NCAA volleyball: SEC matches on tap Wednesday, new life for W&M, the POWs

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Marina Markova of Syracuse is the ACC POW/Syracuse University Athletics photo

NCAA Division I women’s volleyball resumes play Wednesday with three matches in the SEC, including Missouri at Alabama, the series that was postponed last week because Mizzou had positive COVID tests.

Also, Mississippi State is at LSU, and Florida goes to Auburn.

All three of those matchups continue Thursday when the SEC also has Texas A&M at Ole Miss.

The ACC is off until Thursday when Wake Forest goes to Florida State and Clemson plays at Georgia Tech. The next Big 12 matches are Thursday when is Oklahoma at Kansas State, and Texas is home for Texas Tech. It was announced by the league and TCU that its matches with Kansas are postponed with this statement from the Big 12: “In accordance with Big 12 Conference volleyball match interruption guidelines, the TCU home matches against Kansas on October 22-23 and Texas on October 30-31 have been postponed. The Conference will work with the institutions to reschedule later in the season.”

And in the Sun Belt, there are two Thursday day-night twinbills with Troy at Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern at South Alabama.

Sun Belt tourney — The league, which has been besieged by coronavirus-positive postponements, has announced it will conduct its postseason tournament in Foley, Alabama (just north of Gulf Shores), November 18-22.

The tournament will have four pools of three teams each with the winners advancing into the semifinals. The final is a 1 p.m. Central, Sunday, November 22, and will be streamed on ESPN+. Click here for more information.

New life for William & Mary — On September 3, the school, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, announced it was dropping seven sports, including volleyball. But on Monday, it reversed course, at least for three of the programs. From its news release:

“Subsequently, the university received notice of intent to sue on the grounds that the announced plan, including the cuts and the associated roster adjustments in other sports, would not fully meet Title IX standards. After a detailed review, Interim Director of Athletics Jeremy Martin concluded that attainment of the anticipated roster adjustments was uncertain and the plan would not achieve equity in participation by next fall. To bring about decisive progress more swiftly, the three women’s sports would need to be restored.

“Accordingly, the university is reinstating Women’s Gymnastics, Women’s Swimming and Women’s Volleyball, which will continue as Division I varsity sports. The university wants those teams to thrive and will treat them equitably with other varsity teams at the university. By reinstating these sports, William & Mary will make significant progress toward achieving equity in participation in 2021-22. Completing that progress will require reduction in the men’s program via roster management and retaining the current cuts to the men’s teams, or a swift and significant increase in participation opportunities for women, or both.”

William & Mary finished 7-20 in 2019, 3-13 in the CAA.

ACC POWs — Syracuse sophomore middle blocker Marina Markova and teammate Lauren Hogan finished their fall seasons in style. Markova is the ACC player of the week after having 26 kills and hitting .611 in two wins over Boston College. She added seven blocks, three digs, and two aces. Hogan had 37 digs and three aces.

Big 12 POWs — For the first time in the four-week-old season, the top player wasn’t Logan Eggleston of Texas. Instead it’s Baylor senior outside Yossiana Pressley, who had 50 kills and hit .349 in two wins at Texas Tech. The defensive player of the week is graduate-student Baylor teammate Lache’ Harper, who had 13 blocks. And the rookie, for the second time is Oklahoma freshman outside Guewe Diouf, who had 29 kills in two victories over Kansas.

SEC POWs — The offensive player of the week is Kentucky senior outside Avery Skinner, who averaged 4.86 kills and hit .443 in two wins over Tennessee. Texas A&M’s Mallory Talbert got the defensive nod after the junior middle had 15 blocks in two victories over LSU. Kentucky’s Madison Lilley was the top setter after the senior had 90 assists. And the freshman is Ellie Ruprich, the South Carolina middle, who averaged 2.29 kills, hit .471, and averaged 2.71 blocks in a split with Georgia.

Sun Belt POWs — The offensive player of the week is junior outside Janell Fitzgerald of Texas State. She averaged 3.82 kills at Louisiana, including 24 kills in the second match. The defensive POW is sophomore Alli Wells of UTA, who had 25 or more digs in all three of the Mavs’ matches. The setter is — for the fourth time this season — junior Emily DeWalt of Texas State, who averaged 12 assists, hit .476 with 11 kills, and had eight blocks in three victories. And the top freshman was UTA outside Brianna Ford for the second straight week.

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