Certainly the biggest team performance of Friday night in NCAA women’s volleyball was Nebraska’s victory at Penn State, but as far as individuals it would be hard to top LSU’s Gina Tillis. Her Tigers not only rallied from being 2-1 to win in five at Georgia, but the sophomore outside hitter had career highs of 37 kills and 19 digs.
The USA women won the NORCECA again and in January plays in the four-team NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament along with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Canada at a site to be announced. The winner earns a berth into the 2016 Olympic Games.
And in Fort Lauderdale, action continues in the FIVB World Tour Finals. To keep up, click here.
Nebraska, Arizona State, Washington get big victories
Something had to give in Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State since No. 4 and the top-ranked Nittany Lions were both unbeaten.
If you watched you saw a highlight-film-worthy battle. The two-time defending national champs overwhelm the Cornhuskers in the first set, 25-12, and then hold on 26-24 in the second to go up 2-0. But the break was good for Nebraska, which turned it around with 25-14, 25-20, 15-11 victories as it clearly was the better team the last three sets.
In other Big Ten matches Friday, Ohio State beat Iowa in four, Indiana did the same to Maryland and Purdue swept Rutgers.
There’s no rest, since Saturday Penn State entertains Iowa, Maryland goes to Purdue, Michigan State goes to Michigan, Nebraska goes to Ohio State and Illinois plays at Minnesota. Those last two matches should be something else.
No. 6 Arizona State held off No. 8 Stanford in four to break a 16-match losing streak to the Cardinals. Macy Gardner had 22 kills and 11 digs as ASU beat Stanford for only the fifth time in 70 meetings. Here’s the story from Arizona Central.
And here’s the video recap from the Pac-12 Network. An interview with Gardner follows.
Also in the Pac-12 Friday, No. 5 Washington won in three at No. 11 UCLA (31-29, 25-16, 25-15), Colorado scored a nice victory at No. 22 Oregon, Oregon State beat visiting Utah, No. 2 USC swept visiting Washington State, and No. 14 Arizona beat visiting Cal in four.
The Pac-12 weekend continues with Utah at Oregon on Saturday and on Sunday Washington State at UCLA, Colorado at Oregon State, Cal at Arizona State and, in the match of the day, Washington at USC. That one is an 11 a.m. Pacific start with, sadly, only a live stream.
LSU is a surprising 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference after winning at Georgia.
The Tigers, 6-8 overall, have won five of their last matches they find their way with a lineup much different from a year ago.
Tillis has been an up-and-down player, but her performance in Athens was something else. It was the second-most best kills in LSU history and the most in the rally scoring era as she hit .453.
For LSU-Georgia highlights, click here.
USA women win
They beat the Dominican Republic in four. Nicole Fawcett was named tournament MVP after getting 15 kills in 36 swings. Read the USA Volleyball recap here.
WannaBes rock Fud’s
And finally, there’s a huge tournament on the Florida Panhandle going on where a party is interrupted by beach volleyball. It’s the annual Fudpucker in Fort Walton, and we would be remiss not to show you this photo of the WannaBes getting ready for action Friday night. Our man Josh Wells is in the center with the remarkable beard. That’s them (like duh) in the photo at the top of today’s blog.