NCAA: USC surprises No. 16 Michigan as season gets under way

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The Women of Troy celebrate the win with their band/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

It’s probably hard to call any first-weekend surprise an upset, but as the NCAA college volleyball season got under way on Friday, there were a few results of note.

Start with USC, unranked but the last team outside the AVCA top 25. The Trojans opened with a 3-1 home victory over Loyola Marymount and then knocked off No. 16 Michigan 25-22, 25-19, 28-30, 25-16 behind 19 kills by sophomore Khalia Lanier, who hit .421. Adeja Lambert had 20 kills for Michigan, which earlier in the day also beat Albany,

Alexis Patterson of Long Beach and Megan McClure of Stanford joust/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

No. 2 Stanford opened with a sweep at Long Beach as another sophomore sparkled. Kathryn Plummer, whose last swing in 2016 clinched the NCAA title, had to move back to the right side following an injury to Stanford’s Merete Lutz and led the Cardinal with 12 kills and 10 digs.

Third-ranked Washington opened with a home sweep of Pittsburgh. The Huskies had 17 blocks, nine by freshman middle Lauren Sanders. Washington plays No. 9 Creighton on Saturday. Creighton opened with a sweep of Saint Mary’s behind 13 kills by Marysa Wilkinson.

Minnesota picked right up where it left off 2016, when it advanced to the national semifinals, with a 25-16, 25-7, 25-20  sweep of visiting No. 11 North Carolina. The fourth-ranked Gophers hit .281 and got 14 kills from freshman opposite Stephanie Samedy.

No. 6 Penn State crushed UT-Martin in advance of playing Delaware and host West Virginia on Saturday.

Another Big Ten power, seventh-ranked Wisconsin, got 15 kills from freshman middle Dana Rettke as the Badgers beat Louisville 25-18, 25-19, 26-24. Wisconsin plays UNC Saturday.

Kansas of the Big 12, ranked eighth, worked hard for a 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24 win over NC State as senior outside Madison Rigdon had 17 kills and 15 digs.

No. 9 BYU opened with a sweep of Saint Louis, setting up a Saturday match against No. 21 Ohio State. The Buckeyes won twice on Friday, sweeping Texas Rio Grande Valley before beating Saint Louis in four. Senior outside Ashley Wenz had 25 kills, nine blocks and three aces in the two matches.

Thirteenth-ranked UCLA swept No. 22 San Diego in Hawai’i 25-16, 25-12, 25-22 as senior outside Reily Buechler had 13 kills and seven digs and sophomore middle Madeline Gates had nine kills and 10 blocks.

Kentucky got its season off to a great start. The 14th-ranked Wildcats opened with a 3-0 win over a strong mid-major, Arkansas State, and then rallied repeatedly, including in the fifth set, for a late-night home victory over No. 23 Utah 25-23, 29-27, 13-25, 20-25, 15-12. Sophomore outside Leah Edmond led with 22 kills and hit .360. Earlier, Utah opened with a sweep of Cincinnati. Senior outside Adora Anae had 26 kills against Kentucky and 19 against Cincy, when she hit .760 with no errors in 26 swings. Arkansas State bounced back to beat Cincinnati in four.

Florida State, ranked 15th, beat Baylor 25-20, 12-25, 25-21, 25-22 despite 19 kills from Baylor’s Katie Staiger.

Michigan State swept Furman as Alyssa Garvelink had 12 kills and nine blocks for the No. 17 Spartans.

Missouri, ranked 19th, won twice, going five to beat Marshall and then sweeping host Middle Tennessee.

No. 20 Hawai’i opened its season with a 24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 15-12  loss to Marquette to kick off Robyn Ah Mow-Santos’  start as head coach. Allie Barber had a monster night for Marquette with a career-high 22 kills.

No. 24 Arizona opens its season Saturday at Lipscomb with matches against East Tennessee and the home team.

And rounding out the top 25, Purdue opened its season with victories over Oral Roberts and Cleveland State as the Boilermakers hit .402 combined in the two sweeps.

Some other matches worth noting from Friday including UC Irvine beating Cal in four, UConn’s victory over Fairfield, Dayton getting swept by Cal Poly, Grand Canyon sweeping Syracuse, Seton Hall getting past Oklahoma in five, North Dakota going five to beat Ole Miss, Santa Clara beating American in five, 18-16 in the fifth.

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