Wisconsin’s Izzy Ashburn serves against Marquette in Fiserv Forum/Zach Schuster photo

What a great couple of days for volleyball and NCAA women’s volleyball in particular.

A day after Nebraska beat Stanford and got tremendous ratings on ESPN, two matches Wednesday had record crowds.

Top-ranked Wisconsin won a tough, four-set battle over Marquette in Milwaukee’s Fiserve Forum and did it before an NCAA indoor volleyball record crowd of 17,037.

At the same time, No. 2 Louisville was sweeping No. 21 Kentucky in downtown Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center, site of the 2024 NCAA Championship. That match drew the largest crowd in Louisville home history, 12,670.

Three other ranked teams won on Wednesday as No. 11 Washington State beat No. 18 Baylor, No. 12 BYU — also with a record home crowd — beat Utah and No. 22 Houston beat Texas A&M. And Manhattan and Siena got their first victories of the season.

The results and top performances follow, but first a look at Thursday NCAA Division I women’s volleyball schedule that includes more regional matches and a handful of ranked teams.

The big match of the day is in Pittsburgh when the No. 8 Panthers play host to No. 7 Oregon.

Sixth-ranked Texas is home for No. 19 Ohio State, No. 9 Minnesota plays High Point, No. 15 Tennessee plays Chicago State, No. 17 Purdue plays UCF, No. 24 Auburn plays South Alabama and Houston plays Liberty.

Other matches of note include unbeaten Arizona State playing Memphis, USC vs. Illinois, Hawai’i vs. TCU, Colorado vs. Colorado State and Washington vs. Cal Poly. 

Want to watch? We have the conference-by-conference schedule with viewing links for any match that is being shown in our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.

HUGE TV ratings

On Tuesday, when No. 4 Nebraska won in four at No. 5 Stanford, the crowd might have been relatively small in Stanford’s Maples Pavilion — 3,363 — but the TV were ratings were huge.

As VolleyballMag.com’s Larry Hamel reported:

The Nebraska-Stanford match, which aired on the flagship ESPN channel, was the most-watched live competitive sports event on cable TV on Tuesday, with a total-average viewership of 466,000 in the overnight Nielsen ratings, according to the Spoiler TV site. 

In a relatively light sports day, on cable channels with similar reach to ESPN, the major-league baseball game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox on TBS logged a viewership of 430,000, and the international soccer match between the USA men’s national team and Oman on TNT was seen by 339,000. 

The Spoiler TV chart ranked Nebraska-Stanford 27th on the day in the key 18-49 demo on cable TV with a rating of .11.

Ranked results

The crowd of 17,037 that watched Wisconsin (8-0) beat Marquette (2-6) set two records. It broke the NCAA record for the most-attended indoor match and is the largest crowd to watch a women’s sporting event in Wisconsin.

“To play in front of this kind of crowd and environment was great,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said.

Wisconsin drew a then-NCAA regular-season record crowd of 16,833 in the Kohl Center against Florida on September 16, 2022. 

The Big Ten’s Wisconsin hit .244 in the 28-26, 20-25, 26-24, 25-18 victory. Sarah Franklin and Anna Smrek had 15 kills each. Franklin had an assist, a block and seven digs. Smrek, who hit .357, had three blocks and five digs.

Temi Thomas-Ailara had 10 kills and five of her team’s 18 service errors. She had two blocks and six digs. Carter Booth had nine kills, hit .333 and had six blocks. Libero Julia Orzol had three of Wisconsin’s five aces, 23 digs and an assist. Izzy Ashburn, who had the other two aces, and MJ Hammill, had 25 assists each.

“We knew there was going to be a lot of people and really wanted to take it in,” Ashburn said. “It was loud in there. It was incredible to look around, especially before the game, taking it all in and seeing the growth of the sport. 

“Even in my five years of playing (at Wisconsin), watching the fan base grow and watching the Field House fill up every single night, coming to an even bigger stadium, still filling it up, it’s just incredible event with two teams from the same state.”

Marquette of the Big East got 16 kills form Aubrey Hamilton, who had two assists, an ace, four blocks and eight digs. Hattie Bray had eight kills and Carsen Murry had six and three blocks. Yadhira Anchante had four kills with one error in seven tries, 31 assists, two blocks and 22 digs. Her team hit .092 … 

The ACC’s Louisville (9-0) rolled to a 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 victory over Kentucky of the SEC (2-5). Charitie Luper led with 13 kills and hit .385 to go with an ace, a clock and three digs. Anna DeBeer had nine kills and four digs and Aiko Jones had nine kills, hit .333, and had three blocks and three digs. Elena Scott had 15 digs and five assists and Elle Glock had two kills in four errorless tries, 32 assists, two aces and six digs. Her team hit .344. Kentucky, which hit .196, got 16 kills from Reagan Rutherford. She had two errors in 24 attacks and hit .583 to go with two aces, four blocks and nine digs. Her teammates combined for 18 kills, seven by Brooklyn DeLeye. Azhani Tealer had three kills in 12 errorless swings and four blocks … 

BYU (9-1) of the Big 12 beat Utah (4-5), currently of the Pac-12 but poised to join the Big 12 next year. It was played before a record-setting crowd of 5,528 at BYU’s Smith Fieldhouse.

BYU, which hit .345 got 16 kills from Erin Livingston, who hit .364 to go with four digs and three blocks in the 25-13, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16 victory. Claire Little had 14 kills, hit .393, and had a dig and two blocks. Katie Prior had 10 kills, hit .350 and had two digs and five blocks. Mia Lee had seven kills and eight blocks. Whitney Bower had five kills with one error in 10 attacks, 37 assists, two aces, eight digs and two blocks, one solo.

“We love the rivalry,” Prior said. “There’s so much energy and excitement. You want to be good over time and playing in rivalries with all this energy, it’s a good chance that we can be good over time.”

Utah’s Rianne Vos had 10 kills, hitting .350, 13 digs and a block. Emrie Satuala, Kamry Bailey and Allie Olson had nine kills each … 

Washington State of the Pac-12 improved to 9-1 with its 19-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 win at Baylor (4-4) of the Big 12. Iman Isanovic had 16 kills, hit .324, and had a block and five digs. Pia Timmer had 13 kills but hit .083 and added an assist, two blocks and nine digs. Katy Ryan had 10 kills, hit .348, and had four blocks and two digs. Lana Radakovic had six kills with one error in 12 attacks and three blocks, one solo, and Magda Jehlarova had three kills, an ace, two digs and eight blocks. Argentina Ung had a kill, 45 assists, three blocks and 10 digs. Her team hit .219. Baylor, which hit .168, got 20 kills from Kyndal Stowers. She hit .089 and had 11 digs. Manueal Bibinbe had 11 kills with no errors in 22 attacks, four digs and four blocks, one solo … 

Houston (6-2) of the Big 12 beat Texas A&M (7-2) of the SEC for the first time since 1994. Houston had lost 11 in a row to the Aggies before coming away with a 25-12, 25-14, 21-25, 25-18 victory. Katie Corelli led the Cougars with 13 kills, hitting .455 after having three errors in 22 attacks. She added an assist and four blocks. Kellen Morin had 11 kills with two errors in 15 attacks and had six blocks and a dig. Abbie Jackson had nine kills, an assist, 13 digs and three blocks, one solo, and Rachel Tullos had six kills in 10 errorless attacks, two digs and five blocks, two solo. Houston hit .239. Texas A&M, which hit .105, got 12 kills from Caroline Meuth and 10 from Bianna Muoneke.

Around the nation 

NC State is 10-1 after sweeping George Washington. The Wolfpack, which hit .326, got 11 kills from Ava Brizard and nine from Amanda Rice, who hit .467 … Duke swept North Carolina Central to get to 7-2. Ten Blue Devils had kills, nine by Gracie Johnson, who had two assists, two aces, six digs and four blocks … 

Rutgers (8-1) swept Marist as the Scarlet Knights hit .330. Alissa Kinkela had 10 kills in 19 errorless attacks, five digs and three blocks … Samford beat UAB in four in a match between the two Birmingham schools. Gracie Lynn Butler led with a career-high 23 kills, three assists, an ace and eight digs … 

UIC beat Northwestern in five as Ayat Amin had 18 kills and Martina Delucchi 17 in a battle of Chicago schools. Zahria Woodard had 11 kills, hit .444 and had five blocks, one solo. Maddy Chinn had 18 kills and four blocks for Northwestern … 

Megan Schulte tied her career high with 24 kills as Lehigh beat Villanova in four. She hit .308 and had an assist, an ace and eight digs. Emily Stewart had seven kills in 15 errorless attacks, two aces, five digs and nine blocks, two solo … 

Temple beat Princeton in five and Avery Luoma had 15 kills, 14 digs and three blocks, one solo … IUPUI beat Southern Indiana in four as Ava Harris had 16 kills, dive digs, two assists, an ace and two blocks, one solo … Emma Patmon had 14 kills and hit .407 with three aces and six digs for Lafayette in its sweep of NJITNew Mexico hit .337 and swept Northern Arizona. Kaitlynn Biassou had 14 kills, hit .478 and had an assist, three aces, 13 digs and a block … 

Manhattan (1-8) got its first win by beating 1-10 Central Connecticut State in four. Camilia Gomez had 19 kills, four assists, an ace and 14 digs … Fairfield won in five despite 21 kills by Braynt’s Aubrey Lapour …

In the something-had-to-give match, Siena (1-9) broke through by sweeping 0-11 Saint Peter’s. Anny Montana had 14 kills and hit .522 to go with 14 digs, two assists and five aces and Sara Wagner had 13 kills, two aces, five digs and a block.

Marquette’s Carsen Murray hits past the Wisconsin block of Carter Booth/Zach Schuster photo


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