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NU volleyball vs. Stanford, 9.18

Nebraska played Stanford on the alternate volleyball floor at the Devaney Sports Center on Wednesday.

Here is what we know from the new college volleyball rankings: Baylor, Pittsburgh and Rice are ranked higher than they ever have been, and even with two losses this season, many coaches still view Stanford as the No. 1 team.

The new American Volleyball Coaches Association rankings were released Monday afternoon, with Stanford returning to the top after its four-set win against previous No. 1 Nebraska last week. Nebraska (8-1) dropped two spots to No. 3. Baylor is No. 2.

Stanford returned to No. 1 despite losing one of its two matches last week, against then-No. 12 BYU on Saturday in four sets. That ended Stanford's 37-match winning streak in home matches. Earlier in the season, Stanford (6-2) lost to Minnesota.

But that still wasn’t enough for Baylor to move to the top spot despite being the only undefeated team in the top-10.

It was a close vote. Stanford earned 28 of the 64 first-place votes and 1,540 points overall, and Baylor had 27 first-place votes and 1,489 points.

Nebraska also got six first-place votes, BYU received two and Pittsburgh one.

Baylor has made a big move up in the poll this season. The Bears were No. 20 in the preseason poll, and then moved up to No. 17. They were No. 5 the last two weeks. Baylor (9-0) has lost just two sets and has wins against five ranked teams — Wisconsin, Marquette, Hawaii, Creighton and Missouri.

Baylor played in a tournament in Lincoln during the first week of the season but did not play against Nebraska. The Bears swept UCLA and Creighton in that tournament.

Several teams are already having historic seasons. Baylor had never been ranked higher than 12th, and No. 4 Pittsburgh also has its best-ever ranking. And Rice is ranked for the first time at No. 22 after beating Texas last week — another first.

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Of the ranked teams from last week, 14 lost at least one match, including six of the top 10.

Creighton (7-3) is No. 14.

Big Ten play begins: This week is the start of the 20-match conference season. Nebraska’s first match is Friday against No. 20 Illinois. Nebraska will have a challenging start to the league season by playing three road games over six days.

There are six Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20: Nebraska, No. 5 Penn State, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 15 Purdue and Illinois.

Stanford-Nebraska rewind: The Nebraska players watched part of the Nebraska-Stanford match together the day after the match.

“I’m guessing they were probably a little disappointed because we left some points out there,” Cook said. “That’s what we got to clean up. You can’t give up five- and six-point runs in volleyball and win (sets). I think that was the biggest disappointment was how do we stop that.”

Worth quoting: “Howard Hawks sat in my (Devaney Sports Center luxury box) with my wife,” said Cook, after describing a "who’s who" of people at the Nebraska-Stanford match last week. “They just named the business school after him, so those types of people. I think it was the place to be on Wednesday night.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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