The 2022 DI women’s volleyball season begins on August 26. As a quick refresher, Wisconsin won its first-ever national title last December by defeating Nebraska. We saw a five-set Big Ten national championship thriller for the title, as the Huskers put on an incredible tournament sparked by most of the underclass.
The volleyball scene is losing the star power of players like Dana Rettke and Lauren Stivrins this season. But there were a LOT of interesting moves in the transfer portal. For example, former Penn State star Kaitlyn Hord will wear Husker red this season, Kentucky’s Madi Skinner will be a Longhorn, Kansas’ Caroline Crawford will be in Wisconsin, and more.
That being said, many of the teams that finished in the top 10 or so last season will face off very soon when non-conference play begins this season. Stanford finished last season ranked 21st but planned one of the toughest non-conference schedules of all with Florida, Texas, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Louisville all back to back.
We’ve taken a look at some of the big matchups to expect at the start of the season. All this before each team hits conference times.
Welcome to opening weekend! Here are two big matchups that should be on your radar.
- Baylor vs. Minnesota – Baylor and Minnesota will face off on Friday, Aug. 26 at the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge in Fort Worth. Minnesota lost Stephanie Samedy, their leader, but gained a few players out of the transfer gate and a strong freshman class led by Mckenna Wucherer, the Wisconsin Player of the Year. Baylor will be their very first opponent of the season. The Bears lost Yossiana Pressley, big shoes to fill, so it will be interesting to see how they close the gaps this season.
- Texas vs. Ohio State – The Longhorns will also face Ohio State in the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge on back-to-back days. The Longhorns have also had a slew of transfers – Skyler Fields left with the scheme, but Madi Skinner and Zoe Fleck were transferred. Additionally, Logan Eggleston and Asjia O’Neal, among others, are back. Ohio State will be their very first game of the season. The Buckeyes established themselves as a powerful Big Ten program, and they did it with a young squad. Almost all come back.
- Baylor vs. Wisconsin – It should also be a fun match. We’ll also likely see a Shanel Bramschreiber reunion with Baylor, his former team. It was reported, but not officially announced, that Bramschreiber was added to the Wisconsin squad as a graduate transfer.
- Texas vs. Ohio State, Game 2 – Revenge! A day later.
- Stanford vs. Florida – The Cardinal begins a difficult sequence with the Gators. Kevin Hambly has planned one of, if not the toughest, non-conference schedule for his group. After their 2019 national title and the loss of a legendary senior class, the Cardinal struggled in the shortened 2020 season and then had hot and cold times in 2021. I would be looking for this team in 2022. It starts with doing a big statement with this busy schedule.
- Texas vs. Minnesota – The Longhorns continue with a midweek matchup against the Gophers. Minnesota finished last season just two spots behind Texas after a strong tournament run.
- Pitt vs. BYU – It should be a good one. The Cougars usually have a problem when seeding the tournament, and that’s the strength of the schedule since they’re competing in the WCC. The Cougars have four tough opponents scheduled in their non-conference schedule: Pitt, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and in-state rival Utah. Pitt will be the first, and probably the highest ranked, of them all.
- Minnesota vs. Florida – The Gators have two big name transfers in AC Fitzpatrick from Penn State and Elli McKissock from Georgia Tech. I’m excited to see them compete ahead of SEC competition against companies like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Stanford.
- Louisville vs. Ohio State – Finally, the cardinals. Louisville has spent almost ALL of 2021 as the No. 1 team in the nation. It could have gone on too… but eventual champions Wisconsin barely beat them in a five-set thriller. That’s why they finished as the No. 3 team in the NCAA last year. They also have a ton of returning talent, so an OSU game should be fun.
- Texas vs. Stanford – The Cardinal continues his tough schedule with a date with the dominant Texas Longhorns.
- Georgia Tech vs. BYU — The Yellow Jackets had a historic season in 2021. We should all be excited to see how they fare in 2022. The Jackets host the Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta which BYU and Ohio State will attend for some good non-conference play.
There are a lot of matches 🔥 to listen to on September 9th.
- Wisconsin vs. Kentucky – Kentucky won its first-ever title in 2020 but lost a lot of star power, and even more so this year with the departure of Madi Skinner. I’m excited to see what they’ve got in the field for 2022.
- Louisville vs. Purdue – Here is Purdue on this list. Louisville will be by far the toughest opponent on the Boilermakers’ non-conference schedule. They’ll need it before the Big Ten game spinner begins.
- BYU vs. Ohio State – Ohio State also has a busy non-conference schedule, and as I mentioned earlier, these ranked matchups are very important for a BYU team playing in the WCC.
- Penn State vs. Stanford – PSU is on the list for the first time. Penn State will be under new head coach Katie Schumaker-Cawley following the retirement of Russ Rose. We’ll probably see a lot of new faces as a lot of old players left with the program. They will face Stanford – the two programs have both won several national titles in the past. Now they will go head-to-head as they try to re-emerge as national powerhouses this season.
- Minnesota vs. Stanford – Another tough game on Stanford’s schedule to watch.
- Georgia Tech vs. Ohio State – Here is the final game of the Georgia Tech Classic. Two programs that have been booming in recent years will face each other.
- Nebraska vs. Stanford – It’s been an incredible match for the past few years, with two powerful programs going head-to-head.
- Wisconsin vs. Florida – I’m too excited for this one. The match will take place at the Kohl Center which can accommodate 17,000 fans. It is a factor. But I also think back to the thrilling five-setter match between Wisconsin and Florida in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2020. I can’t wait to see them face off again.
You kept asking. We were listening. That happens.
See you at the Kohl Center in September. pic.twitter.com/TUVLRiAvKw
— Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) June 6, 2022
- Louisville vs. Stanford – It looks like old versus new. Stanford is a team that has won 10 national titles in the past. Louisville didn’t win a single one. But the Cardinals have been the top dogs lately and the Cardinal has not. Can’t wait to see them compete this year.
- Ohio State vs. Pittsburgh – Pitt doesn’t have a ton of tough opponents on his non-conference schedule. This will therefore be important. Leketor Member-Meneh emerged last year as a phenomenon when no one expected it and put Pitt among the best teams in the country. So I’m excited to see what they have this year.
- Nebraska vs. Kentucky – The Huskers will face Kentucky out of the SEC just before the start of Big Ten play.