1. Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-0, 7-0 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 1
Summary: Kansas State may have entered the week tied for second place in the Big 12, but Nebraska paid no attention to conference standings and thoroughly dominated in all facets of the game. Sarah Pavan unloaded on the right side for 16 kills and added five digs and five blocks in the winning effort. Kori Cooper maybe just the fifth option on offense for setter Rachel Holloway, but the 6'2" middle blocker is proving to be just as reliable as the Cornhuskers starters are for kills, torching the Wildcats for 11 kills on a .688 hitting percentage; the sophomore also powered the block with seven rejections. The following Saturday, Colorado found itself up 19-7 in the first game over Nebraska and it looked like it would be a repeat of last year when the Buffaloes handed the Cornhuskers a five-game loss in Boulder (Colo.). However, senior Christina Houghtelling served up 10 straight points and her team ended up going on a 23-6 run to win the first stanza and subsequently, the next two games to take the match. Houghtelling had a double-double of 19 kills and 11 digs, while Pavan and outside hitter Jordan Larson teamed up for 26 kills. Nebraska continues its Big 12 conference title quest with matches against Iowa State and Oklahoma this week.
2. Stanford Cardinal (16-0, 5-0 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 2
Summary: Foluke Akinradewo joined a select few in Stanford history this weekend by surpassing the 1,000-kill mark with her fourth kill against Oregon State on Thursday; the 6'3" middle blocker finished with 15 kills and seven blocks in the three-game sweep. Outside hitter Cynthia Barboza put on an impressive performance against Oregon State and Oregon, producing double-doubles in both contests. The 6'1" junior averaged 5.83 kills, 4.17 digs, and .67 blocks per game and a .485 hitting percentage. Against the Beavers, middle blocker Janet Okogbaa had a solid game and supported the Cardinal with six kills on a .500 hitting percentage, while adding four blocks to the mix. Freshman Alix Klineman also came up with a double-double in Eugene (Ore.), putting the hurt on the Ducks with 18 kills at a .424 rate while pitching in 10 digs and three blocks. Senior Bryn Kehoe did a marvelous job setting up the Stanford offense this weekend, guiding her team to a .360 hitting percentage while handing out 93 assists; the 5'11" playmaker needs just 68 assists against Washington State and Washington this week to break Wendy Rush's all-time school assist record of 5,003.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (14-2, 6-0 Big Ten)
Previous Ranking: 3
Summary: Nicole Fawcett had a remarkable showing against visiting Iowa, powering down 18 kills at a .351 rate to lead Penn State to another easy victory in Big Ten play. Freshman Arielle Wilson continued to show what an impact she's had in Happy Valley with 13 kills and nine blocks, while Megan Hodge added a double-double with 11 kills and 18 digs in the winning effort. A day later, Penn State continued its bruising ways against its conference opponents with another sweep, this time over Minnesota. Fawcett continued her torrid pace against the Golden Gophers with 23 kills on a .308 clip while rejecting five blocks. The Nittany Lions block was at full strength during the contest with 12.0 total team stuffs, as middle blocker Christa Harmotto and Wilson joined Fawcett in the box score with five blocks apiece. Big Ten action continues when Penn State hosts Ohio State on Wednesday and Michigan on Friday.
4. Florida Gators (15-0, 8-0 SEC)
Previous Ranking: 5
Summary: Angie McGinnis became Florida's all-time career assist leader, breaking Heidi Anderson's 15-year old record with a connection to middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth in the first game against Kentucky. The Michigan native ended up the night with 50 assists and five kills, while guiding her squad to a .390 hitting percentage. Marcie Hampton took 27 swings from the antennas and converted at a .593 rate for 17 kills, though right side Amber McCray one-upped her with 18 kills for match-high honors against the Wildcats. Hampton maintained her high level of play against Tennessee, posting 16 kills on a .500 clip, 10 digs and two blocks in the three-game sweep. McCray chipped in 12 kills and a .545 hitting percentage while turning away two Lady Vols' attacks. Elyse Cusack stabilized the backline by digging up everything within her sights and finishing with 21 saves. Florida will look to perfect its SEC record this week with matches against South Carolina (Wednesday) and Arkansas (Friday).
5. Texas Longhorns (10-3, 6-1 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 6
Results From Last Week: at Texas A&M (W, 3-0); at Kansas State (Sat.)
This Week's Matches: vs. Baylor (Wed.); vs. Kansas (Sat.)
Summary: Juliann Faucette continues to put up great numbers for Texas, as her 20 kills on a .395 clip powered her team to a three-game sweep over Texas Tech. The 6'1" outside hitter has been denting floors all over the Big 12 and no matter what defenses the Aggies threw at her, the San Diego (Calif.) native always had an answer to get a kill. Sophomore Destinee Hooker added 13 kills from the antennas, while Lauren Paolini had a solid game in the middle with 11 kills and two blocks. With all the offensive options available to her, Michelle Moriarty was racking up assists left and right and ended the night with 57 while setting her team to a .357 hitting percentage. Surviving 23 kills from Russian Bomber Nataly Korobkova, Texas pulled out a five-game victory over Kansas State last Saturday thanks to a spread-out offense and timely blocking. Moriarty only had 55 assists, but spread the wealth among her hitters, as four players finished with at least 11 kills. Hooker was the leading attacker of the bunch with 18 kills, while Faucette pitched in 15 on the night. Middle blockers Brandy Magee and Paolini teamed up for 24 kills and had nine blocks each to keep the Wildcats attackers from doing too much damage; overall, the Longhorns kept the home team to a paltry .196 clip. Texas returns home to Austin this week to play Baylor and Kansas, two matches that should result in two more victories for head coach Jerritt Elliott.
6. UCLA Bruins (14-2, 4-1 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 7
Results From Last Week: vs. USC (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Oregon (Thu.); vs. Oregon State (Fri.)
Summary: UCLA rebounded in a big way after getting swept by Stanford last weekend with a four-game victory over cross-town rival USC. Ali Daley and Kaitlin Sather both had double-doubles, teaming up for 32 kills and 31 digs to give the Bruins 2.5 points towards capturing the Lexus Gauntlet. The team played excellent defense that is quickly becoming a staple of this UCLA squad. Libero Jade Machado patrolled the back row with a match-high 18 digs, while setter Nellie Spicer added 10 digs to help out the back-row effort. Up front, Katie Mills played beyond her years as a freshman to man the middle with a match-high nine blocks, while Sather and Spicer did a bang up job on Southern California's outside hitters, notching six and five blocks, respectively. The one drawback to the victory was the injury of Rachell Johnson, who suffered an ankle injury late in the fourth game; up to that point, she was contributing out of the middle with 10 kills on a .500 hitting percentage. UCLA will look to keep pace with unbeaten Stanford and Washington in the Pac-10 when it hosts Oregon and Oregon State on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
7. USC Trojans (14-2, 3-2 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 4
Results From Last Week: vs. UC Irvine (W, 3-2); at UCLA (L, 3-1)
This Week's Matches: vs. Oregon State (Thu.); vs. Oregon (Fri.)
Summary: Down two games to none at home, Southern California rallied behind the arm of outside hitter Jessica Gysin and her 19 kills to survive a surprising challenge from UC Irvine. Her final two swings gave USC the 15-5 Game Five triumph and the match. Asia Kaczor was the top attacker for head coach Mick Haley, putting down 20 kills, while freshmen Kimmee Roleder and Zoe Garrett combined for 27 kills in the come-from-behind victory over the Anteaters. Libero Alli Hillgren topped the charts in the backcourt with 24 digs, while Kaczor and Bethany Johansen had four blocks each to lead the frontcourt defense. A few nights later, a diverse offense could not overcome UCLA and Southern California fell in four games. Johansen was the most efficient hitter for setter Taylor Carico, garnering 10 kills on a .706 clip, while Kimmee Roleder had 13 kills to lead the Trojans. Gysin and Kaczor had 11 and 10 kills, respectively, in the losing effort. Southern California can put itself back in the Pac-10 race with two victories over Oregon State and Oregon this week.
8. Washington Huskies (16-0, 5-0 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 8
Summary: Stevie Mussie is one of the top attackers in the Pac-10 and her performance this past weekend did nothing to dispel that notion. The 5'10" outside hitter posted 19 kills to lead the Washington offense against Arizona State, as she took over 30% of the team's swings from the left side. Setter Jenna Hagglund spread the rest of the kills around, with middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick putting down nine kills while opposite Becky Perry and outside hitter Christal Morrison chipped in eight kills apiece. The Huskies block also overwhelmed the Sun Devils, stifling attacks left and right all night long. Middle blocker Alesha Deesing hasn't been putting up the offensive numbers, but her defense is still top-notch, stuffing a match-high eight blocks, while Morrison, Hagglund, and Swarbrick all put up five blocks each. Against a feisty Arizona squad, Washington pounced early and often and never let the visitors into the match. Hagglund quarterbacked the Huskies offense to an outstanding .427 hitting percentage after handing out 44 assists. Mussie again was the star of the match, putting the ball away 16 times at a .500 clip, while Morrison and Swarbrick each had 10 kills in the easy sweep. Libero Tamari Miyashiro was solid all throughout the contest with a match-high 12 digs to give head coach Jim McLaughlin a strong defensive presence in the back. Washington finally gets tested with a trip to the Bay Area, first squaring off with California, followed up with a televised contest with Stanford.
9. Wisconsin Badgers (14-1, 6-0 Big Ten)
Previous Ranking: 9
Summary: Two more matches, two more sweeps for Wisconsin, who stands firmly in first place with Penn State after victories over Purdue and Indiana. Defense was a key factor in the home win over the Boilermakers, as the Badgers put up 11.0 total blocks and held the visitors to a .137 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Taylor Reineke led the block party with five stuffs, while outside hitter Brittney Dolgner dug up 11 balls in the back to go with her 20 kills, both match-highs. In front of a season-high 7,074 home fans at the Field House, Wisconsin took apart visiting Indiana, who played well in the second game, but never really threatened during the match. Outside hitters Alison Wack and Dolgner lit up the antennas, combining for 28 kills at an exceptional .404 rate. Setter Jackie Simpson dished out 46 assists and helped the team to .376 clip. The Badger block again was effective in holding their opponent's overall hitting percentage to a measly .107, with Simpson notching a match-high six blocks. Wisconsin looks to protect its status at the top of the Big Ten Conference when it meets up with third-place Minnesota on Friday, followed by a date with Iowa on Friday.
10. California Golden Bears (12-4, 2-3 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 12
Results From Last Week: at Oregon (W, 3-1); at Oregon State (W, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Washington (Thu.); vs. Washington State (Fri.)
Summary: California earned its first two Pac-10 victories the hard way, winning on the road in the Pacific Northwest against the Oregon schools. Hana Cutura, who has been tearing up the hardwood as of late, made sure that her Golden Bears didn't start out conference play 0-4, pounding the ball into the ground 23 times on a .405 clip; the 6'3" outside hitter also added nine digs, two blocks, and two aces. Senior Angie Pressey produced a double-double with 15 kills and 11 digs against the Ducks, while Morgan Beck and Ellen Orchard rounded out the top attackers for head coach Rich Feller with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. With the victory over Oregon, Feller notched his 150th win as the commander of the Cal program. Against the Beavers, Orchard showed why she is one of the finest net minders on the West Coast, clamping down on 10 attacks to help her team to 16.5 total team blocks, holding the home team to a mere .019 hitting percentage. Role player Am-ra Solomon made the most of her court time by tallying 11 kills from the antennas to lead all players on the offensive end. California looks to climb back into the thick of things in the Pac-10 with a huge match against Washington on Thursday, though it should have a much easier time with the conference doormat in Washington State on Friday.
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-4, 5-1 Big Ten)
Previous Ranking: 11
Results From Last Week: at Ohio State (W, 3-2); at Penn State (L, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: vs. Wisconsin (Fri.); vs. Illinois (Sat.)
12. San Diego Toreros (12-5, 2-1 WCC)
Previous Ranking: 10
Results From Last Week: vs. Santa Clara (L, 3-1); vs. Saint Mary's (W,
This Week's Matches: at Pepperdine (Thu.); at Loyola Marymount (Sat.)
13. Duke Blue Devils (13-3, 8-0 ACC)
Previous Ranking: 13
14. Dayton Flyers (19-0, 6-0 A-10)
Previous Ranking: 15
15. Oregon Ducks (14-4, 3-3 Pac-10)
Previous Ranking: 14
Results From Last Week: vs. California (L, 3-1); vs. Stanford (L, 3-0)
This Week's Matches: at UCLA (Thu.); at USC (Fri.)
Player of the Week Honors
Cynthia Barboza, Stanford, 6-0, OH, Jr.
- vs. Oregon State – 17 kills, .486 hitting percentage, 13 digs, and two blocks
- vs. Oregon – 18 kills, .455 hitting percentage, 12 digs, two blocks, and one ace
- For the Week – 5.80 kills, 4. 17 digs, and .67 blocks per game; .471 hitting percentage
Big Ten Conference:
Nicole Fawcett, Penn State, 6-3, OH, Jr. (Offensive)
- vs. Iowa – 18 kills, .351 hitting percentage, and one block
- vs. Minnesota – 23 kills, .308 hitting percentage, and five blocks
- For the Week – 6.80 kills and 1.00 blocks per game; .329 hitting percentage
Ami Stevens, Ohio State, 6-1, L, Sr. (Defensive)
- vs. Minnesota – 25 digs
- vs. Iowa – 19 digs
- For the Week – 4.90 digs per game
Big 12 Conference:
Weiwen Wang, Missouri, 6-0, MB, Fr. (Offensive)
- vs. Colorado – 19 kills, .559 hitting percentage, and 13 blocks
- vs. Texas Tech – 13 kills, .476 hitting percentage, and three blocks
- For the Week – 4.00 kills and 2.00 blocks per game; .527 hitting
Callie Webster, Colorado, 5-10, L, Jr. (Defensive)
- vs. Missouri – 33 digs
- vs. Nebraska – 18 digs
- For the Week – 6.38 digs per game
Cynthia Barboza, Stanford, 6-0, OH, Jr.
Marcie Hampton, Florida, 6-1, OH, Jr. (Offensive)
- vs. Kentucky – 17 kills, .593 hitting percentage, 10 digs, and three aces
- vs. Tennessee – 16 kills, .500 hitting percentage, 10 digs, two blocks, and one ace
- For the Week – 5.50 kills, 3.33 digs, and .67 aces per game; .545 hitting percentage
Lauren DeGirolamo, LSU, 6-1, MB, Soph. (Defensive)
West Coast Conference:
Sarah Mandala, San Francisco, 5-10, OPP, Fr.
- vs. Saint Mary's – 14 kills, 12 digs, and five blocks
- vs. Santa Clara – 11 kills, eight digs, and four blocks
- For the Week – 4.17 kills, 3.33 digs, and 1.50 blocks per game
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