Nebraska is No. 1 (again).
After both Texas and Louisville suffered losses last week, the Huskers have climbed back to the top of the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, receiving 48 of 64 first-place votes after recording their fifth and sixth straight sweeps.
Nebraska beat both Purdue and Illinois on the road to improve to 18-1, and the Huskers remain alone in first place in the Big Ten with a perfect 10-0 record at the halfway point. Nebraska is third in the NCAA RPI behind only Texas and Louisville and continues to lead the country in opponent hitting percentage by a significant margin at .119.
The Cornhuskers opened the season at No. 1, narrowly ahead of the Longhorns, but Texas jumped ahead of them after the first week of the season thanks to a pair of wins over a top-10 Ohio State team. Nebraska dropped to No. 3 in the Sept. 19 poll after losing to Stanford and spent five weeks at No. 3.
The Longhorns fell in five sets at Iowa State on Wednesday, suffering their first loss of the season. Texas (15-1) fell to No. 2, receiving 14 first-place votes. On Sunday, Louisville saw its winning streak end at 13 as Pittsburgh handed the Cardinals a 3-2 loss. Louisville (18-2) dropped two spots to No. 4 while San Diego (18-1) slid up to No. 3, with each of them receiving one first-place vote.
No. 5 Wisconsin (15-3, 9-1 Big Ten), No. 6 Ohio State (13-5, 9-1) and No. 9 Minnesota (12-6, 7-3) all held their spots from last week. Penn State (17-4, 6-4) moved up two spots to No. 11. Despite the loss to Nebraska, Purdue (15-5, 6-4) remained at No. 12. Michigan (13-7, 4-6) fell out of the rankings after a pair of four-set losses to unranked Indiana and Wisconsin. The Wolverines are hanging around in the “others receiving votes” section with 18 points, good for 30th.
Pittsburgh’s win over Louisville bumped Stanford (12-4) down one spot to No. 8. Creighton (18-3) moved up three spots to No. 15 after another 2-0 weekend in the Big East. Kentucky (12-6) dropped four sets to No. 20 after splitting a pair of matches with unranked Texas A&M.
Pepperdine fell out of the rankings after a five-set loss at Gonzaga on Saturday. The Waves are first among others receiving votes. Loyola Marymount (13-6), who visited Lincoln for the Husker Invitational in early September, received a few votes as well, scoring seven points to rank 32nd. The Lions beat Pepperdine back on Oct. 14 and have won eight straight matches after dropping their first two of conference play to a pair of ranked teams in BYU and San Diego.
In total, Nebraska has played six teams in the top 25 of the updated RPI this season with matches against No. 6 Ohio State, No. 7 Wisconsin (twice), No. 9 Minnesota and No. 25 Purdue remaining.
Freshman middle blocker Bekka Allick also received good news for the second straight week as the Big Ten named her Freshman of the Week once again. Allick averaged 3.2 kills per set on .548 hitting with five blocks and an ace in Nebraska’s two sweeps last week.
Allick posted a new career high with 12 kills on .611 hitting, four blocks and two digs against Purdue then followed that up with seven kills on .462 hitting, one block and one ace against Illinois. She’s now averaging 2.03 kills per set on .373 hitting and 1.07 blocks per set this season.
Up next for the Huskers is a trip to Madison for a top-10 clash with reigning Big Ten champion Wisconsin on Wednesday.