There are a lot of matches with conference-race implications this week. Here are the matches you should be following:
#2 Oregon (13-0, 4-0 Pac-12) vs. #7 Stanford (12-2, 4-0 Pac-12)
One of two undefeated teams nationally, the Ducks take their highest ranking in program history to Palo Alto to face the Cardinal on Friday at 5:30 p.m. PT. The match can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks and will be available on Gametracker. Stanford leads the overall series 53-4 but the teams split their meetings last season, with each winning on the other’s home court. Alaina Bergsma leads Oregon with 4.71 kills per set (179 kills), Haley Jacob tops the defense with 3.84 digs per set (146 digs) and Canace Finley leads the blocking front with 0.79 blocks per set (26 total blocks). For Stanford, Carly Wopat leads the squad with 3.11 kills per set (137 kills) and 1.66 blocks per set (73 total blocks) while Jordan Burgess adds in 2.96 kills per set (148 kills) and Kyle Gilbert tops the defense with 3.41 digs per set (174 digs). An interesting stat: for the year, Oregon has 73.5 total team blocks (1.71 blocks per set) while Wopat individually nearly matches that number with 73. Overall, Stanford has 152 total blocks (2.98 blocks per set).
#4 Nebraska (11-2, 3-1 Big Ten) vs. #12 Purdue (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten)
The Huskers head to West Lafayette on Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET in a match that will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Last season, then-No. 10 Purdue swept then-No. 2 Nebraska in three amidst a raucous standing-room-only crowd in the Boiler Box. Fast forward to today and Gina Mancuso leads Nebraska with 3.43 kills per set (158 kills), Hannah Werth leads the defense with 3.33 digs per set (153 digs) and Meghan Haggerty adds in 1.20 blocks per set (48 total blocks) while Hayley Thramer chips in 1.09 blocks per set (49 total blocks). For Purdue, Ariel Turner leads the squad with 4.23 kills per set (224 kills), Carly Cramer tops the defense with 4.16 digs per set (233 digs) and Kierra Jones tops the blocking list with 0.95 blocks per set (53 total blocks). Links to audio and Gametracker can be found here: http://www.purduesports.com/sports/w-volley/sched/pur-w-volley-sched.html
#9 Texas (11-3, 4-0 Big 12) vs. #14 Kansas State (15-1, 2-1 Big 12)
The Longhorns head to Manhattan, Kan., to face the Wildcats, who are undefeated at home this season, on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CT. Texas leads the overall series 27-7, including two wins last season. For the Longhorns, Haley Eckerman leads the squad with 4.43 kills per set (204 kills) while Sarah Palmer leads the defense with 3.51 digs per set (158 digs) and Khat Bell tops the blocking chart with 1.31 blocks per set (47 total blocks). For Kansas State, Big 12 Player of the Week Kaitlynn Pelger leads the squad with 3.77 kills per set (200 kills), Kuulei Kabalis tops the defense with 3.09 digs per set (164 digs) and Alex Muff heads the blocking list with 1.42 blocks per set (68 total blocks). Links to video, audio and Gametracker can be found here: http://www.kstatesports.com/sports/w-volley/sched/ksu-w-volley-sched.html
#11 Florida (11-2, 5-0 SEC) vs. Arkansas (13-3, 4-1 SEC)
The Gators host the Razorbacks on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in an important league match-up. The previous meeting this season was a five-set Florida win on Sept. 14 in Fayetteville, Ark., and the fifth set went 15-13. Chloe Mann leads the Florida offense with 3.92 kills per set (157 kills) and 0.95 blocks per set (38 total blocks) while Taylor Unroe leads the defense with 4.58 digs per set (206 digs). For Arkansas, Jasmine Norton leads the squad with 3.57 kills per set (207 kills), Emily Helm tops the defense with 3.81 digs per set (221 digs) and Janeliss Torres heads the blocking chart with 1.14 blocks per set (66 total blocks). Links to video, audio and live stats can be found here: http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=vollb
#15 San Diego (12-2, 4-0 WCC) vs. St. Mary’s (8-7, 3-1 WCC)
Wednesday night, the Toreros host the Gaels at 6:00 p.m. PT for first place in the West Coast Conference in a match that will be televised on ESPNU. Last season the teams split contests, with each winning in five on the other’s home court. San Diego and St. Mary’s have split the season series in three of the last four seasons. San Diego sits first in the league and is led by Katie Hoekman with 2.80 kills per set (143 kills) and 1.04 blocks per set (53 total blocks) and Kandiss Anderson with 3.88 digs per set (198 digs). Saint Mary’s is coming off an impressive weekend that included wins over Pepperdine and previously undefeated BYU, and is led by Kristina Graven with 3.41 kills per set (174 kills), Sarah Reams with 3.22 digs per set (145 digs) and Gabby Jolly with 1.12 blocks per set (54 total blocks.