. Pittsburgh (W, 3-0); at San Diego (W, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: vs. Arizona (Thu.); vs. Arizona State (Fri.)

Summary: Heading into Pac-10 play, the Bruins will see just how deep their crop of outside hitters run, especially after last weekend's knee injury to sophomore opposite Emily Clements. In the first match of the USD Tournament against Cal State Northridge, the 6'0" sophomore hurt her knee in the opening moments of the first game and did not return for the weekend; there has been no further updates as to the extent of the damage. Freshman Dicey McGraw showed off UCLA's depth at the outside by putting up 2.73 kills per game in the two-day tournament. Head coach Andy Banachowski relied on outside hitters Ali Daley and Kaitlyn Sather to calm the team down after seeing Clements go down and the two responded with upperclassmen poise. Daley had a match-high 17 kills against the Matadors, adding nine digs, three aces, and two blocks in the winning effort; the 6-1 junior also produced 21 kills against the host Toreros, including the final swing that sealed the match. Sather was a consistent source of offense for setter Nellie Spicer, as she averaged 3.73 kills per game over the weekend. Rachell Johnson was also a favorite target for Spicer in the middle, as the 5-11 senior put down 3.36 kills per game in the three victories. Next up for UCLA are home-opening matches against Arizona and Arizona State.

7. Texas Longhorns (6-3, 2-1 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 7

Results From Last Week: at Nebraska (L, 3-0); vs. Missouri (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Iowa State (W, 3-0)

Summary: Texas was already short-handed with the injury of Ashley Engle, but the one-game suspension given to outside hitter Destinee Hooker left Texas seriously understaffed against No. 1 Nebraska. The one silver lining for head coach Jerritt Elliott was the emergence of outside hitter Juliann Faucette, who shredded the Cornhuskers block; the freshman outside hitter finished with 20 kills on a .351 hitting percentage. Lauren Paolini added support out of the middle, producing nine kills and three blocks. Hooker made her return to the court a successful one, pummeling Missouri for 17 kills, 11 digs, two blocks, and one aces. Faucette was just as spectacular against the Tigers, putting down a match-high 21 kills on a .529 hitting percentage, while also pitching in 11 digs, two blocks, and two aces. Setter Michelle Moriarty handed out an amazing 52 assists while setting up her team to hit .384 in the three-game victory. Texas added one more check in its win column on Wednesday, after squaring off with visiting Iowa State.

8. Washington Huskies (11-0)
Previous Ranking: 8

Results From Last Week: Northern Florida/Jacksonville Classic – vs. North Florida (W, 3-0); at Jacksonville (W, 3-0); vs. New Orleans (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: at Oregon (Fri.); at Oregon State (Sat.)

Summary: Washington finished up its preseason with an unblemished record of 11-0, losing only one game in the process. Of course, the most difficult challenger Jim McLaughlin had his troops face prior to conference play was a struggling Long Beach State, but with the difficulty of the Pac-10, the cupcake schedule will help build the confidence of his youngsters. Leading the way for the Huskies at the Northern Florida/Jacksonville Classic was senior Christal Morrison, who averaged 4.33 kills, 2.67 digs, and 1.5 blocks per game on the left, while redshirt junior Stevie Mussie was also lethal at the antennas, producing 4.50 kills and 3.00 digs per game. Running the offense in easy victories over Northern Florida, host Jacksonville, and New Orleans was true freshman Jenna Hagglund, who powered her team to .323 hitting percentage. Despite her relative inexperience at the Division I level, the 5'10" playmaker has shown remarkable poise and an eagerness to fill in the huge shoes of Husky great Courtney Thompson. Washington fans will get a chance to really see what their team is made of when Pac-10 play begins this Friday, with road trips to Oregon and Oregon State.

9. Wisconsin Badgers (8-1)
Previous Ranking: 9

Results From Last Week: Bye
This Week's Matches: at Illinois (Wed.); at Michigan (Sat.)

Summary: Bye

10. California Golden Bears (10-1)
Previous Ranking: 10

Results From Last Week: SCU Invitational – at Santa Clara (W, 3-0); vs. Notre Dame (W, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: vs. Stanford (Fri.)

Summary: Playing in its final tune-up to the Pac-10 season, California did not travel very far to pick up two more wins, defeating host Santa Clara and Notre Dame in the SCU Invitational. Against the Broncos, All-American Angie Pressey did not suit up, allowing her teammates to shine in her place. Middle blocker Kat Reilly led all players with 10 kills and five blocks; the most amazing thing about her play, however, was her hitting percentage, putting the ball down at an incredible .909 rate. Fellow middle Ellen Orchard has proven to be one of the top defenders in the country, rejecting seven attacks, while freshman setter Carli Lloyd also pitched in five blocks of her own. Pressey returned to the court the following day against Notre Dame, but it was Hana Cutura who carried California to victory, coming back from two games down. The 6'3" Croatian import took a match-high 50 swings and converted on 21 balls to set a season high. Reilly and Orchard were solid again in the middle, teaming up for 30 kills and nine blocks, while opposite Morgan Beck finished with 13 kills, seven digs, and seven blocks to assist in the five-game comeback. The Notre Dame triumph showcased California's toughness and they'll need to prove just how mentally strong they are again this Friday, as Bay Area bragging rights are on the line with the Pac-10 opener against Stanford.

11. Michigan Wolverines (12-0)
Previous Ranking: 11

Results From Last Week: at Oakland (W, 3-0); Michigan/Nike Challenge – vs. Utah Valley State (W, 3-0); vs. Temple (W, 3-0); vs. Georgia Tech (W, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: vs. Illinois (Fri.); vs. Wisconsin (Sat.)

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-3)
Previous Ranking: 15

Results From Last Week: Gopher Invitational – vs. Charlotte (W, 3-0); vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (W, 3-0); vs. Creighton (W, 3-1)
This Week's Matches: vs. Purdue (Fri.); vs. Indiana (Sun.)

13. San Diego Toreros (8-4)
Previous Ranking: 14

Results From Last Week: USD Tournament – vs. Pittsburgh (W, 3-0); vs. Cal State Northridge (W, 3-0); vs. UCLA (L, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: vs. San Diego State (W, 3-1); vs. UC Irvine (Fri.)

14. Brigham Young Cougars (8-3, 1-1 MWC)
Previous Ranking: NR

Results From Last Week: at UNLV (L, 3-0); at San Diego State (W, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: at Weber State (W, 3-2); vs. Colorado State (Sat.)

15. Ohio Bobcats (8-3)
Previous Ranking: 13

Results From Last Week: Denver Pioneer Classic – at Denver (W, 3-2); vs. Washington State (W, 3-0); vs. Long Beach State (L, 3-2)
This Week's Matches: at Buffalo (Fri.); at Akron (Sat.)

Dropped Out: Cal Poly (12)


Player of the Week Honors

AVCA:

Missie Stidham, Sacramento State, 5-9, OH, Sr.

  • vs. University of San Francisco – 17 kills, 14 digs, and two blocks
  • vs. Cal Poly – 29 kills, 27 digs, two blocks, and one ace
  • vs. Xavier – 18 kills, 11 digs, and two aces
  • For the Week – 6.40 kills, 5.20 digs, 0.40 blocks, and 0.30 aces per game

Big 10 Conference:

Brooke Dieter, Minnesota, 6-2, OH, Fr. (Offensive)

  • vs. Charlotte – 21 kills, .581 hitting percentage, one block, and one ace
  • vs. Wisconsin Green-Bay – 20 kills, .441 hitting percentage, and three aces
  • vs. Creighton – 20 kills, three blocks, and one ace
  • For the Week – 6.10 kills, 0.50 aces, and 0.40 blocks per game; .358 hitting percentage

Kate Nobilo, Northwestern, 5-4, L, Soph. (Defensive)

  • vs. Drake – 21 digs
  • vs. Western Michigan – 20 digs
  • vs. Saint Louis – 26 digs
  • For the Week – 6.70 digs per game

Big 12 Conference:

Juliann Faucette, Texas, 6-2, OH, Fr. (Offensive)

  • vs. Texas – 20 kills, .351 hitting percentage
  • vs. Missouri – 21, .529 hitting percentage, two blocks, and two aces
  • For the Week – 6.83 kills, .33 blocks, and .33 aces per game; .450 hitting percentage

Ashley Mass, Iowa State, 5-8, L, Fr. (Defensive)

  • vs. Baylor – 17 digs
  • vs. Texas A&M – 16 digs
  • For the Week – 5.50 digs per game

Pac-10 Conference:

Asia Kaczor, USC, 6-4, OPP, Sr.

  • vs. Ohio State – 23 kills, eight digs, three blocks, and three aces
  • vs. Purdue – 16 kills, .471 hitting percentage, nine digs, three blocks, and one ace 
  • For the Week – 4.88 kills, 2.13 digs, 0.75 blocks, and 0.50 aces per game

Southeast Conference:

Kyna Washington, LSU, 5-10, OH, Jr. (Offensive)

  • vs. Ole Miss – 24 kills, .378 hitting percentage, and three blocks
  • vs. Arkansas – 20 kills, four aces, and two blocks
  • For the Week – 6.29 kills and 0.71 blocks per game

Kisya Killingsworth, Florida, 6-2, MB, Sr. (Defensive)

  • vs. Georgia – Seven blocks
  • vs. Auburn – Three blocks
  • For the Week – 1.43 blocks per game

West Coast Conference:

Rachel Lumsden, Pepperdine, 6-2, OH, Soph.

  • vs. Akron – 5 kills, .625 hitting percentage, four digs, one block, and one ace
  • vs. Marshall – 20 kills, .447 hitting percentage, 14 digs, two blocks, and one ace
  • vs. West Virginia – 12 kills and two blocks
  • For the Week – 3.7 kills, 3.60 digs, 0.60 blocks, and 0.50 aces per game; .325 hitting percentage

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