Instability continues to be the name of the game when it comes to the top 10 rankings. This week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll once again shows us that places in the top 10 have to be earned!
Of the five best teams from last week’s rankings, only No. 1 and No. 5 ended where they started. 17 blocks helped No. 1 Florida squeak by Auburn in five sets, and that emotional win on the road coupled with their easy 3-0 defeat of Georgia kept the Gators in the top spot. Holding steady at No. 5 is Nebraska, who posted 3-0 wins against both Kansas and Texas last week. The Huskers may not have gained any ground, but at least they stopped the dramatic fall that began last week.
The No. 2 spot seems to be jinxed: last week Nebraska had a terrible hitting game and dropped out of that spot down to No. 5. This week California dropped another match to then-No. 7 USC, the only team that has beaten them this year, and a win over No. 10 UCLA wasn’t enough to keep them from dropping two spots.
Meanwhile Stanford and Hawaii took advantage of California’s fall just as they did with Nebraska’s, with both teams moving up a spot in the standings by remaining undefeated for the week.
After holding on to their spots during last week’s shifts, both Illinois and Penn State made a move this week. Penn State managed to climb back toward their familiar home at the top of the heap, moving from No.9 to No. 8. after beating both No. 16 Michigan and Michigan State. The fighting Illini were not so lucky; they fell from No. 6 to No. 9 after being dealt a huge 0-3 upset by No. 24 Northwestern.
Texas and USC both managed to claw their way up one more spot, finishing at No. 7 and No. 6 respectively.
We have just under a month to go before the NCAA Division I tournament starts, so it’s time for players and coaches to get their game faces on for real. Final rankings determine teams’ positions in the brackets, and whether or not they are considered for an at-large bid. Last year 31 conferences received automatic qualification, with the remaining 33 spots filled with at-large selections.
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