So far this season, there has been some interesting happenings in volleyball throughout the Big 12 Conference and across the nation. This week, we are looking at some of the bigger events that have occurred in the past few months.
This is a rather recent development. Last Monday, Trish Knight, the head coach of the Texas Tech volleyball team, resigned her position effective immediately, according to the school’s athletics department. With a 5-44 record over her two seasons in Lubbock, Texas, Knight has kept the Red Raiders at the bottom of the conference during her time there, and this season, she has a last-place 1-10 conference record. (Texas Tech beat the University of Kansas in early October to end its 64-match conference losing streak.) However, Knight inherited a good deal of the nastiness from her predecessor, Nancy Todd, who took the team from three NCAA Tournament appearances to a final record in 2008 of 5-26.
Penn State’s performance this year has been an interesting mixture of top play and unexpected changes. Going into the last match of nonconference play, the Nittany Lions were on a record-setting 109-match winning streak, spanning three seasons, and had picked up a trio of NCAA National Tournament titles along the way. Penn State was an unstoppable, unbeatable machine that was trampling the country.
At the most anticipated tournament of the season — the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic, which saw action between then-No. 1 Penn State, then-No. 2 Stanford, then-No. 4 University of Florida and then-No. 5 University of Texas — Penn State rolled over Florida in four games, but Stanford came out to sweep the Nittany Lions in the final match. Not only did the Cardinals beat the unbeatable, but did so in just three games, ending the winning streak with a huge upset. Since then, Penn State has lost three matches and dropped to No. 9 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association weekly poll.
This will certainly come as no shocker to anyone, but it’s worth mentioning to further the cathartic release that we must all undergo in order to move past this ugly moment: the Nebraska Cornhuskers sold out and moved to the Big 10 Conference in order to make more money. Sure, they have been in the fabric of this league for decades, but history and rivalries mean little to the suits who want another upgrade to their private jet. That’s probably unfair, but it needs to be said so that we can all release psychologically.
This is only a little snippet of the goings-on across Division I volleyball. As exciting as it is now, the news will only get better when the NCAA Tournament rolls around and the top teams begin to duke it out.