NCAA volleyball: Texas A&M makes its move into the AVCA Poll, RPI, POWs

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NCAA volleyball 11/5/2019-Hollann Hans-Texas A&M volleyball
COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 11, 2019 - outside hitter Hollann Hans #9 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the volleyball game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena in College Station, TX. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Texas A&M is hot, and people are starting to notice. The Aggies are riding a five-match win streak that includes wins over then-No. 15 Kentucky and then-No. 24 Missouri, and they finally cracked the AVCA top 25 this week.

Even more impressively, Texas A&M broke into the top 10 in the latest RPI ranking.

More on both of those rankings to come and a recap of Monday night’s seven matches, 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.

In the Big West, Cal State Fullerton (11-9, 3-6) goes to UC Davis (13-11, 5-6) and UC Riverside (5-17, 1-10) hosts UC Irvine (4-17, 1-8).

The Big Sky’s Idaho State (6-18, 3-9) and Weber State (17-6, 8-4) play in Ogden, Utah, and among the Mountain West schools, only Nevada (16-8, 6-6) and San Jose State (12-11, 5-7) play.

Tennessee State (10-15, 3-9) and Belmont (2-25, 1-11) face off in an Ohio Valley Conference match in Nashville. The Southland schedule has just Lamar (8-14, 3-9) at New Orleans (11-15, 4-8).

In the Summit League, conference leader South Dakota (23-1, 12-0) plays cross-state opponent South Dakota State (6-18, 3-9). And finally, the Sun Belt’s Little Rock (6-17, 4-7) and Arkansas State (13-10, 4-7) face off.

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: Monday’s new AVCA poll had few major changes. The top six remained exactly the same — Texas, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Wisconsin, Stanford, Minnesota — with Nebraska and Penn State simply switching spots to sit at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, after the Huskers won the head-to-head contest in five sets over the weekend. The Big East’s Creighton and Marquette round out the top 10.

Kentucky dropped three spots to No. 18 after being upset by Texas A&M on Friday. For its part, A&M made its first appearance in the top 25 poll since 2016, earning this week’s No. 25 spot. Missouri, which was also defeated by A&M over the weekend, dropped out.

Click here for the complete AVCA Poll.

NCAA RPI: With its two top-25 wins, A&M rose from last week’s No. 11 RPI standing to No. 9. The Aggies join a top 10 otherwise not much changed from seven days ago. Kentucky fell out of the top 10, now ranked No. 13, but the other nine teams remain the same, with only small changes in order.

Baylor remains No. 1 with Texas No. 2, and Wisconsin jumping up one spot to No. 3. Then it’s: Pittsburgh, Stanford, Nebraska, Washington, Minnesota, Texas A&M, and Florida.

Others that catch the eye are UCLA at No. 14, Oklahoma at No. 25, and UC Santa Barbara at No. 26.

Click here for the complete NCAA RPI.

Monday’s results: Standings held in the Missouri Valley Conference as Illinois State (14-10, 7-5) swept Indiana State (5-18, 3-10), and Bradley (12-11, 8-4) escaped Evansville (14-10, 5-8) in five sets. Evansville’s Melanie Feliciano led the match with 20 kills and libero Gabriela Macedo topped the boxscore with 36 digs, but Bradley had four players in double-digit kills, including a team-high 18 from Rachel Pranger. Three Bradley players finished with more than 20 digs.

Kansas City (13-9, 9-3) prevailed in the only Western Athletic Conference match of the night, defeating Cal Baptist (11-14, 5-7) in four. UMKC’s Alicia Harrington led with 24 kills, 10 digs, and two blocks.

The SWAC had four matches on the schedule Monday and all were decided in straight sets. Alabama State (13-19, 10-6) beat Mississippi Valley State (4-28, 0-16), and ASU’s Krysta Medearis led with 15 kills and eight digs. Alabama A&M (17-13, 13-3) held Alcorn State (5-22, 2-14) to fewer than 14 points in each of the three sets. Danielle Lilley’s 18 kills led Texas Southern (10-15, 9-7) to the sweep of Grambling (11-21, 4-12), and Prairie View A&M (14-20, 13-3) got double-digit digs from three different players in its victory over Southern (10-19, 11-4).

Power Five POWs: For the second week in a row, Syracuse sophomore outside hitter Polina Shemanova is the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week. Shemanova had 58 kills (6.44 per set), 35 digs, and six blocks in two matches, helping Syracuse pull off upsets of Louisville and Notre Dame. Pitt setter Lexis Akeo (to be featured here later this week) earned her fifth freshman honor, averaging 10.50 assists per set in the Panthers’ sweeps of Wake Forest and Duke …

Texas senior outside hitter Micaya White had 4.8 kills per set last week in sweeps of Texas Tech and West Virginia, and she is the Big 12 offensive POW. Her teammate Asjia O’Neal is the top freshman, after a week in which she hit .556 with 12 kills in six sets, adding five blocks, three digs, an assist, and an ace.

The defensive POW, Oklahoma middle blocker Brianna Kadiku, garnered her first conference award of the season after setting a new career-high with 10 blocks against Baylor. She finished the week with 19 total blocks, more than any other player in the conference …

Wisconsin claimed three Big Ten weekly honors, as Dana Rettke was the POW, libero Tiffany Clark a co-defensive POW, and Sydney Hilley the setter OTW. This trio played significant parts in leading Wisconsin to sweeps of Maryland and Indiana.

Nebraska’s freshman libero Kenzie Knuckles shared the defensive honor with Clark, earning the nod after averaging 5.00 digs per set in a sweep of Rutgers and five-set win over Penn State.

The Big Ten named Ohio State’s Jenaisya Moore the freshman OTW. She averaged 4.12 kills per set in the Buckeyes bouts with Maryland and Minnesota …

USC’s Khalia Lanier smashed 56 kills in two matches last week, topping 1,800 career kills and moving into third all time in the USC record books, and she is the Pac-12 offensive POW. Utah’s Kenzie Koerber earned the defensive nod after finishing both of the Utes’ matches last week with a double-double, including a career-high 20 digs versus Arizona State.

The league’s top freshman is Washington State’s Magda Jehlárová who had 13 kills and six blocks versus USC …

After a week in which Texas A&M got two big upsets, it’s no surprise that the Aggies’ best player, Hollann Hans is the SEC offensive POW. The senior averaged 6.06 points and 5.00 kills per set last week, adding 13 digs over the two matches.

Rachael Kramer, who had six blocks in Florida’s win over Missouri, is the defensive POW, while Georgia’s Meghan Donovan earned the top setter award, averaging 12.71 assists per set last week. Her fellow Bulldog Kacie Evans is the freshman OTW. She set a new career-high with 23 kills versus Tennessee and averaged 5.00 kills per set.

Around the nation: Of course, Cincinnati’s Jordan Thompson, who had 50 kills in a five-set victory over UConn, is the American Athletic Conference offensive POW. She finished the week with 88 kills, hitting .446, with three aces and 33 digs. AAC defensive POW Taylor Horsfall of Tulsa had 64 digs, averaging 7.11 per set …

Atlantic 10 defensive POW Morgan Williams finished last week with 68 total digs, recording her sixth and seventh 30-digs matches of the season and breaking Fordham’s single-season digs record with a month left to go …

Maia Dvoracek is the Big West POW for the fourth time this year after racking up 49 kills last week, averaging 7.00 per set, along with a .347 hitting percentage, 2.43 digs per set and 0.57 aces per set …

North Texas middle blocker Alysha Johnson had 16 blocks in two matches to earn the Conference USA freshman OTW honor. She also tallied 22 kills, hitting .341 …

The Big East offensive POW is Marquette’s Allie Barber, who averaged 4.67 kills in six sets, while the defensive honor went to libero teammate Martha Konovodoff, who averaged 5.17 digs and had 14 assists in those two matches …

In the Ivy League, Chichi Ikwuazom hit .506 with 48 kills in two matches for Columbia. With those numbers, the senior has set a new single-season program record for kills …

Of the six MAC awards dolled out this week, MAC East co-defensive POW Emma Tupa of Ohio has the most impressive stat line, totalling 52 digs in two matches to average 7.43 per set. Her 31 digs versus Miami set a new career-high …

Valparaiso libero Rylee Cookerly did not commit a single reception error in three matches last week. The junior, the Missouri Valley defensive POW, also collected 69 digs …

Robert Morris junior middle blocker Emma Granger earned the Northeast Conference POW and defensive POW honors after collecting the second-most points (27.5) in a single match in RMU history as she had 22 kills and eight blocks against Sacred Heart. Granger hit .500 over the week, averaging 5.00 kills and 1.90 blocks per set in a trio of wins for conference leader Robert Morris …

The SoCon player of the week is freshman Lauren Hatch of ETSU, who tied a program record for kills in a match with 29 against Chattanooga. She finished the week with 42 kills, 12 digs, and two blocks …

Troy’s Amara Anderson earned the Sun Belt setter honor after she tallied 55 assists in the match against Coastal Carolina and 43 versus Appalachian State. Her career total of 2,234 assists is seventh all-time at Troy, and Anderson is still only a sophomore …

Pepperdine senior middle Tarah Wylie set two records last week, so is of course the West Coast Conference POW. She had 11 blocks in a sweep of Portland, setting the program rally-scoring era record for blocks in a three-set match, and in a five-setter over Gonzaga, Wylie hit .818 with 18 kills on 22 swings with no errors. That ranks third at Pepperdine in the rally-scoring era for highest attack percentage in a single match …

And in the America East, the POW is Hartford senior Jenna Bridges, the senior middle who averaged 6.0 kills and hit .745 in two victories.

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