There were far too many good matchups to choose from in Week 4 of college volleyball. Even without including the top-10 battle that went down between No. 2 Nebraska and No. 9 Stanford on Tuesday evening, I still have four matchups you will not want to miss for the rest of the week and weekend.
Here are the rest of the matchups you should be most excited for:
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 13 Kentucky | Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Yep, you read that right. This in-state battle between Louisville and Kentucky will be aired on ESPN, which I assume will bring a lot of attention and build-up to this matchup. The Wildcats are 5-2 on the season with losses to Marquette and Wisconsin. But, they have a win over Creighton. Reagan Rutherford and Adanna Rollins have been leading the offensive way for Kentucky, with Emma Grome as their QB. But they will be facing the highest ranked team this season in Louisville. The Cards are back up at No. 3 in the AVCA and my Power 10 rankings after they swept Purdue last week. They have just one loss on the season to a top-10 team in Ohio State and a win over another top-10 team, San Diego. The Cards’ biggest strength is depth. I can name so many players that can contribute at any time and for any given match. The game will be in Lexington, and the Cards have a tough week with Stanford just three days later.
No. 16 Florida vs. No. 4 Wisconsin | Friday, Sept. 16 at 8:30 pm on BTN
The first matchup is on ESPN, pretty great. But this one is going for the regular-season attendance record. Also pretty awesome. No. 4 Wisconsin will face No. 16 Florida at the Kohl Center. This match will be looking to beat the current attendance record of 15,797, set at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sept. 7, 2022, when Nebraska beat Creighton, 3-2. The Kohl Center seats more than 17,000 fans for men’s and women’s basketball, so it is certainly possible.
I know you may be thinking Florida is ranked outside of the top 15. But, you might want to think back to the thrilling five-set matchup between Wisconsin and Florida in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in 2020. That was an electric matchup, and this one has the potential to be as well. The Gators are 6-2 so far on the season with two losses to highly ranked teams — Stanford and Minnesota. They pushed the Cardinal to five, as well, and could have easily come out on top of that one. Wisconsin is not bullet-proof, either, given that they dropped an early match to Baylor at the beginning of this season. They are however on a four-match winning streak, including a sweep over Kentucky. The big stage and history between these two teams should make for a good one on Friday night. We will be live-blogging the matchup on NCAA.com.
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 9 Stanford | Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 pm ET on Pac-12 Insider
It is a tough week for Louisville. The Cards have another top matchup against the Stanford Cardinal, and it’s a late one over on the east coast with a 10 pm ET start time. Out of all the matchups this week, I think I am most looking forward to seeing the outcome of this one. Stanford has just broken back into the top 10 after years of battling to get back to the top of college volleyball. They took down then-No. 3 Minnesota last week, and now will face the No. 3 team this week. This is truly a top-10 battle — the kind where you have no idea what the outcome will be. Of course, Louisville has the higher seed and is probably the favorite going in, but the Cardinal have something to prove. Plus, they will be fresh off of a matchup against the No. 2 team, Nebraska — either hot and rolling off a win, or looking for vengeance after a loss. Both teams are in the midst of tough weeks, and we will get a glimpse of how they handle tough matchups with quick turnarounds. Get ready to stay awake for a good one on Saturday night.
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Pitt | Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 pm ET on ACCNx
Lastly, we have the Ohio State Buckeyes in here taking on Pittsburgh. As you might know, OSU has been so intriguing to follow and watch this season as they navigate the toughest non-conference schedule out of practically everyone in the NCAA. The Buckeyes opened the season with three straight losses before pulling off three back-to-back-to-back top-10 wins. That is the most of anyone in the NCAA. Now, we will see if the streak continues. They will have the test of No. 12 Pitt on Sunday, a team that was within the top 10 before falling last week to an unranked team. The Panthers will likely be looking to prove themselves, and what better way to do it than taking down a top-10 team?
Full schedule of ranked matchups:
Wednesday, Sept. 14:
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 13 Kentucky (ESPN)
Thursday, Sept. fifteen:
- No. 22 Pepperdine vs. No. 6 Minnesota (BTN+)
- No. 7 Georgia Tech vs. No. 24 Arkansas (SECN+)
Friday, Sept. 16:
No. 16 Florida vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (BTN)
Saturday, Sept. 17:
- No. 25 Illinois vs. No. 19 Marquette (FloSports)
- No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 9 Stanford (Pac-12 Insider)
Sunday, Sept. 18
- No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Pitt (ACCNx)
- No. 2 Nebraska vs. No. 13 Kentucky (ESPNU)
Already wrapped up:
No. 9 Stanford stunned No. 2 Nebraska on Tuesday night
The Cardinal pulled off the upset over No. 2 Nebraska for its fifth straight victory over the Huskers. Stanford has now taken down a top-three team twice in a row after its victory over then-No. 3 Minnesota. Stanford won the fourth set in a thrilling fashion, withstanding a huge Nebraska momentum shift to take the set 27-25.
The match wasn’t necessarily pretty. The Cardinal had a whopping 44 errors, including 23 service errors. That is almost two sets worth of points that they handed over to Nebraska, and they STILL won the match. Kendall Kipp ended up leading all hitters with 15 kills on .244 hitting after a very slow start to the match. Elia Rubin followed with 13 kills and Caitie Baird added 10 for the Cardinal.
The Huskers put together an incredible comeback effort, taking the third set and then rallying deep in the fourth set. They cleaned up their game and had some more options offensively with Lindsay Krause amping up her game. But ultimately the Cardinal still got it done.
Stanford’s 23rd service error of the match tied the fourth set up at 18. The Huskers and Cardinal alternated a few points before Bekka Allick put up a block that absolutely erupted the stadium. Stanford earned match point nonetheless, and John Cook called a timeout to settle his team before the point. Krause took a big swing out of the timeout to keep the Huskers alive, and then she gave Nebraska set point, tooling one off the block to take a 25-24 lead. Krause had just one kill in the first set, but she worked her way up to nine in the back half of this match when her team needed her.
Kipp came out of the Stanford timeout and perfectly placed a tip in to tie it up again. Star-Stanford freshman Elia Rubin hammered one across the net to give Stanford yet another match point, and Kipp finished it off.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism