“Amazing night for the Texas Longhorns” puts defending champs back into NCAA semis
December 10, 2023
November 15, 2023
East Tennessee advanced in the SoCon Championship and Navy and American moved on in the Patriot League as NCAA Division I women’s volleyball postseason play got underway Tuesday.
In this report, we have the recaps, the AVCA news of the week, and what you need to know in the Power 5 conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC — as their respective regular seasons head into the final 10 days.
There have already been three coach firings — two on Tuesday — and we have the info.
First a look at Wednesday’s schedule.
There are three Big 12 matches and all involve ranked teams. Texas, the No. 7 team in the VolleyballMag.com Super 16 Media Poll, is home for Iowa State; AVCA No. 17 Kansas is home for No. 23 Baylor; and No. 21 Houston, which has won seven in row, longest streak in the Big 12, is home for surging TCU.
In the SEC, VBM No. 10 Arkansas goes to Ole Miss and Auburn is at Mississippi State.
The lone Big Ten match has Ohio State at Illinois.
There are six Missouri matches, including league-leading Northern Iowa, which already won the regular-season title, home for second-place Drake.
There’s MACtion as teams jockey for tourney position, but not top-seeded Western Michigan, which plays at NIU. WMU (27-2, 17-0) has won 17 in a row.
The Ohio Valley race, coming down to the wire, has five matches. Eastern Illinois is a game up on Southeast Missouri and is home for Western Illinois, while SEMO is home for Lindenwood.
In The Summit League, South Dakota — which beat South Dakota State in five Tuesday — and Omaha are tied for lead at 12-4 and Kansas City and Denver are at 11-4. Kansas City is home for St. Thomas and Denver plays host to Oral Roberts. If both win, good luck with that four-way tiebreaker to decide seeding for the conference tournament that begins Sunday.
The Sun Belt Championship gets going in Foley, Alabama, as Arkansas State plays Georgia State and App State plays Louisiana-Monroe.
Want to watch? We have the conference-by-conference schedule with viewing links for any match that is being shown in our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.
AVCA POLL: Like the VBM Super 16, there was plenty of movement this week. Nebraska stayed No. 1, but Stanford moved up two spots to second, Wisconsin dropped to No. 3, Louisville is up a notch to fourth, and Texas dropped two spots to No .5.
Auburn dropped out and Florida State moved in at No. 25.
Click here for the complete AVCA Division I Women’s Volleyball Poll.
AVCA POW: The AVCA national player of the week is Olivia Babcock of Pittsburgh. The freshman right side had 15 kills with no errors in 23 attacks, hitting .623 in a sweep at Georgia Tech in a key ACC victory for the Panthers. She added two aces, four blocks and three digs.
COACHING CAROUSEL: Add Jacksonville and Lamar to the list. In case you missed it, Seattle U made a change and you can read about it in the WAC section of Tuesday’s conference-by-conference breakdown. The link is at the end of this story.
Jacksonville fired Maggie Johnson after four seasons, 9-19 this year, 6-10 in the ASUN.
Jacksonville has been to the NCAA Tournament four times, in 2004, 2013, 2014, and in the spring 2021 season. Jacksonville said in a news release: “Jordan Armstrong has been named acting head coach while a national search for the next head coach begins immediately.”
Lamar fired Brandon Crisp after two years in which his teams went 11-47. Lamar “will begin a national search for his replacement,” it said. The Cardinals, 2-27 this year, 2-16 in the Southland Conference, has been to the NCAA Tournament four times, the last in 2008.
RECAPS: The SoCon tourney got underway as eighth-seeded ETSU (6-22) knocked out ninth-seeded UNC Greensboro (1-27) as Briana Cantrell had 12 kills and Jenna Forster 11. Action continues Friday with quarterfinals …
In the Patriot League Championship, third-seeded American (19-10) swept No. 6 Loyola Maryland (11-16) and fifth-seeded Navy (18-8) swept Bucknell (15-11). American’s Zeynep Uzen had 10 kills and Loyola hit .021; Jamie Llewellyn led Navy with 10 kills. The PL tourney continues with semifinals Friday when American plays second-seeded Army and Navy faces No. 1 Colgate …
Long Beach State swept its Big West match at UC San Diego behind 17 kills from Elise Agi … South Dakota got 21 kills from Kylen Sealock as the Coyotes won in five at South Dakota State to stay tied for first in The Summit League. SDSU’s Sydni Schetnan had 18 kills with two errors in 28 attacks to hit .571 and had five blocks, two solo … Also in The Summit, North Dakota beat visiting North Dakota State in five … UNLV swept its Mountain West match at San Jose State as the Rebels hit .393. Dakota Quinlan had 10 kills with one error in 15 swings and Jordyn Freeman had 10 with two errors in 17 attacks.
As the regular season heads into the final 10 days, and with the NCAA bracket announcement set for Sunday, November 24, we continue our look at where everyone stands. The RPI numbers are from NCAA.com, which was last updated Sunday.
The ACC has been something else this season. Florida State (20-8, 14-2, RPI 30), which got into the AVCA Poll this week for the first time, is tied with Louisville (23-3, 14-2, RPI 3) for first place. They are two of four ACC teams that will get into the NCAA Tournament regardless with four others hoping for the best.
The definites are Pittsburgh (22-4, 13-2, RPI 4) and Georgia Tech (21-4, 12-3, RPI 13), with Pitt hoping for a top-4 seed and GT hoping for a top 16.
Then you have — incredibly lined up 44-47 in the RPI — Wake Forest (17-9, 8-7, RPI 44), NC State (20-7, 10-6, RPI 45), Miami (16-9, 9-6, RPI 46) and Duke (17-9, 8-7, RPI 47).
Among the matches that will have impact on the situation this week: Georgia Tech at Miami on Friday and the long-awaited Louisville-at-Pitt rematch (Louisville won in four at Louisville last month) on Saturday. Next Wednesday, GT is at Louisville and Miami is at Pitt.
What a Wednesday ahead in this conference, where a lot is on the line.
Texas (19-4, 14-1, RPI 6) has a three-game lead on BYU (22-5, 11-4, RPI 14) and Kansas (19-5, 10-4, RPI 19) in the loss column and they are three of five teams that are sure to get in.
Also in are Houston (16-7, 9-5, RPI 27), and barring complete collapses, Baylor (14-11, 8-7, RPI 32) and Iowa State (17-8, 8-6, RPI 33).
TCU (15-12, 8-8, RPI 43) is in the discussion and Kansas State (14-10, 8-7, RPI 51) has great wins but is a very long shot.
Things could get all shaken up this week, starting Wednesday.
Iowa State, which was the only team to beat the Longhorns last year when they went on to win the national championship, is at Texas.
Baylor goes to Kansas and TCU is at Houston.
Friday, Iowa State goes to Houston and Kansas is at BYU.
And there are still two playing dates after that, including Houston at Baylor Wednesday.
Could the Big Ten get just four teams into the NCAA Tournament? It’s very possible if Minnesota doesn’t finish strong. Also on the line for the B1G is top-four seeding. Nebraska is assured of being at home the first four rounds, but what happens if Nebraska wins at Wisconsin next week? Would the Badgers hang on as a top-four seed with three losses?
Nebraska (25-0, 16-9, RPI 1), the nation’s only undefeated team, has a two-game lead on Wisconsin (23-2, 14-2, RPI 5).
Penn State (17-8, 11-5, RPI 20), which lost to Nebraska in five and then last week beat Wisconsin, and Purdue (17-8, 11-5, RPI 15) are tied for third. Purdue, of course, is in strong contention to get a top-16 seed.
Minnesota (13-11, 9-7, RPI 41) which has been living on the edge, is coming off a five-set win over Indiana — winning the second set 32-30 and rallying to win the fourth and fifth sets — had lost three of its previous five. The good news for the Gophers is they play three of the weaker B1G teams, Iowa, Ohio State and Illinois, before finishing the regular season at home against Nebraska.
There’s a lot on the line Friday when Wisconsin goes to Purdue and all eyes will be on Madison the day after Thanksgiving when the Badgers play host to Nebraska.
Aside from one major misstep by Stanford, the Pac-12 has been a roller-coaster ride.
Stanford (22-3, 15-1, RPI 2) had a couple of tough losses early and its surprising three-set loss at Arizona State, but the Cardinal has otherwise set the bar and is a likely top-four seed.
Oregon (22-5, 12-4, RPI 8) and Arizona State (24-4, 12-4, RPI 17) are tied for second, followed by USC (17-9, 11-5, RPI 31) and Washington State (20-7, 10-6, RPI 12). UCLA (16-10, 8-8, RPI 42) is hoping for a strong finish that would give the Pac-12 six teams in in its last year of existence.
There are matches coming up that could certainly shake things up, including Oregon at Arizona State and Stanford at UCLA on Friday. Sunday, Stanford is at USC and Tuesday USC is at Oregon.
The standings are a battle between Kentucky (15-7, 13-1, RPI 9), Tennessee (21-3, 12-2, RPI 7) and Arkansas (22-4, 12-2, RPI 10).
But Missouri (17-9, 9-6, RPI 29), Auburn (18-7, 8-6, RPI 26), Florida (16-7, 8-6, RPI 18) and Texas A&M (15-9. 7-7, RPI 28) are all in the top 29 in the RPI. Georgia (15-11, 6-8, RPI 50) probably doesn’t have the strength of schedule in its remaining four matches get into the NCAA mix for a league that led the NCAA with seven teams in the 2022 backet and will likely have seven again.
Among the upcoming matches of note: Friday, Florida is at Missouri, while on Saturday Missouri goes to Kentucky, Tennessee is at Texas A&M and Florida is at Arkansas. Next Wednesday, Kentucky goes to Arkansas and the following Saturday Florida is at Kentucky.
We looked at all the non-Power 5 conferences Tuesday with an eye on who’s in, who might be and links to every conference tournament.