NCAA: Round of 16 set as UW, Michigan, USD score upsets; Marquette, WSU move on

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NCAA volleyball roundup 12/1/2018-USD-San Diego-Toreros
San Diego celebrates beating Cal Poly in the first round of the NCAA Tournament/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Three seeds were bounced from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, as Washington swept No. 9 Creighton, No. 12 Pittsburgh was sent into the offseason by Michigan, and San Diego scored a stunning sweep at No. 11 USC.

And for all the jockeying all season long, the conference battles, seeding process and first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, we’re left with a familiar field that includes just one new name  in the round of 16: Marquette of the Big East.

USD is back for the first time in five years and Washington State is into the third round for the first time since 2002.

Otherwise, round up the usual suspects:

The 16 includes six from the Big Ten (Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan), four from the Pac-12 (Stanford, Oregon, Washington State, Washington), two from the West Coast Conference (BYU, USD), two from the SEC (Kentucky, Florida), and one each from the Big 12 (Texas) and Big East (Marquette). All three ACC teams, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Louisville, lost Saturday.

Here are Friday’s matchups, times TBA, although all eight will be on an ESPN platform in some form or another:

At BYU
Texas vs. Michigan
Florida vs. BYU
At Stanford
Washington vs. Penn State
Stanford vs. Washington State
At Illinois
Wisconsin vs. San Diego
Illinois vs. Marquette
At Minnesota
Nebraska vs. Kentucky
Oregon vs. Minnesota
NCAA volleyball roundup 12/2/2018-Victoria Garrick-Raquel Lazaro-USC-Trojans-NCAA volleyball
USC’s Victoria Garrick and Raquel Lazaro hustle for the tipped ball against San Diego/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

San Diego sweeps USC: USD, an at-large team from the WCC, has come a long way after finally breaking through in an NCAA Tournament match in Los Angeles.

The Toreros had a tough but rough pre-conference schedule, and when they lost their conference opener it left them 3-7.

But Saturday night, USD (18-12) came away with a 27-25, 25-21, 25-19 win at the Galen Center that ended USC’s season at 22-11.

Freshman outside Katie Lukes had her best match, leading with 12 kills while hitting .348 to go with a block. Lauren Fuller had six kills and 12 digs, Roxie Wiblin had eight kills, four digs and three blocks, and Addie Picha had six kills, hit .455, and had two assists and seven blocks, one solo. Hannah Patrick had seven kills with no errors in 10 swings, a dig and two blocks.

“Everyone in our program knows how many times we’ve been to USC to play in the first and second rounds,” USD coach Jennifer Petrie said. “I heard from a lot of alumni today, saying, ‘It’s time. It’s time that we finally leave here with a win.’

“To do it not just for our own girls and the four years that they’ve been here, Lauren Fuller and Addie Picha, they’ve been here three times in this tournament … it just feels so good to finally have achieved that. This is huge.”

Last year, USD’s season ended in five to USC in the second round. In 2016, the Toreros lost in five to Baylor at UCLA. In 2015, they lost in the second round to USC. And in 2014 they lost in the first round to Long Beach State at UCLA. USD got to host in 2013 and beat UCSB and Arizona before losing in the third round at Nebraska.

Petrie is ready for a trip to Illinois and a match with Wisconsin.

“It’s the right time. It’s the right time for them to have some confidence, it’s the right time to break out, with six freshmen and a transfer,” she said. “We’re going to have a lot of lumps like that in a lot of matches, and for the freshmen to have that kind of confidence in the second round on someone’s home court, it’s amazing. I’m so happy for them.”

USD got past Cal Poly in four on Friday when the Mustangs played without their leading attacker and best player, Torrey Van Winden. Lukes had seven kills but hit .043.

“Last night I struggled a little bit, I didn’t want to be too tentative tonight. I knew that the way to beat USC was to just lay it all out on the court, and swing as high and as hard as I can, so that’s what I committed to doing, and it worked. Just think fearless out on the court, that’s what it is,” Lukes said.

“You know what? We’ve had some highs and lows, but we realized we had this opportunity to make the tournament. We knew that this is a new season and nothing else mattered any more.”

USC was 12-1 in its last 13 meetings with USD, the last loss coming in 2013. Saturday, Emily Baptista led the Trojans with 13 kills, hitting .385. She had two blocks and an assist. Khalia Lanier had 12 kills, an ace, two digs and a block. USC hit .165.

Michigan knocks off Pittsburgh: The Wolverines (24-9) put an end to ACC-champion Pittsburgh’s historic season with a 19-25, 25-22, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9. Carly Skjodt led Michigan with 20 kills, 13 digs, two assists and six blocks. Paige Jones had 11 kills, 10 digs, an assist, and two aces. Cori Crocker added nine kills with one error in 13 swings to hit .615 as she had three digs, an assist and three blocks. Katarina Glavinic had eight kills, hit .350, and had a dig and five blocks, one solo. Setter MacKenzi Welsh not only had 47 assists, but had seven kills in nine errorless attacks to hit . 778. She had two aces, nine digs and a block.

Pitt ended 30-2 with its only five-set loss of the season. Nika Markovic led the Panthers with 19 kills, two aces, five digs and four blocks. Zoi Faki had 12 kills, two assists, 23 digs and two blocks, and Chinaza Ndee and Layne Van Buskirk had 10 kills each. Ndee had fiv blocks and Van Buskirk eight, two solo. Pittsburgh was without injured Kayla Lund, the team’s second-leading attacker.

WSU holds off Vols: Washington State (23-9) beat Tennessee (26-6) 30-28, 25-18, 19-25, 25-13 to move into the third round for the first time in 16 years and put an end to the Vols’ remarkable turnaround season.

McKenna Woodford led WSU with 19 kills, three digs and two blocks. Taylor Mims had 17 kills, three aces, six digs and a block, and Jocelyn Urias had 14 kills, hit .333, and had three digs and four blocks.

Tennessee, 12-15 in 2017, was in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2012. Tessa Grubbs led with 21 kills, hit .306, and had two digs and two blocks. Erica Treiber had 13 kills, hit .435, and had five digs, an ace and five blocks. Addisyn Rowe had 10 kills and two blocks.

Washington ousts Creighton: The Huskies (20-12) entered the tournament on a three-match skid, losing to Stanford, Oregon and WSU. But they opened with a four-set win over Saint Mary’s and then overpowered Creighton (29-5) on its home court 25-19, 25-21, 25-23.

Washington, back in the third round for the sixth time in seven years, got 14 kills from Samantha Drechsel. She hit .313 and had two digs and six blocks. Kara Bajema had nine kills, nine digs and three blocks, two solo, and Lauren Sanders had seven kills with one error in 10 swings to hit .600, and added two digs and eight blocks, two solo. Setter Ella May Powell had a kill, 35 assists, six digs and three blocks.

“We’ve had our ups and downs this year. Ten-and-ten in Pac-12, losing our last three matches, two of them in five, and I liked what I saw from our group drawing upon those experiences and getting better,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said.

“I told them it always felt like we should be practicing next week. Sometimes you get to this point in the season and you feel like maybe you’re a little tired and you’re done, but with this group I really wanted to see them on Monday, so I’m excited to have that opportunity.”

Creighton, which had won 21 matches in a row, hit .113. Taryn Kloth, who will continue her career on the beach for LSU, led the Bluejays with 11 kills but hit .059. She had six digs and three blocks. Jaali Winters had eight kills but hit .027. Setter Madelyn Cole had two kills in four errorless swings, two aces, and two blocks to go with 31 assists.

Creighton’s Madelyn Cole goes atop the scorers’ table while chasing down a loose ball against Washington/Creighton Twitter

Around the tournament: Top-seeded Stanford (30-1) extended its winning streak to 28 matches — tying the school record — with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-17 sweep of Loyola Marymount (21-10). Kathryn Plummer had 16 kills, hit .519, and added an assist, 10 digs and three blocks, one solo. Meghan McClure had 12 kills, hit .440, and had six digs and two blocks, and Audriana Fitzmorris had eight kills, hit .412, and had a dig and four blocks, one solo. Holly Campbell had four kills, hit .429, and had four blocks as Stanford hit .438. Sara Kovac led LMU with 12 kills.

“There’s always a game plan,” LMU coach Aaron Mansfield said. “Just like with any other match, some times that game plan works initially and sometimes it doesn’t. You want to adapt as you go.

“It just seems like they have a couple athletes and players that we didn’t necessary have an answer for, but there were numerous opportunities to dig some balls that didn’t and execute our floor defense better, but it is a testament to them. They did a lot of different shots at a lot of different paces. It’s more hats off to them, then what we could have done differently.” 

Second-seeded Minnesota (27-3) hit .384 as it swept South Carolina (20-10) 25-12, 25-15, 25-15. Stephanie Samedy led the Gophers with 12 kills, hit .345, and had seven digs, an ace and three blocks. Regan Pittman had nine kills in 15 errorless attacks and hit .600 to go with an assist, six digs and three blocks. South Carolina, which was 12-18 last year and made it into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years, got eight kills fro Mikayla Shields, who had eight digs …

No. 3-seeded Illinois (30-3) won its 15th in a row and got back to the third round for the ninth time in 11 years as it beat Louisville (22-9) 25-22, 28-26, 25-17, 25-18. The match pitted two second-year coaches who had been assistants at Nebraska together, Chris Tamas of Illinois and Dani Busboom Kelly of Louisville.

Jacqueline Quade led the Illini with 14 kills, 12 digs and two blocks. Beth Prince had 10 kills, a dig and four blocks, Megan Cooney had nine kills and five digs, and Jordyn Poulter had three kills in six errorless swings to hit .500, had 44 assists, an ace, 10 digs and seven blocks, three solo. Melanie McHenry, had eight digs and two blocks, and Amanda Green had 17 kills each for Illinois. Green added two aces and 10 digs … 

BYU, the fourth seed (29-1), overpowered Utah 25-16, 25-21, 25-18 before 5,183 the second-largest home crowd in program history behind its match with Utah earlier this year (also a BYU sweep). 

Roni Perry-Jones led the Cougars with 20 kills and hit .471. She had seven digs and three blocks. 

“Roni was phenomenal tonight,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “She knew that they were going after her and she was still fearless. Twenty kills on 34 swings is unbelievable.”

Heather Gneiting had 12 kills with one error in 16 swings and hit .688 to go with two blocks.

Utah’s Dani Drews had 13 kills, hit .345, and had an assist, five digs and a block. Kenzie Koerber had nine kills, hit .368, and added an assist, an ace and a block.

“It was a tough loss,” Utah coach Beth Launiere said. “We had the kind of season, as of late, where we really didn’t want it to end. We’ve had such a nice run here at the end and we’ve been playing such great volleyball, doing a lot of winning, just a great team chemistry. From that perspective, I didn’t want it to come to an end. Unfortunately, we came up against a really good BYU team tonight.”

Mikaela Foecke had 16 kills in 24 errorless swings to hit . 667 as Nebraska (26-6) blasted Missouri (24-8) 25-14, 25-22, 25-18. Foecke, who had nine kills in 22 errorless swings against Hofstra on Friday, also had two aces, seven digs and four blocks against Missouri. Lexi Sun had 11 kills, hit .333, and had two assists, an ace, and eight digs. Jazz Sweet and Lauren Stivrins had eight kills each. Stivrins had six blocks. Leketor Member-Meneh led Mizzou with 11 kills and three digs. Kyle DeBerg had 20 kills, five digs and two blocks, one solo … 

Penn State (25-7) swept Syracuse (19-9) 25-13, 25-20, 25-16. Tori Gorrell led a balanced attack with 11 kills while hitting .500 to go with a dig and four blocks. Nia Reed, Jonni Parker and Taylor Leath had 10 kills each. Polina Shemanova led Syracuse, making its first NCAA appearance, with 10 kills … 

Kentucky (26-4) ousted Purdue (24-9) 25-20, 25-21, 25-14) as Leah Edmond had 13 kills, four digs and a block, and Brooke Morgan had 12 kills, hit .429, and had four aces and a dig.

“It’s unfortunate that two teams ranked in the top 12 have to play in the second round and that one of us has to go home in a tournament like this,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We knew it was going to be a battle and our team really stepped up and made a statement today.”

Purdue’s Blake Mohler had 10 kills with no errors in 16 attacks and hit .625 to go with eight blocks, two solo. Purdue had just 27 kills, including nine by Sherridan Atkinson, who had six digs and two blocks … 

And Marquette (28-6), which lost three times in the Big East to Creighton this season, is moving on after dealing Cincinnati (26-8) a 25-19, 25-21, 25-16 defeat.

Allie Barber led with 18 kills and hit .400 and had a dig and two blocks, one solo. Hope Werch had eight kills, two aces and six digs and Anna Haak had six kills, five aces and 12 digs. Cincinnati, which hit .110, was led — as it has been all season — by Jordan Thompson, who had 16 kills but hit .143. She added seven digs.

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