The Nebraska volleyball team has dropped two of its last three matches, yet after the latest AVCA Coaches Poll went live on Monday afternoon, the Huskers are still considered a top-five team.
Following a five-set loss at then-No. 9 Penn State on Saturday night, Nebraska held steady at No. 5. They were at No. 3 before losing to then-No. 5 Minnesota and switched places with the Gophers in last week’s poll.
For the sixth week in a row, the Big Ten has five teams in the top 10 and seven in the top-25.
Minnesota held steady at No. 3, the Nittany Lions jumped ahead of the Huskers to No. 4, Illinois stuck at No. 7 after a four-set win over Wisconsin and the Badgers dropped one spot from No. 8 to No. 9. Michigan and Purdue held their spots at No. 13 and No. 17.
Nebraska is sitting at 15-3 on the season and 6-2 in the Big Ten, the same record as Penn State; Michigan is also 6-2 in Big Ten play at 17-2 overall. Minnesota is atop the league at 8-0 and 14-2 overall and will host the Huskers on Saturday after beating them in Lincoln on Oct. 6.
Illinois is at 16-3 (5-3 in conference) and will get a rematch against Nebraska in Lincoln at the end of the month after the Huskers beat them in four sets in Champaign earlier in the season. Wisconsin is at 12-4 and 5-3 in the conference and hosts the Huskers on Friday.
The Golden Gophers are in the driver’s seat with a two-match lead in the conference standings, but we haven’t even reached the halfway mark of league play and Minnesota still has matches left against the Huskers, Badgers and Nittany Lions as well as Michigan and Purdue. There is plenty of volleyball left to be played.
More importantly, the fact that Big Ten teams aren’t being penalized in the poll for beating up on each other shows the level of respect coaches across the country have for the Big ten and the quality of the teams at the top of the league. John Cook has said more than once that he thinks winning the Big Ten might be a more difficult challenge than winning a national championship, and it’s looking like that will be the case once again this season.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.