NCAA: LMU knocks off No. 1 BYU, big power-five slate on tap Wednesday

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Stanford freshman Holly Campbell, playing at Washington last week, and her Cardinal teammates go to Arizona State on Wednesday/Stephen Burns photo

There were only five matches in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball on Tuesday, both all in the West Coast Conference, and, well, wow.

Previously unbeaten and top-ranked BYU — which had already clinched the league title and was in a fierce battle for one of the top four NCAA Tournament seeds — not only lost at Loyola Marymount, it was swept by the Lions.

And displaced Pepperdine, playing its home match at UCLA, secured second place in the league with a five-set win over San Diego, helping its own NCAA cause and dealing USD a serious blow to its at-large hopes.

The line of the night went to Riley Ramsey of Pacific, who had 29 kills, hit .367, added three assists, a block and 15 digs in a win over San Francisco.

In addition to those recaps, we’ve got a look at Wednesday’s schedule that includes matches in all the power-five conferences plus the American Athletic Conference, and catching up with the growing list of coaching openings.

Wednesday’s schedule: There are a lot of matches with NCAA Tournament implications, starting in the Big Ten where No. 4 Illinois goes to Michigan State, No. 12 Purdue plays at Indiana and No. 18 Michigan plays host to Northwestern.

In the Pac-12, No. 2 Stanford goes to Arizona State, No. 15 USC is home for Utah, No. 17 Oregon plays at No. 19 Washington, No. 20 Washington State is home for Oregon State, No. 23 Arizona plays host to Cal, and Colorado goes to UCLA, where both are unranked but playing for their respective postseason lives. UCLA must win either this match or its season finale Friday against USC to finish above .500 overall and be NCAA Tournament eligible.

There are four matches in the Big 12, including No. 5 Texas, which has to be happy about BYU’s loss, going to Texas Tech. No. 25 Baylor is home for West Virginia, Kansas goes to Iowa State and Kansas State is at TCU.

The SEC’s slate is highlighted by the two teams tied for second place, No. 13 Florida at No. 22 Tennessee. League-leader No. 11 Kentucky is at South Carolina and No. 24 Missouri is at LSU. Also, Arkansas goes to Georgia, Mississippi State is at Auburn and Texas A&M is at Alabama.

And in the ACC, the league’s only ranked team, No. 10 Pittsburgh, is home for Georgia Tech as it wraps up its regular season. Notre Dame is at Duke, Syracuse goes to NC State and Florida State plays at North Carolina. Virginia is at Boston College and Clemson goes to Virginia Tech. 

The American Athletic’s ranked team, No. 21 UCF, is home USF, and for those not knowing the acronyms, that’s Central Florida playing host to South Florida. Cincinnati, sure to get an NCAA at-large bid, is home for East Carolina.

Coaching carousel: Since we last reported on openings at Alabama, Nicholls State, and Southeastern Louisiana, jobs have opened up at Air Force (Marc Swindle retired), Eastern Kentucky (Lori Duncan retired), Georgia Southern (Dustin Wood resigned after six seasons), Louisiana Tech (fired Adriano de Souza after seven seasons), Marshall (Mitch Jacobs retired), UTEP (Holly Watts was fired after six seasons) and IUPUI.

IUPUI coach Steven Payne was fired after 22 seasons after being arrested November 8 on preliminary charges of possession of child pornography. The team finished 9-21 this season, 6-10 in the Horizon League, winning its last two games of the season after Payne was fired. On the IUPUI website, there is no mention of him leaving or that assistant Lindsey Buteyn continues as interim head coach. 

Wacky WCC: LMU (20-9, 10-8) celebrated its senior night in a big way, stunning visiting BYU (27-1, 17-1) 25-23, 27-25, 25-20 for the program’s first victory over a top-ranked team.

“The crowd (of 850) was unbelievable,” LMU coach Aaron Mansfield said. “Obviously there were a lot of BYU fans, but there were a lot of LMU fans here too, and the girls definitely fed off of that. 

“Our preparation is our preparation. We prepared for the match just like we did all the others and a lot of things went our way tonight. Obviously, BYU is undefeated for a reason and they make it really tough on you, but we felt like we earned it tonight … It was really a team effort tonight. Everyone stepped and played really good volleyball. Nothing special, but it was good enough to win.”

Sara Kovac led LMU with 22 kills. She hit .311 and had an ace, 10 digs and two blocks. Savannah Slattery added 17 kills, hit .361, and had two digs and a block. 

BYU was led by Roni Perry Jones, who had 20 kills, an ace, three digs and two blocks, one solo. The rest of her teammates combined for just 16 kills in 71 attacks as the Cougars hit .158.

Heather Gneiting had five kills and seven blocks and setter Lyndsey Haddock-Eppich had 10 digs and six blocks.

“I’m proud of the regular season we’ve had,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “Nobody can take away what we’ve done this season and that it’s been something special. 

“We didn’t play our best tonight so that means there’s room for us to grow and get better.”

Pepperdine (21-8, 14-4) held off visiting San Diego 25-17, 25-22, 18-25, 22-25, 15-11 behind 16 kills, 11 digs, two aces and three blocks by Shannon Scully. Alli O’Harra, who hit .333, Rachel Ahrens, and Tarah Wylie had nine kills each. O’Harra had six blocks, one solo, and Wylie had six blocks, two solo.

Katie Lukes led San Diego (16-12, 13-5) with 13 kills and Cami May had 12. Addie Picha had four kills and nine blocks, four solo. Megan Jacobsen added nine kills, hit .350, and had two digs and four blocks …

Saint Mary’s (19-9, 11-7) strengthened its chances for an at-large NCAA bid with a four-set win over Santa Clara (6-24, 1-17). Sarah Chase led with 15 kills, hit .353, had five aces, 15 digs and a block … Gonzaga (11-18, 8-10) beat Portland (18-12, 6-12) in five, including 30-28 in the fourth. Kaylie Loewen led with 17 kills, she hit .556, and had two digs and a solo block. Izzy Guzik had 20 kills, an assist, three blocks and 11 digs for Portland … And Pacific (13-16, 8-10) beat San Francisco (9-20, 2-16) in five behind its two Rileys. Riley Ramsey’s line was noted above. Riley Patterson had 12 kills, 23 digs, two assists, and two blocks, one solo. Kaitlyn Lines added 17 kills, two aces, two blocks and six digs. Lena Bondar led San Francisco with 19 kills, hitting .368. She had an ace, five blocks, and a dig. 

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