There are usually more than a handful of top college volleyball matchups to watch and this week is no exception with good matchups in multiple conferences.
Here they are, featuring two from the Big Ten and one each from the ACC and Pac-12.
No. 13 Penn State vs No. 6 Ohio State | 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, Oct. 7, on BTN
Here is the first of two Big Ten matchups. The Buckeyes just re-entered my Power 10 rankings and received a high ranking in the committee's top 10 reveal, despite five losses on the season. But, they played the toughest schedule in all of college volleyball so far this season and they are getting credit for it. Penn State was just knocked out of my Power 10, and not included in the committee's top 10 reveal after being swept by Michigan and Wisconsin last week. They started off the season incredibly strong, going 12-0 under new head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and an entirely new-look team. But, the two sweeps knocked them down a bit. A win for PSU would be a huge statement and put it back into the top-10 conversation. A win for OSU feels kind of like a must-win. They are playing a tough schedule, as is everyone now in the Big Ten, but at a certain point, you have to win games. A win for Ohio State would further solidify its top-10 stature.
We will see a lot of powerful players in this matchup. Kaushauna Williams has been oh-so-impressive for the Nittany Lions, who pushed Wisconsin to a marathon third set in the sweep last week. The Lions set up Williams on every single play, and she terminated almost ALL of them. The Buckeyes have Mac Podraza at setter, of course, and Emily Londot leading the way offensively.
No. 7 Wisconsin vs No. 5 Purdue | 6 p.m ET Saturday, Oct. 8, on BTN+
This is my favorite of the week, and highest-ranked matchup of the week. Purdue has surged in every ranking lately. The Boilermakers started the season with lower expectations after losing most of their core, then blew everyone away with their talent. Eva Hudson is a huge reason for that. The freshman phenom averages over five kills per set on .339 hitting. (😱) In a five-set win over Illinois last week, Hudson posted a career high 24 kills with 17 digs. She and the rest of the team have been super impressive — offensively and defensively. They do though have just one big ranked win over Minnesota in a sweep, and their only loss was to No. 2 Louisville. They could really use another big ranked win here.
Wisconsin needs it even more, though. The Badgers just barely slipped out of my Power 10 and didn't make the cut for the committee's top 10 reveal either. They swept Penn State last weekend, a promising sign and their highest ranked win, but were swept by Minnesota. The only wins before that were over Kentucky and Marquette, so they need some more ranked wins on the resume. The Badgers have been figuring out how to work with a 6-2 offense and get it to gel. They displayed that against Penn State and clicked. Izzy Ashburn was lethal behind the service line, making a huge difference, and Devyn Robinson was a big impact player with 12 kills at a .521 clip. The blocking was strong too, and they will need all of that and more to get past top-10 teams this season. It was likely that the Badgers would have growing pains following the championship and losing Dana Rettke, Lauren Barnes and Sydney Hilley. But now it's time for them to show up.
Another interesting factor for this matchup — both teams were pushed to five sets against Illinois last week. Kind of weird right? Let's see them face each other.
No. 9 Pitt vs No. 10 Georgia Tech | 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 9, on ACCN
Next, let's head over to the ACC for another top-10 matchup. Georgia Tech started out the season high in the rankings after a great run in the 2021 NCAA tournament. They do have one of the best hitters in the nation in Julia Bergmann, who carries a big load for her team with 5.23 kills per set. The Jackets had fallen out of the top 10 with consecutive losses to Ohio State and Arkansas a few weeks ago, but snuck back in this past week despite a four-set loss to Louisville. Now they will have a shot over another top-10 team in Pitt.
The Panthers are interesting too. They have a huge sweep over Ohio State (the Buckeyes swept Georgia Tech), and a win over BYU, but then a five-set loss to San Diego which is a good loss, and an unranked loss to Towson. They could really use another highly ranked win, and I think this matchup will be a battle. Pitt will be on the road as well. Courtney Buzzerio has been leading offensively for the Panthers, with 3.4 kills per set. She and Valeria Vasquez-Gomez posted 20 kills apiece in a four-set win over High Point.
No. 12 Oregon vs No. 16 Washington | 7 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 9, on Pac-12 Network
Last but not least, we have a great matchup over in the Pac-12. The rankings listed above are from the most recent AVCA poll, but Oregon turned a lot of heads when it appeared in the committee's first top 10 reveal as the No. 7 team. The Ducks are 10-2 with a huge win over Stanford, and only two losses to good ranked teams in Minnesota and Penn State. The one concern has been strength of schedule, so now they will have a chance over a great ranked team in Washington. Brooke Nuneviller is a standout player for Oregon that you will want to keep your eye on. She leads the Ducks this season with 4.2 kills per set.
The Huskies have a lot of the same players that helped them to the semifinals just a few years ago — Ella May Powell, Claire Hoffman, Madi Endlsey. This team should not be overlooked. They are ranked No. 16, but when you look at their resume, they have losses to Stanford (a top 10 team), Pepperdine (this team also beat Minnesota) and Arkansas in the first game of the season. Arkansas is a pretty strong team this year as well, with wins over Illinois, Northwestern and UCLA. This should be a really good battle between in the Pac-12.