Some great NCAA vball gatherings ahead

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Now things get serious. And it’s only the second week of the NCAA volleyball season.

Me, I’m headed to Penn State, where the defending-champion and top-ranked Nittany Lions play host to No. 2 Stanford, No. 6 Illinois and No. 21 Colorado in a Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

Talk about a top-notch gathering.

But it won’t be bad to be in Austin, Texas, where the third-ranked Longhorns have as visitors the two teams tied for fourth in the latest AVCA poll, Nebraska and Florida, and No. 11 Oregon. That’s a pretty stout foursome.

And that’s not all.

Wisconsin, ranked 13th, No. 18 North Carolina and Minnesota are at Louisville in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Colorado State, ranked ninth, plays host to No. 15 Arizona State in a tournament that also includes Northern Colorado.

Kentucky, ranked 10th, and the big surprise of last weekend, USC, which jumped from No. 22 to eighth, play early Saturday morning (8 a.m. Pacific) in the Northern Iowa Tournament.

No. 14 Florida State is at No. 22 Ohio State and they play each other twice. They also play Northern Illinois.

Also, No. 25 UCLA is at No. 17 Hawaii for a tournament that also includes Iowa and American.

Those seven gatherings account for 18 of the top 25 teams.

We have all the TV listings here at DestinationVolleyball.com and if you to the individual schools’ websites or Twitter accounts you can get streaming video and other broadcast links. Check back here and follow me on Twitter @DestinationVB to keep up with the happenings at Penn State.

Washington entertains Team Canada

Washington, ranked seventh, plays host to Team Canada on Saturday night, and the Canadian roster is a great answer to where are they now.

This from U-Dub:

“Several members of Canada’s traveling roster played in the NCAA, finding success. Six-foot-five outside hitter Tabi Love helped lead UCLA to the NCAA title in 2011 and was an AVCA First Team All-American. Middle blocker Jennifer Cross helped Michigan reach the 2012 Final Four and was an All-Big Ten pick and honorable mention All-American. Outside hitter Dana Cranston was a Third Team All-American and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2012 for Colorado State.

The list of accolades doesn’t stop there. Lucille Charuk was an All-American at Houston (2008-12), Jamie Thibeault was an All-Big Sky First Teamer at Montana, and Rebecca Pavan was a standout at Kentucky. Also, Team Canada of course features many players that enjoyed exceptional college careers playing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Janie Guimond was the CIS Libero of the Year in 2008, Kyle Richey was a multiple national champion and MVP of the 2009 and 2012 CIS Championships for University of British Columbia and the 2012 UBC Female Athlete of the Year while another UBC product, Shanice Marcelle, was the CIS and UBC Female Athlete of the Year in 2013.”

USA women vs. Russia

They play at 1:10 a.m. Central time in Japan with a chance to clinch a berth in next summer’s Olympics.

From USAVolleyball.org;

“Team USA, ranked number-one in the world and reigning world champion, has bounced back from a loss in the second match of the World Cup to lead the standings that has four teams all with 7-1 records heading into the third round this weekend in Nagoya and nearby Komaki, Japan. Of the quartet at 7-1, the Americans lead the race with 22 points (3-0 and 3-1 wins get three points, 3-2 win gets two points and 3-2 loss gets one point). Russia and China both have 21 points, while Serbia has 18 points.

“The U.S. plays Russia on Friday at 2:10 a.m. ET in a battle of one versus two. The team that loses will likely be left out of the coveted top two spots for an Olympic bid from the World Cup. Team USA then faces host Japan, which is in fifth place with a 6-2 record and 19 points, on Saturday at 6:20 a.m. ET. The Americans wrap up the World Cup on Sunday at 2:10 a.m. ET against NORCECA rival Dominican Republic, which is in sixth place with a 4-4 record and 13 points.”

On the beach

Don’t forget that the AVP is in Cincinnati. Go to AVP.com for information and know that you can watch on NBC on Sunday. And the FIVB is in Rio: http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/

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