The new No. 1 in the AVCA poll, Minnesota, goes to No. 15 Penn State on Wednesday in what figures to be a classic Big Ten battle.
Minnesota is 12-1, with the only loss to Stanford before starting an 11-match winning streak. Penn State is 12-3 and has won 10 in a row, losing only one set along the way. Both teams are off to 4-0 Big Ten starts.
Also in the Big Ten on Wednesday, No. 24 Illinois goes to Northwestern.
More on the rest of the schedule in a bit as we bring you news about Kansas kneeling as a team before the national anthem, guess which team has the longest winning streak in Division I, and the NCAA is getting a new men’s program in 2018.
In the Pac-12, the only match Wednesday has No. 22 USC going to Arizona State.
The SEC has three matches on Wednesday, LSU is at Ole Miss, Texas A&M plays at Arkansas and Tennessee goes out of conference when it travels to Troy.
In the ACC, Georgia Tech goes to Clemson.
The Big 12 has three matches, TCU at Baylor, Kansas State at Texas Tech and No. 6 Kansas at Iowa State.
Also worth noting: Fairfield (14-5, 7-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), which has won eight in a row goes to Siena; New Mexico State (13-4, 4-0 Western Athletic Conference), which has won seven in a row, plays host to UTEP; Long Beach State (10-7, 4-0 Big West) goes to UC Riverside before returning home Saturday for a big one with Hawai’i.
Kansas and the national anthem
Coach Ray Bechard had an interesting way to approach the situation that is becoming an issue not just in the NFL but in all walks of sports in America. This is the story from KU:
Moments before Kansas volleyball started the second half of its 2016 schedule against Baylor on Saturday, the Jayhawks paused and kneeled – as one team – to reflect on social injustice in today’s culture.
The kneeling moment of reflection was before the anthem. The entire team continued its practice of honoring the United States and her servicemen and servicewomen by standing as one for the national anthem.
Below is a statement from the team which was read to those in attendance at Horejsi Family Athletics Center before the moment of reflection:
Kansas Volleyball prides itself in its ability to be inclusive, tolerant and compassionate. We feel our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Though we don’t always agree on every subject, we stand united against any form of social injustice. We want our love, compassion and tolerance of each other to be an example that the rest of our country can emulate. Please join KU Volleyball in a moment of reflection so each of us may contemplate how we can create a more just, respectful and inclusive nation, where everyone has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves.
After Kansas defeated Baylor, Bechard spoke with members of the media:
“It’s been something our team has had a lot of dialogue about,” Bechard said. “Our team is as diverse as any volleyball team in the country. We all come from different backgrounds, but we still know what it’s like to treat each other the right way — be compassionate, be tolerant of views.
“The team thought — what a great message to send. They did not want to disrespect the (national) anthem in any way, shape or form, so that is why they chose the timing of it. They all said, we all love our country and love our flag but is there some way we can challenge everybody in the gym today just to be a little better when it comes to decisions we make about other people and how we treat each other. Each of them will have an individual action plan that they can carry out to improve the Lawrence community moving forward.”
The nation’s longest winning streak?
You might be surprised to know, now that Nebraska lost, that it belongs to Florida Gulf Coast University, the school from Fort Myers that has won 15 matches in a row.
Coach Matt Botsford has the Eagles off to a 16-2 start after they beat USC Upstate last Sunday to improve to 3-0 in the Atlantic Sun.
FGCU lost its season opener to Villanova, beat Ohio and then lost to Western Kentucky in August. Since then, their streak includes victories over VCU, Marist, Indiana and Tulane.
The next ones are big in the ASUN when the Eagles travel to Kennesaw State on Friday and then head to Lipscomb on Saturday.
Sandbothe joins impressive Ohio State list
Taylor Sandbothe is the AVCA national player of the week.
And according to spokesperson Kyle Kuhlman, she becomes the 11th Ohio State player so honored:
Laura Davis, Nov. 21, 1994
Vanessa Wouters, Nov. 4, 1996, and Nov. 25, 1996
Stacey Gordon, Nov. 5, 2001, and Sept. 13, 2004
Laura Hageman, Oct. 6, 2003
Marisa Main, Oct. 24, 2005
Mari Hole, Nov. 13, 2012
Kaitlyn Leary, Sept. 10, 2013
Taylor Sandbothe, Oct. 4, 2016
Queens University to add men’s volleyball
The school from Charlotte, N.C., has begun a coaching search and will begin NCAA competition in 2018.
“The addition of men’s volleyball is a great complement to our department and the opportunities that Queens provides to participate in intercollegiate athletics,” Queens director of athletics Cherie Swarthout said. “We look forward with great anticipation to having the sport on our campus and seeing its contributions to the university.”
From the university news release:
“With just a combined total of 46 men’s volleyball teams competing at NCAA Division I and II institutions, there are only two levels of play. NCAA Division III teams compete amongst each other, while Division I and II schools compete together at the Division I level.
Two other schools in the South Atlantic Conference currently sponsor the sport. Coker College has been competing since 2013, while Lincoln Memorial University will embark on their inaugural season this coming spring.”