The highest storylines for the 2022 DI girls’s volleyball season

August 23, 2022

Lower than one week away — that’s, when school volleyball is again. Opening weekend is correct across the nook, and per ordinary, there’s SO a lot to sit up for. 

With motion proper in entrance of us, let’s check out the highest storylines for the 2022 DI girls’s volleyball season. 

1. Switch portal insanity

As you may already know, the switch portal gave option to so many strikes this offseason. Some got here early, like Kaitlyn Hord’s massive switch from Penn State to Nebraska, and a few got here late, just like the latest information of Kayla Caffey transferring from Nebraska to Texas. Both means, I feel the transfers are going to be an enormous storyline for this season. There are such a lot of groups that misplaced a big chunk of expertise with the departure of tremendous seniors, (assume Dana Rettke, Sydney Hilley at Wisconsin), and are set to rely fairly closely on filling a few of these holes from the switch portal. Wisconsin misplaced Rettke? Properly they introduced in Sarah Franklin, Caroline Crawford and Gabby McCaa. Nebraska misplaced Lauren Stivrins? The reply is Kaitlyn Hord. Texas obtained a lot expertise out of the switch portal in Zoe Fleck at libero, Madi Skinner and Kayla Caffey. Quite a lot of stars must play their former groups, having stayed throughout the identical convention, or may face off within the NCAA event. I’m intrigued to see how impactful these transfers are this season proper out of the gate.

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2. The reigning nationwide champs, Wisconsin, post-Dana Rettke

Dana Rettke was the face of Wisconsin volleyball for the previous 5 years. She was a five-time All-American and the 2021 AVCA Nationwide Participant of the Yr. So not solely the face of Wisconsin, however maybe the face of faculty volleyball. What’s going to Wisconsin appear to be with out the star? The Badgers return a plethora of star-studded gamers — Danielle Hart, Anna Smrek, Devyn Robinson, Julia Orzol. However they misplaced Rettke, Sydney Hilley and Lauren Barnes. That was their core within the nationwide title run. That is nonetheless a crew picked to complete atop the Large Ten, so the Badgers nonetheless maintain some fairly excessive expectations. We noticed an analogous lack of expertise when Stanford misplaced a legendary senior class following their title in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic started shortly after, however Stanford fell off the map a bit afterward whereas rebuilding with a younger core. Wisconsin appears to return much more gamers with expertise on the massive stage and clearly introduced in a whole lot of expertise out of the switch portal. However nonetheless an enormous storyline for this season — what is going to the reigning champs appear to be post-Dana Rettke? 

3. Nebraska and Texas prepared the ground to start out the season

There appear to be two very obvious prime groups to start out the season — Nebraska and Texas. I went backwards and forwards on who could be my No. 1 crew in my preseason Energy 10, and that was earlier than the information of Caffey’s switch from Nebraska to Texas. The AVCA got here out with their preseason prime 25 rankings as nicely, with Nebraska on prime. BUT, in case you look intently, Texas had extra first-place votes, however nonetheless fewer factors total, therefore the No. 2 spot. What that goes to point out is, we virtually have two loaded groups that appear to be tied for first heading into the 2022 season. The Huskers introduced in Hord and return an unimaginable core of some younger, some veteran gamers that simply barely misplaced to Wisconsin within the nationwide title match final yr. And Texas, the very crew that Nebraska needed to take down and upset to make it to the title final season, brings again probably the greatest gamers within the nation in Logan Eggleston and a slew of high-profile transfers. The Longhorns have maybe one of the loaded lineups on paper that you may think about. They’ve extra star-studded center blockers on their roster than they’ll have room for on the courtroom, if that claims something in any respect. Amongst feedback on my preseason Energy 10, NCAA Volleyball posts, AVCA rankings — you possibly can most positively discover followers calling out for a Nebraska-Texas matchup within the nationwide championship this season. So maybe one of many largest storylines of all of them: How will these groups dwell as much as the expectations? Are they actually going to be the 2 greatest groups this season? Will we get to see them rematch within the NCAA event? I can not wait to look at the highest canines compete. 

4. Will Louisville proceed to make historical past?

Louisville has actually put itself on the map lately. The loopy success maybe began after they knocked off Texas in what was an enormous upset on the time just a few years again. It has solely gone up from there beneath head coach Dani Busboom-Kelly, and final season they had been the consensus No. 1 crew all season and for the NCAA event earlier than simply barely, and I imply barely, dropping within the semifinals to the eventual nationwide champs. I’ve them as my No. 3 crew heading into the 2022 season, and I’m intrigued to search out out if their success will proceed to skyrocket this season. They misplaced two big contributors in Tori Dilfer and Anna Stevenson, however convey again the remainder of their expertise. Will they compete for a trophy once more this yr?

5. Will the development of first-time champs proceed?

Persevering with on the identical topic line, Louisville, amongst others COULD be a first-time champion in 2022. For the previous two years, we now have had two completely different groups win the nationwide championship for the primary time in program historical past. Kentucky in 2020, and Wisconsin in 2021. Earlier than 2020, solely 10 applications had received a nationwide championship. Stanford accounts for 9 of the titles, Penn State has seven and Nebraska has 5. That isn’t a ton of selection. The Nittany Lions received it FOUR consecutive years from 2007-10. So this entire factor with groups successful for the very first time, will not be regular, however occurred twice in a row. I broke down 4 groups that would proceed that development this season. Will it occur? Or will a perennial volleyball powerhouse take the title but once more?

6. Who will emerge as one of the best within the west? 

The Pac-12 appears to be large open heading into the season. An enormous storyline is who’s going to emerge as the highest crew within the west. This convention usually provides option to a whole lot of nationwide seeds for the NCAA event, and we now have a whole lot of unanswered questions as to who that is likely to be. Washington and UCLA maintain the best rankings amongst the Pac-12 groups within the preseason AVCA ballot, and Stanford will not be too far behind. The Cardinal may very well be a giant shock in the event that they emerge because the strongest crew, and it’s actually doable with the return of a number of All-Individuals. The Huskies introduced again Marin Grote, Claire Hoffman and Ella Could Powell, and the Bruins introduced in two big-time transfers and a stable core. These are simply three contenders, although. That’s with out even mentioning Oregon, Utah, and USC (Skylar Fields transferred to this system.) Who will come up out of the west and compete within the prime 10?

7. How will groups that misplaced a big chunk of expertise bounce again? Can Julia Bergmann carry the Yellow Jackets?

Apart from the groups we already talked about filling holes from the switch portal, one other big crew I wish to point out is Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets burst onto the scene final season and made a run within the NCAA event. They return first-team All-American Julia Bergmann, and the massive storyline I’m to see is that if she will carry this crew to the identical success or extra that they noticed final season. She performed for Brazil on this summer time’s FIVB Volleyball Ladies’s Nations League and put up a very spectacular efficiency.