NCAA volleyball: Texas tops AVCA poll, NM State wins, RPI and POWs

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NCAA volleyball 10/29/2019-Skylar Fields-Texas volleyball
Big 12 Freshman of the week Skylar Fields (passing) has Texas at the top of the AVCA poll/Stephen Spillman, Texas photo

A new AVCA Coaches Poll came out Monday, and Texas, who swept previous No. 1 Baylor this past Wednesday, has taken over the top spot.

With a five-set win over Cal Baptist, New Mexico State continues to reign over its own, smaller fiefdom, the Western Athletic Conference, as the Aggies escaped from the Monday-night contest to maintain their 11-0 undefeated league record.

More on that match and the rest of the results from Monday follow, but first a look at Tuesday’s schedule before examining the newest AVCA top 25, the NCAA RPI, and the players of the week around the nation.

The top two teams in the Mountain West headline the slate of matches for Tuesday: Colorado State (20-1, 10-0), ranked No. 14 in the country, plays host to Wyoming (14-7, 9-1) in what they call the Border War. The last time CSU and Wyoming played each other, back on October 1, the match went to five sets in Laramie.

Cal Poly (15-6, 8-1) is home for CSUN (8-12, 3-5), and with the Mustangs locked in a battle with UC Santa Barbara (18-2, 8-1) for the top spot in the Big West, a win at home will be crucial. UCSB faces its own tough test as it travels to Long Beach State (7-13, 4-4) to face the 49ers for the first time this season.

In-state rivals Montana (3-18, 2-8) and Montana State (10-9, 6-4) play in the only Big Sky match of the night.

Oral Roberts (6-18, 2-8) travels to Omaha (13-11, 6-4) for a Summit League match, while the Sun Belt’s only match is Troy (18-4, 8-2) at South Alabama (17-7, 8-2).

The ASUN’s got two matches: NJIT (1-24, 0-9) looking for its first conference win of the season as it plays Kennesaw State (15-7, 8-2) and Liberty (14-8, 7-3) versus standings leader Florida Gulf Coast (21-3, 9-1).

The Southland schedule features Houston Baptist (14-11, 6-4) versus Abilene Christian (5-15, 3-7) and New Orleans (11-13, 4-6) at Southeastern Louisiana (11-13, 5-5).

Also Tuesday, the MEAC’s Morgan State (11-11, 5-4) hosts Coppin State (10-13, 6-3), and Southeast Missouri State (16-8, 8-2) and UT Martin (9-16, 5-5) play an OVC match.

The night’s three nonconference matchups pit East Carolina (15-8, 3-7) against NC Central (6-20, 5-5), Alabama State (11-18, 8-6) against Florida A&M (7-18, 5-5), and Alcorn State (4-20, 2-11) versus Wiley of the NAIA.

Want to watch a match? We’ve got you covered. Click here for the complete NCAA.com scoreboard and to watch any match that is being broadcast, go to the VolleyballMag.com daily TV and streaming listings.

AVCA Top 25: There was lots of shuffling in the top 25 this week. With Texas beating Baylor, the Longhorns are now on top, while Pittsburgh, with its one loss, sits at No. 2. Baylor fell to No. 3, and Wisconsin continues to rise, taking the No. 4 spot this week.

The remainder of the top 10 is Stanford, Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska, Creighton, and Marquette.

Washington drops out of the top 10 after losing to Utah last week, coming in at No. 12. An upset of Nebraska helped Purdue rise four spots to No. 16. UCLA, which upset Stanford and Cal, cracked the rankings at No. 25, while San Diego dropped out.

NCAA RPI: In the latest RPI, Baylor stays No. 1 with Texas nipping at its heels at No. 2. Then, to round out the top 10: Wisconsin, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Washington, Nebraska, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Florida.

Unranked Texas A&M is all the way up at No. 11. The next highest unranked teams are Louisville at No. 16 and USC at No. 24.

Ranked but low on the RPI list are Illinois at No. 36 and Washington State at No. 37.

Monday’s results: There were just four on the schedule and three of them went five sets, including NM State winning its 12th match in a row.

In the Missouri Valley, Drake (9-15, 3-8) came away with a 24-26, 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 18-16 comeback victory at Valparaiso (8-16, 3-7) as Emily Plock had 21 kills, four aces, 16 digs and five blocks, one solo. Michele Rabbit had 14 kills, two blocks and five digs, and Gillian Gergen had 13 kills, two aces, six blocks and nine digs. Ally Cummings had 21 kills, five blocks and a dig for Valpo, and Peyton McCarthy had 18 kills, hit .389, and had eight digs and seven blocks, one solo. Haley Hart added eight kills and also seven blocks, one solo …

There were two Western Athletic Conference matches as UT Rio Grande Valley (13-12, 7-4) beat Utah Valley (8-14, 5-5) and NM State (20-3, 11-0) beat California Baptist (10-13, 4-6).

Sarah Cruz had 19 kills, a block, five digs and two of her team’s 13 aces, including the match-clincher for UTRGV. Barbara Silva added 16 kills, five blocks and two digs. Debora Nazario had a kill, 49 assists, three blocks and seven digs. Kazna Tarawhiti led Utah Valley with 16 kills, two assists, 10 digs and six blocks, and Bailey Christensen had 10 kills, two blocks and three digs. Makaila Jarema had five kills and 12 blocks …

NM State had to go the distance to keep its streak alive with a 23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, 16-14 victory that saw Megan Hart get 18 kills while hitting .389 to go with four digs and four blocks, one solo. Savannah Davison added 16 kills and had two aces, five blocks and 18 digs, and Ashley Anselmo had 12 kills, hit .391, and had two blocks and three digs. Megan Sester had 17 kills, a block and two digs for CBU, and Sydney Marks and Cassidy Dennison had 12 kills each …

The one that didn’t go five was a 25-22, 25-19, 25-15 Colonial victory for Northeastern (12-11, 6-5) over visiting William & Mary (6-15, 2-8). Natalie Shollin had 15 kills for the Huskies, hit .524, and had a block and a dig. Nailah Jenkins had 11 kills and hit .529 to go with a block, and Athena Ardila had 10 kills, an ace, a block, and eight digs.

The POWs: Syracuse outside hitter Polina Shemanova earned her first ACC POW honor of the season, topping 20 kills in both of her team’s last two matches. She finished the week with 45 kills (6.43/set), 19 digs, five blocks, and three aces. Pitt setter Lexis Akeo earned her fourth ACC Freshman of the Week honor after leading Pitt to big wins over Notre Dame and Louisville with 11.17 assists per set …

For the third week in a row, a Texas player garnered the Big 12 offensive POW honor, with the designation going to Brionne Butler this time. The sophomore middle blocker led her team to a sweep of then No.1 Baylor, with a team-high 12 kills and eight blocks. Her teammate Skylar Fields (last week’s offensive POW) is this week’s top rookie in the conference, her fourth such honor this season, while Texas Tech’s Emerson Solano got the defensive nod thanks to a career-high 31-dig performance versus Oklahoma …

Grace Cleveland had 31 kills to lead Purdue to wins over Iowa and Nebraska last week, earning her second Big Ten POW honor. Minnesota’s Regan Pittman is the defensive POW after setting a new career-high in blocks with 11 versus Michigan and then breaking her personal best kill tally with 19 against Michigan State. Penn State’s Gabby Blossom is the setter of the week and Michigan State’s Biamba Kabengele is the conference’s top freshman …

Unsurprisingly, UCLA took home two of three Pac-12 awards this week, with Mac May the offensive POW and Lexi Hadrych the freshman of the week. May had 12 kills and 10 digs in an upset of Stanford, and then posted 21 kills against Cal. Hadrych had 10 kills in each of the Bruins’ matches last week. Stanford’s Morgan Hentz earned the defensive POW designation after a week in which she passed 2,000 career kills and matched her season-high with 27 versus USC …

Florida’s Thayer Hall and South Carolina’s Mikayla Robinson shared the SEC’s offensive POW honor this week. Hall averaged 4.00 kills per set last week, including a career-high .484 hitting percentage against Alabama. Robinson maintained a .559 hitting percentage in a pair of wins for USC, averaging 3.67 kills per set. Kentucky libero and this week’s defensive POW Gabby Curry averaged 5.57 digs per set last week. The top setter is Andrea Fuentes of Missouri, who averaged 14.83 assists per set. Her 51 assists in a sweep of Mississippi State is the most by an individual in a three-set SEC match this season. Outside hitter McKenzie Moorman scored the freshman award averaging 3.40 kills per set and hitting .607.

Around the nation: The American Athletic Conference gave Cincinnati’s Jordan Thompson her fifth offensive POW award so far this year after a week in which she averaged 7.50 kills per set, hitting .475. UCF libero Makenzie Kuchmaner is the AAC defensive POW with 17 digs versus Houston and 22 against Tulane …

Stetson, which won a pair of five set matches last week, swept the ASUN honors, with middle blocker Brianna Schmid the POW, libero Chelcie Spence the defensive POW, and Elena Djokovic the top freshman …

Atlantic 10 POW Kennedy Cordia led St. Louis to wins over George Mason and George Washington last week, topping the stat sheet with 90 assists, 33 digs, and five aces. The junior cracked the top-five of St. Louis’ career-assists list, totalling 2,349 …

Big Sky offensive POW Abby Akin, a middle blocker at Northern Arizona, hit .526 in a pair of matches, averaging 4.00 points per set. Montana State libero Allyssa Rizzo garnered the defensive POW award after averaging 6.33 digs per set against Portland State and Sacramento State …

Siani Yamaguchi topped 30 assists in both of Winthrop’s matches last week, averaging 11.66 per set. The Big South POW also recorded a double-double in both matches …

Lindsey Ruddins earned her 12th career Big West POW honor, a new conference record. Last week, the UCSB senior had 38 kills with just three errors in two matches, hitting a career-best .548 against UC Davis. Hawai’i setter Norene Iosia is the defensive POW. She had 22 digs, 12 blocks, and three aces in the Wahine’s last two matches …

Conference USA offensive POW Serena Patterson averaged 5.67 points per set for UTEP, helping the Miners reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2013. The league’s setter of the week is Nadia Dieudonne of Western Kentucky who averaged 12.83 assists pers set in a pair of sweeps (77 total) …

Charleston libero Logan Manusky topped 20 digs in all three of her team’s matches last week and is the CAA defensive POW. Towson’s Lydia Wiers earned her fourth rookie of the week award, making just five errors on 46 swings to hit .457 for the week …

Horizon League offensive POW Maddie Yoss of Green Bay finished the week with 75 assists in two matches, averaging 12.5 assists per set. Wright State libero Jenna Story earned her fourth defensive POW award of the season, collecting 69 digs in two matches …

Miami of Ohio setters Morgan Seaman and Louise Comerford shared the MAC East setter of the week honor after combining for 84 assists in just six sets (14.0 per set) and leading Miami to a .317 team hitting percentage …

Howard middle Kira Porter is the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference POW after hitting .475 in a pair of wins. Delaware State setter Freja Gortz is the setter of the week after setting a new three-set match record with 46 assists versus Florida A&M …

Missouri Valley POW Hannah Becker, an outside hitter for Southern Illinois, took 120 swings last week in three matches, making just five errors to hit .408. Defensive POW Gabriela Macedo of Evansville set a new program record with 46 digs in a three-set match, good for second-most in MVC history …

Northeastern Conference POW Sarah Ciszek averaged 2.0 kills, 3.2 digs, and 9.3 assists per set for Sacred Heart last week, making just one attack error to average a .586 hitting percentage …

UT Martin setter Kenzie Hinshaw is the Ohio Valley Conference setter of the week. She collected 128 assists in three matches, leading the Skyhawks to a .314 team hitting percentage …

Patriot League POW Loyola Maryland libero Katie Forsythe set a new conference single-match record with 46 digs, the second-most by a DI player so far this year …

Hannah Price is the SoCon setter of the week after averaging 11.83 assist and 3.33 digs per set in a pair of wins for Western Carolina. She topped 30 assists in both matches …

Anett Nemeth totaled 58 kills in a pair of matches for Coastal Carolina, hitting .335 and earning the Sun Belt POW award, despite her team going 0-2. Texas State setter Emily DeWalt is named setter of the week, finishing the week with 94 assists over nine sets …

Western Athletic Conference offensive POW Savannah Davidson helped New Mexico State remain undefeated in league play, averaging 5.29 points and 4.7 kills on .306 hitting in two wins for the Aggies …

McKenna Miller scored her second West Coast Conference POW honor of the season, leading BYU to wins over LMU and Pepperdine with 33 kills in the two matches, hitting .403.

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