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Virginia Tech Volleyball earns highest RPI ranking in school history

Virginia Tech’s volleyball team (11-6, 2-5 ACC) made history by placing 33rd in the first Rankings Percentage Index release of the season — the highest any Tech squad has ever been ranked.

The NCAA released its first RPI rankings, one of the most critical statistical measures for postseason seeding, on Oct. 4. The RPI ranking is based on a team’s winning percentage and strength of schedule. The Hokies got off to a strong 10-1 start, including an opening ACC victory at Virginia. Since then, Tech has gone 1-5, with each loss coming at the hands of an ACC foe.

The historic ranking for the Hokies can likely be attributed to the preseason strength of schedule and early season success. Tech faced  potential NCAA tournament contenders during its preseason tournaments, including No. 9 Tennessee, and beat both No. 34 Western Kentucky and No. 45 Missouri.

Tech started ACC play with promise, earning a 3-2 road victory over UVa. The Hokies had multiple opportunities to continue success in the ACC with a trip to Florida when they took on the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes and No. 14 Florida State Seminoles. However, the Hokies were swept by the Hurricanes and suffered a demoralizing 3-2 loss at the hands of the Seminoles.

Tech did not let the two losses hinder its confidence, as Miami and Florida State were two of the top teams in the conference.

The team regrouped and prepared for two more ACC matches — these in the more friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum — against Clemson and Georgia Tech. However, the Hokies did not take advantage of home court, dropping both matches by a score of 3-2 in their home openers.

The two losses were certainly frustrating for head coach Chris Riley and company, because as of right now, Clemson 11-7 (2-5 ACC) is ranked just 69th in the newly released RPI rankings. Additionally, Georgia Tech 11-7 (4-3 ACC) is ranked a dismal 99th in the RPI, despite early success in ACC play.

The Hokies had a chance to redeem themselves and pick up two ACC road wins this past weekend when they traveled to the University of Maryland and Boston College, two teams which are not in the RPI Top 100.

However, Tech had another let down, as it suffered an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Terps. The Hokies then swallowed their pride and snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Boston College.

Conference play does not get any easier for the Hokies, as they take on No. 13 Duke and No. 57 Wake Forest this weekend in Cassell Coliseum.

Tech travels to North Carolina to take on the 15th-ranked Tar Heels and 77th-ranked N.C. State Wolfpack. Both upcoming weekends give the Hokies a chance to assert their presence in the ACC and keep their graciously high RPI ranking.

DMU Timestamp: January 25, 2011 20:14

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