10/26/19 Nebraska, Team Celebration

The team bench runs to the court to congratulate players on the floor when Purdue beat No. 5 Nebraska, 3-2, Saturday night.

The Purdue volleyball team is now the 16th strongest in the country.

In its weekly poll, the American Volleyball Coaches Association bumped the Boilermakers (14-5, 6-4 Big Ten) up four spots after defeating then-No. 5 Nebraska on Saturday night. The Cornhuskers (16-3, 8-2 Big Ten) fell two spots to No. 7 in the new poll.

In the AVCA's preseason poll, the team was ranked 17th in the nation, the same rank as the final poll of the 2018 season. Since then, the Boilermakers have fluctuated through the middle of the rankings, rising as high as 15th after Week 4.

This promotion has postseason implications for the team. A top-25 finish guarantees a spot in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, but the tournament's seeding and hosting is predicated upon the top 16 finishers.

The tournament is a 64-team field, but isn't seeded like a March Madness bracket. The top 16 teams in the nation at the time of Selection Sunday are chosen to host three other teams on their campus for the first two rounds of play.

This turns the largest slate of matches — the round of 64 and the round of 32 — into mini-tournaments, the winners of which move onto the regional round. Last season, Purdue traveled to Lexington, KY, to play Eastern Tennessee, Murray State and Kentucky. The team was knocked out of the second round by Kentucky.

Purdue hasn't hosted the first two rounds since 2011, when Holloway Gymnasium housed Morehead State, Ball State and Louisville. If the team can hold steady or rise in the last month of the regular season, its has a high probability of being chosen to host on Selection Sunday.

Purdue plays its next match against Indiana at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Holloway. 

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