7 Dark Horse Teams to Watch in the 2022 DI Women’s Volleyball Tournament

Time to crush some dark horses in the 2022 DI Women’s Volleyball Tournament. Last season, it was easy to label these teams as “unseeded.” This season, the top 16 seeds host, but 32 teams are technically “seeded”. I will classify this list as non-top 32 teams.

Here are my top dark horse teams to watch in the tournament:


The Dawgs are an unseeded team to watch in the tournament. I believe that so much that I even bracketed them to beat eighth-seeded Towson in the first round. Georgia has been hot and cold all season, but we’ve seen them in some really great moments. They took it down then-No. 5 Florida in a straight sweep. Kacie Evan leads in that match and has led the offense all season with over 4.09 kills per set. The Dawgs finished the season hot with two huge sweeps over LSU, so look out for them going into the tournament.


UNLV is another team with the potential to fly under the radar. This team enters the tournament 26-4 with an RPI no. 24. Resume-wise, they beat Kansas in four, pushed Miami to five and finished the season with a 17-game winning streak.


LSU Volleyball

LSU had to be on this list if I picked them to pull off a big upset in the first round. The Tigers are another hot and cold team this season. A win over Kentucky followed a loss to the Wildcats, as did Ole Miss, wins over Arkansas and Iowa State. Most of their losses, too, are to really good teams. They have seen tough teams many times before entering the tournament. Think Houston, Penn State, Florida and Rice.



I think Colorado could make some serious noise in the tournament. They play Rice in the first round and have the potential to pull off an upset here. Of all the teams on this list, I think Colorado and Pepperdine have the most impressive wins. They took down both Southern California and Washington – two teams that have star players and star power. In addition, they went five against top-16 seed and tournament host Oregon. Maya Tabron and Lexi Hadrych lead the offense – watch out for the Buffs in the tournament.


TCU volleyball

Next is TCU. The Horned Frogs finished the season on a five-game winning streak, including a HUGE win over then-No. 10 Baylor. Audrey Nalls led all players with 22 hits in the win while hitting .364. But on top of that, the defense was off. They upset the Bears into a game-high 42 combined errors. When you see a team perform like that against a top 10 team in the country, you know what they’re capable of. Let’s see what they put together at the tournament.


So this team has 10 losses on the season, yeah. But they also have wins over Baylor, Minnesota and Washington. That win over the Gophers impresses me the most. Rachel Ahrens and Meg Brown are two names you may remember right from last year’s tournament, but this year they’ve added Emily Hellmuth. She is only a freshman but leads the team in kills per set. She scored 21 in the win over Minnesota. This team definitely has a lot of players with tournament experience and some strong offensive pieces that could be dangerous in the tournament.


Kansas volleyball

Finally, how about the team that pulled the biggest upsets last season… You have to imagine that a team that plays the no. 1 in the nation will learn a few things along the way. The Jayhawks pushed the Longhorns to five. Texas barely escaped with the win. If you remember their run last season, Caroline Bien was the name to know. She entered the tournament and is still a Jayhawk. Plus, they have a good matchup in the first round with what I would think are good odds against Miami. I wouldn’t count this team out.

Here are my top teams to watch that will NOT be hosted because they are not seeded in the top 16:

  • UCF
  • Houston
  • Georgia Tech
  • Southern California
  • Rice
  • Arkansas
  • Purdue
  • Washington


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