NCAA volleyball: Baylor No. 1 but AVCA poll shuffles, first RPI, all the POWs

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NCAA volleyball 10/8/2019-Loyola Chicago volleyball-Elle Van Grinsven
Loyola Chicago's Elle Van Grinsven was honored by the Missouri Valley Conference/Steve Woltmann, Loyola Athletics

Baylor is still undefeated and still No. 1.

The Bears (13-0), who stretched their win streak to 13 with defeats of Oklahoma and Kansas State last week, haven’t lost a set since beating Houston on September 12.

Not much else, however, stayed the same in this week’s AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. With Nebraska (11-2) losing to Wisconsin, the Huskers dropped three spots to No. 5 and Stanford (9-3) bumped up to No. 2 to fill the void, following a week in which the Cardinal beat Oregon and Oregon State.

Pittsburgh (15-1) rose one spot to No. 3, while Texas (9-2), which swept TCU last week, is up two to No. 4.

In addition to upsetting Nebraska, Wisconsin (8-4) also toppled Penn State last week, which elevated the Badgers from No. 13 all the way to No. 7. Their Big Ten neighbor Minnesota (11-2), however, stayed one step ahead at No. 6.

Penn State (10-3) dropped to No. 8, and BYU (14-2) and Marquette (14-2) stayed put at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. A loss to USC dropped Washington (11-3) to No. 8.

Sunday’s upset of Florida by Kentucky (11-4) translated to a three-spot boost as the Wildcats jumped to No. 12. Florida (11-3) dropped two to No. 14.

Hawai’i (13-2) plummeted eight spots to No. 19 after a five-set loss to UC Irvine.

Oregon, now 5-8, lost two last week, first to Stanford, then Cal in a sweep, and the Ducks are out of the poll altogether. Louisville (11-3) moved in at No. 25 to take their place.

Click here for the complete AVCA Poll.

First RPI of the season: The NCAA has released the first RPI ranking of 2019. Of course, Baylor sits No. 1, followed by Texas, Stanford, Washington, and Pittsburgh.

Worth noting, Rice (14-1), which upset Texas earlier this year, sits at No. 9, while Missouri (10-3) is No. 10. UCLA, which hasn’t been in the AVCA top 25 all season, is No. 15. The ACC has four in the top 25—in addition to Pitt, there’s Florida State at No. 17, Louisville at No. 20, and Notre Dame at No. 23.

As for those that rank lower than you might expect, Penn State is down at No. 19 and Purdue at No. 29.

Click here to see the full NCAA RPI.

The weekly Tuesday wrap-up of the players of the week around the nation continues below, but first a quick preview of Tuesday’s matches and Monday’s recaps.

Tuesday’s schedule: A fairly quiet day features 14 matches with no ranked teams.

In the MEAC, Florida A&M takes on Bethune Cookman, Howard faces Morgan State, and South Carolina State plays an out-of-conference match versus USC Upstate.

Three other non-conference battles will go down Tuesday as Conference USA’s Charlotte hosts the Big South’s Winthrop; Southern Miss, also of C-USA, welcomes the Sun Belt’s South Alabama to Hattiesburg; and Gulf South’s West Alabama travels to the next state over to face Jackson State of the SWAC.

Nevada, which sits second in the Mountain West standings with a 3-1 record, plays San Jose State (0-4 in conference).

The University of the Incarnate Word looks to snap an eight-match losing streak in Tuesday’s Southland Conference match with Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Two other Southland matches feature McNeese versus Central Arkansas and Lamar versus Northwestern State.

Eastern Washington is looking for its first Big Sky win of the season as it plays host to Idaho.

The sole match on the Sun Belt schedule for Tuesday pits Texas State against in-state rival UT Arlington. And finally, South Dakota goes to South Dakota State for a Summit League contest.

Monday’s results: NM State maintained its unblemished Western Athletic Conference record last night with a 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17) win over California Baptist. Junior middle blocker Julianna Salanoa had a double-double with 10 kills (hitting .529) and 11 block assists, which ranks second all time in NMSU program history for a four-set match …

The day’s four other matches all came out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Alabama A&M and Prairie View A&M, which are tied for first in the conference standings, both came away with straight-set wins Monday night, over Alcorn State (25-19, 25-19, 25-11) and Southern University (25-22, 25-22, 25-12), respectively. Also, Texas Southern swept Grambling State (25-21, 25-23, 25-21) and Alabama State blanked Mississippi Valley State (25-18, 25-12, 25-13). Despite the low-scoring games, Alabama State’s junior middle blocker E’laisah Young managed to rack up 14 kills with a season-high .600 hitting percentage.

NCAA volleyball 10/8/2019-Sydney Hilley-Wisconsin volleyball
Wisconsin Badgers’ setter Sydney Hilley (2) sets the ball during an NCAA Volleyball match against Penn State on Saturday September 28, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photo by Tom Lynn/Wisconsin Athletic Communications

Power-Five POWs: The Big Ten gave Wisconsin setter Sydney Hilley plenty of deserved credit for Wisconsin’s set of top-five upsets last week, naming her Player and Setter of the Week. Illinois middle Ashlyn Fleming garnered the top defensive award after tallying 11 blocks in matches versus Indiana and Purdue last week. The Co-Freshmen of the Week were Illinois setter Diana Brown and Michigan outside May Pertofsky. Pertofsky earned the honor for the second week in a row …

Stanford swept the Pac-12 honors with Audriana Fitzmorris taking home the offensive award, her sixth career POW honor. The senior opposite averaged four kills per set, hitting .421, and adding 11 digs and four blocks in the week’s two matches. Her teammate Madeleine Gates, the defensive POW, totaled 15 blocks this week, while freshman honoree Kendall Kipp set a career high with 15 kills and tied her career tally with four blocks against Oregon …

SEC Offensive Player of the Week Kylie Deberg averaged 5.50 points per set in Missouri’s wins over LSU and Texas A&M last week. The top defensive player in the SEC was Kentucky’s Leah Meyer who had 13 blocks in her team’s last two matches. Georgia claimed the setter and freshman honors, with Meghan Donovan averaging 13.57 assists per set for the Dawgs and Kacie Evans recording the first two double-doubles of her career against Tennessee and Alabama …

Who else but Baylor’s Yossiana Pressley earned the Big 12’s Offensive POW (for the third time this year), while her setter Hannah Lockin got the defensive nod. Pressley led the league in kills per set (5.67) in Baylor’s wins last week, while Lockin scooped 10 digs versus K-State and logged six blocks against Oklahoma. TCU’s McKenzie Nichols is the Rookie of the Week following a 59-assist performance versus Texas Tech, the most in a single match by a freshman in TCU history …

Chinaza Ndee got her first ACC POW award, and UNC outside Parker Austin is the top freshman. Ndee hit .356 for the week with double-digit kills in both of Pitt’s matches, in addition to eight blocks and six digs. Austin, a native of Alberta, Canada, tallied a double-double versus Virginia Tech with 14 digs and 14 kills …

Around the nation: In addition to averaging 12.8 assists per set, the Missouri Valley POW Rachel Koop of Northern Iowa scored seven kills and hit .778 on the weekend. She ranks 10th in UNI record books with 2,276 career assists. Also in the MVC, defensive POW Elle Van Grinsven of Loyola averaged two blocks per set as she got her first double-double of the season with 12 kills and 12 blocks against Drake. That block tally is the fourth-highest single-match total in program history. The conference’s top freshman Taylor Venuto hit .458 last week. She’s averaging .381 …

Jordan Thompson scored her fourth AAC offensive honor of the season after a week in which she averaged 9.29 kills per set and totaled 37 in a four-set victory over USF. She now leads the nation in kills, points, kills per set, and points per set. Defensive POW Tulsa libero Taylor Horsfall didn’t make a single reception error in last week’s matches, in addition to tallying 10 assists, five aces, and 5.62 digs per set …

Sun Belt defensive POW Baylor Bumford broke the Georgia Southern record with 15 blocks in a win over Troy. She also hit .545 with 14 kills in the week’s two matches. South Alabama middle Kelley Hartman is the offensive POW following a career performance of 29 kills against Georgia State. Brigitta Petrenko of Coastal Carolina is the conference’s top setter this week, while Appalachian State setter Sam Bickley garnered the freshman award …

As you might know from reading this roundup each week, the Mid-American Conference dishes out six awards each Monday. The highlight this week was Miami middle blocker Avarie Powell’s 25 kills in a pair of sweeps. The junior made just four errors to hit .553 …

The Southland defensive POW, libero Addison Miller of Sam Houston State, averaged six digs per set last week, helping her team hold opponents to a .137 hitting percentage. On the offensive side of the coin, Alexis Warren of Northwestern State impressed with 38 kills in two matches, hitting .402 …

NM State junior Salanoa was named the Western Athletic Conference defensive POW even before she collected 11 block assists in Monday night’s match. Last week she had seven blocks in a three-set win over UT Rio Grande Valley. She leads the conference with 1.60 blocks/set. Kanza Tarawhiti is the offensive POW for the WAC. She averaged 4.71 kills and 0.43 aces per set in a pair of wins for Utah Valley …

Lipscomb setter Morgan Elmore claimed the first weekly conference award of her career and is the Atlantic Sun POW. She averaged 11.29 assists per set, and with 1.43 digs per set, she became just the fourth Lipscomb player to surpass 3,000 career digs. Defensive POW Kennesaw State libero Karlee Grover, had 22 digs versus Lipscomb. The freshman honoree is Sydney Bolding of Jacksonville who averaged 4.80 kills per set hitting .512 in three matches last week …

In America East, Hartford’s Jenna Bridges earned her eighth career POW award, while Stony Brook setter LeAnne Sakowicz got her 10th career setter OTW honor. Kianai Kerstetter of Stony Brook and Brooke Hayden of UMBC shared the defensive accolade, and Hartford’s Maddie Lindsay was named Rookie of the Week for the fifth time this year …

Back-to-back doubles for Dayton sophomore Jamie Peterson resulted in the offensive POW award in the Atlantic 10. Jasmin Sneed captured the defensive award after hitting .400 and averaging 2.33 blocks per set for Virginia Commonwealth. Morgan Kelly, a Duquesne outside, is the Rookie of the Week. She had 23 kills over two matches, hitting .647 against George Mason …

The Big East named Keeley Davis its top freshman for the fifth week in a row. She led Creighton to sweeps of St. John’s and Seton Hall over the weekend, averaging 4.00 points per set with 19 kills and four aces …

Sarah Davis had a massive week for Sacramento State, averaging 5.90 kills per set in her team’s pair of five-set matches. The senior has set a new career-high kills total in the past three matches, finishing with a 31-kill total versus Northern Arizona on Saturday. Defensive POW Ellie Snook of Portland State logged more than 30 digs in both of last week’s matches …

Big South preseason POY, Winthrop setter Siani Yamaguichi, is the conference’s POW. High Point’s Abby Bottomley was named defensive POW, her third straight, while Campbell’s Elyse Gross is the Freshman of the Week …

The Big West picked Cal Poly outside Maia Dvoracek as the POW for the third time in four weeks. Freshman of the Week Tallulah Froley collected 24 kills in two matches for UC Santa Barbara, hitting .600. Long Beach State libero Hailey Harward had 22 digs in a win over CSUN and is the defensive POW …

North Texas claimed two of the four Conference USA weekly honors, with Jordan Burks picking up the defensive award and Kaliegh Skopal the top setter. Western Kentucky’s Lauren Matthews had 38 kills hitting .621 in a pair of wins and is the POW. UAB setter Rachel Morse is the setter OTW …

Maria Bellinger won the Colonial Athletic Association offensive honor after hitting .333 with 39 kills in a 2-0 week for Delaware. Her teammate Ezgi Basaranlar had more than 40 assists in each of those wins and is the freshman honoree. Towson’s Silvia Grassini is the defensive POW, averaging 1.17 blocks per set in sweeps of Northeastern and Hofstra …

Milwaukee freshman middle Ari Miller won the Horizon League offensive honor with Wright State libero Jenn Story taking home the defensive trophy. Story not only had 33 digs in two matches, but also somehow picked up two kills …

For the fourth time this year, Chichi Ikwuazom is the Ivy League POW as she had 67 kills and 15 blocks, hitting .514, in a 1-2 week for Columbia. Harvard’s Grace Allen hit .679 with 19 kills and three blocks, including an errorless performance versus Brown, and she is the Ivy rookie honoree …

Setter Whitney Brown, the Northeast Conference POW, did it all for Robert Morris, averaging 9.71 assists, 3.14 digs, and 0.86 blocks per set with three aces in a pair of conference victories. Her teammate Emma Granger is the defensive POW, and LIU’s Karolina Nova nabbed her third consecutive Rookie of the Week honor …

Outsides Olivia Lohmeier of Morehead State and Rachel Giustino of Murray State shared the Ohio Valley offensive award this week and Lexie Libs of Jacksonville State and Claire Ochs of Southeast Missouri are the co-setters OTW. Libs had 90 assists in two matches, while Ochs had 83. Defensive POW Maggie Adams of Southeast Missouri had 18 blocks …

Loyola Maryland outside hitter Ann Ernst headlined the Patriot League weekly awards, collecting 22 kills and 24 digs in a match versus Bucknell. Her setter Ashley Dwyer is the Rookie of the Week …

In the SoCon, Kelsi Hobbs of Samford (offensive), Meagan Sanchez of Western Carolina (defensive), and Emily Arnold of ETSU (setter) earned recognition …

Pepperdine’s Shannon Scully averaged 4.00 kills per set in three matches last week, a number bested only by her defensive tally of 4.17 digs per set (50 total). The West Coast Conference POW also made just two errors on 70 total reception attempts.

Oral Roberts senior outside hitter CeCe Madison and sophomore defensive specialist Sarah Thiessen claimed this week’s Summit League POW honors. In two victories Madison averaged 3.67 kills and 3.56 digs per set while adding seven assists and three service aces. Thiessen had back-to-back 21-dig matches.

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