NCAA volleyball: WKU wins twice, Creighton rallies, Oregon and USC win, all the recaps

NCAA volleyball 2/1/2021-Denver volleyball-Lydia Bartalo
Denver's Lydia Bartalo hits through the Omaha block/DU photo

Western Kentucky won twice to get to 5-0, Creighton had to rally to win in five at South Dakota, USC coach Brad Keller got his first victory and saw his career winning percentage jump by 500 points, Oregon knocked off UCLA, Ohio State is 3-0 under new coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg, and Sarah Schank, whose name does not apply, had 40 digs for Marshall. 

It was a busy Sunday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball.

The recaps and highlights follow, but first a look at the schedule that includes a rare Monday Big Ten match when Ohio State plays host to Michigan State at 4 p.m. Eastern. It will be shown on the Big Ten Network. 

The WAC has three matches as Cal Baptist goes to Tarleton, Seattle U plays at Utah Valley, and UT Rio Grande Valley is at Dixie State. 

The Big Sky has Northern Colorado at Eastern Washington and Weber State at Montana.

In the Summit League, Western Illinois is at South Dakota State, Omaha goes to Denver, North Dakota State is at Kansas City, and North Dakota is at Oral Roberts. 

The Southern Conference slate has UNCG at Chattanooga, Western Carolina at The Citadel, Samford at Mercer, and ETSU at Furman.

There are two Missouri Valley matches when Loyola goes to Valparaiso and Illinois State plays at Bradley. 

And in the Horizon League, IUPUI is at Green Bay, Youngstown State is at Purdue Fort Wayne, Milwaukee goes to Cleveland State, Northern Kentucky is at Wright State, and Robert Morris is at UIC.

Go to the TV and Streaming listings to get links to any match that is being broadcast.

PAC-12 — Utah hit .391 and improved to 4-0 while dropping Cal to 0-4 with a 25-10, 25-16, 28-26 road victory. Dani Drews led with 15 kills while hitting .364 and added an asisst, two blocks, and two digs. Kenzie Koerber had nine kills, hit .500, and had an ace, three blocks, and six digs. Three players had eight kills each for Cal, which hit .075 …

USC, coming off a Friday loss at Oregon State (1-3) in its season opener, got the split on Sunday and gave coach Brad Keller his first career win. Four Trojans had 10 or more kills in the 25-18, 25-12, 29-31, 25-23 victory. Brooke Botkin led with 12 kills, two aces, 12 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Candice Denny had 11 kills, hit .450, and had an ace, six blocks, and four digs. Aleksandra Gryka had 11 kills, hit .348, and had an ace, five digs, and three blocks, one solo. Emilia Weske had 10 kills, two aces, four blocks, and three digs. Aliyah McDonald led OSU with 13 kills and hit .409 to go with two blocks and two digs. Kateryna Tkachenko had 12 kills, two blocks and four digs …

And Oregon (2-2) hit .310 as it swept visiting No. 19 UCLA (3-1) 25-23, 25-22, 25-19 after losing in four to the Bruins on Friday. Gloria Mutiri and Taylor Borup led the Ducks with 11 kills each. Mutiri hit .450 and had three blocks and five digs. Borup hit .400 and had seven digs. Brooke Nuneviller had eight kills, two blocks, and 18 digs. Mac May had 14 kills for UCLA, but hit .114.

OHIO STATE TOPS MSU — In the only Big Ten match Sunday, Ohio State is 3-0 after its 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 win over visiting Michigan State (0-3). The Buckeyes hit .365 and freshman Emily Londot led with 12 kills while hitting .357. She had three digs, an ace, and two blocks, one solo. Jenaisya Moore had nine kills, an assist, eight digs, and a block. Mac Podraza had four kills in six errorless attempts, 29 assists, three digs and three blocks. Seven Spartans had kills, led by Cecilee Max-Brown, who had eight and 10 digs.

SUMMIT LEAGUE — Creighton (3-1) of the Big East, which lost in five at South Dakota (1-3) of The Summit League on Friday after winning the first two sets, lost the first two sets Sunday and came back to win 18-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23, 15-7.

Keeley Davis led the 14th-ranked Bluejays with 20 kills, three aces, a block, and 17 digs.  Jaela Zimmerman had 14 kills, an assist, two blocks, and 13 digs. Freshman libero Ellie Bolton had 21 digs. 

“The biggest testament of that happening at both places is that both teams are resilient,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “South Dakota didn’t give up with their backs against the wall on Friday, and Creighton didn’t give up today. 

“There’s a lot of strengths for both teams. South Dakota is a dang good team, but I love the way that our team competed. I saw great heart from the team, and that’s a good sign.”

“As the match went on the serve and pass game flipped,” South Dakota coach Leanne Williamson said. “Early on we were getting them out of system a little bit more often which allowed our defense to play at a high level.”

Elizabeth Juhnke was playing at the highest level, leading with 23 kills, an assist, an ace, a block, and 12 digs. She had 18 kills and 17 digs in the Friday match.

“We had a five-set match two days ago, it’s a battle, and then another one today,” Juhnke said. “We got fatigued, we were more tired than we thought we would be. We didn’t get our feet to the ball and didn’t get stops. We’re going to recover and this will make us better in the long run.”

Sami Slaughter had 16 kills, hit .308, and had six digs and two blocks, one solo. Lolo Weideman had 17 digs, two aces, and seven assists, and setter Madison Jurgens had 48 assists, two aces, a kill, a block, and 10 digs … 

Kansas City won its season opener by beating visiting North Dakota State (2-1) in five as Melanie Brecka had a career-high 22 kills and added two assists, three blocks, and 13 digs. Alex Ratzlaff had 14 kills, two assists, three aces, a block and 18 digs. Maddie Renn had 26 digs and three assists, while setter Allie Schomers had six kills in 15 errorless attempts, 54 assists, three aces, a block, and six digs. Ali Hinze led NDSU with 19 kills, two assists, an ace, 10 digs, and four blocks, one solo. Kirstin Tidd had 11 kills with one error in 22 attacks to hit .455 and she had three blocks, one solo, and Alexis Bachmeier had 10 kills, three blocks, and 11 digs. Kelley Johnson had two kills, 43 assists, three aces, a block, and 15 digs … 

North Dakota (1-2, 1-0) also won in five with a most unusual scoreline of 30-32, 25-8, 15-25, 27-25, 15-10 at Oral Roberts (0-3, 0-1). Lexi Ahrens led UND with 17 kills on 38 errorless swings to hit .447. She had an ace, three blocks, and five digs. Taylor Riedl, who had four assists, a block, and 25 digs, had 12 kills, and so did Sara Antic, who added an assist, two blocks, and 19 digs. Peyton Sewell had six kills, 40 assists, five aces, a block, and 10 digs. Kaia Dunford led ORU with 16 kills as he hit .353 and had an assist, a block, and four digs. Aixa Vigil had 13 kills and 17 digs … 

Denver opened its season with a sweep of visiting Omaha (1-2, 0-1). Lorrin Poulter led with 10 kills, 15 assists, seven digs, and three blocks, one solo. Ari Winters had eight kills, hit .400, and had an assists, a dig, and five blocks, one solo. Sadie Limback had 11 kills and hit .320 for Omaha to go with three blocks six digs … 

And South Dakota State (1-1, 1-0) hit .364 as it swept visiting Western Illinois (0-2, 0-1). Crystal Burk led with 14 kills as she hit .333 and had two assists, an ace, and a dig. Emma Norris and Mariah Mitchell had eight kills each for Western Illinois.

Chatttanooga’s Sophia Bossong sets as teammate Sarah Flynn looks on/Chattanooga photo

SOCON — Olivia Cunningham had 24 kills and hit .354 as ETSU won in five at Furman in the season opener for both teams. Cunningham added three assists, three aces, seven digs, and four blocks, one solo. Lauren Hatch added 16 kills, an ace, seven digs, and six blocks, one solo. Sydney Cherney had five assists and 17 digs, and Emily Arnold had 50 assists, three aces, and six digs. Neci Harris led Furman with 19 kills as she hit .375 and had an ace, a dig, and five blocks, two solo. Courtney Hoffman had 14 kills and four blocks, one solo …

Samford hit .357 and won its season opener at Mercer (1-5, 0-1) as Lauren Deaton had 18 kills and hit .308 in the sweep. Eight players had kills for Mercer, which hit .309, led by Brittany Major, who had nine kills, an assist, four blocks, and seven digs … Chattanooga improved to 3-0 by winning its league opener in five against visiting UNCG. Hayden McGee led the Mocs with 10 kills, two aces, and 11 digs, and Maia Rackel had nine kills and six blocks, and Coniah Davis had nine kills and four blocks. Maria Esch had 18 kills, a solo block, and 15 digs for UNCG … And The Citadel (2-3) beat visiting College of Charleston (1-1) of the Big South in four behind 19 kills by Melanie King and 18 by Sharlissa de Jesus, who had 21 digs. Gabi Bailey had nine kills for Charleston.

BIG SKY — Kennedy Warren had 25 kills as Idaho (2-1) beat visiting Southern Utah (0-2) in four. Warren hit .304 and had two blocks and 14 digs. Allison Munday had 12 kills, six digs, and six blocks, two solo, and Donnae Janzen had three kills in four errorless attempts, 55 assists, and seven digs. Stacey Hone led Idaho with 17 kills, five digs, and five blocks. Raegen Ashby had 13 kills and hit .435 to go with three blocks and two digs. Corrin Peterson had two kills, 46 assists, an ace, three blocks, and 11 digs … 

Sacramento State (3-1) swept Idaho State (1-3) as Bridgette Smith had 13 kills, four aces, and 10 digs, and Caitlin Volkmann had 11 kills and three blocks … Northern Arizona (3-1) won in four at Portland State (1-3) behind 19 kills each by Heaven Harris and Taylor Jacobsen. Harris his .351 and Jacobsen had two assists, an ace, two blocks, and 13 digs. Lyla Hollis had seven kills, an ace, an assist, 20 assists, and two blocks, one solo. Parker Webb had nine kills, six blocks, and 11 digs for Portland State … Weber State (3-0) swept at Montana (1-2). Dani Nay led with 12 kills, two assists, two aces, two blocks, and 10 digs. Rylin Adams added 10 kills, two aces and six digs. Sophia Meyers and Amethyst Harper had 10 kills each for Montana … Northern Colorado (2-1) won in four at Eastern Washington (1-3, 0-3). Kailey Jo Ince led with 14 kills and had an ace and five digs. Taylor Muff had 12 kills, an ace and 11 digs, and Daisy Schultz had three kills in 19 attempts without an error to go with 41 assists, an ace, and 18 digs. Kyndall Feather had 10 digs, three assists, and two aces. Ashlyn Blotzer led EWU with 10 kills while hitting .375 and she had an ace, two blocks and two digs.

AROUND THE NATION Western Kentucky of Conference USA is 5-0 after winning twice Sunday, sweeping visiting Saint Louis of the Atlantic 10, which lost its season opener, and then Evansville of the Missouri Valley. Against SLU, WKU hit .388 while the Billikens hit .047. Lauren Matthews led WKU with 11 kills as she had one error in 15 swings and hit .667 to go with five blocks and a digs. Against Evansville, the defense was even tougher as Evansville hit minus .021. Matthews had nine kills and five blocks, two solo … 

We already had Creighton, but four other Big East teams were in action Sunday, including Marquette (3-1) sweeping at Drake (4-1) of the Missouri Valley. Taylor Wolf led Marquette with 12 kills while hitting .385 and she had 12 assists, 16 digs, and five blocks, one solo. Hope Werch had 10 kills with no errors in 30 attacks, Claire Nuessmeier had eight kills with one error in 14 swings, and Savannah Rennie had seven kills with no errors in 11 swings and three blocks. Katie Schowessow had 24 digs and three assists. Lindsey Pliapol led Drake with 24 kills, an ace, a blocks, and nine digs … 

Four players had 10 or more kills and Sarah Schank had a program-record 40 digs as Marshall of Conference USA opened its season by winning in five at Xavier (1-1) of the Big East in a dig-a-thon. Schank, previously an outside hitter, moved to libero this season. Ciara DeBell led with 16 kills, three assists, three blocks, and 16 digs. MaryAnn O’Toole led Xavier with 19 kills and 23 digs. Stevie Wolf had 24 digs and Alyssa Overbeck had 32 … 

Butler (1-2) of the Big East won in five at Bellarmine (1-3) of the ASUN. Brittany Robinson led Butler with 19 kills as she hit .310 and had an assist, two aces, four blocks, and 10 digs. Amina Shackelford had 11 kills and six blocks, two solo. Melody Davidson had nine kills in 16 errorless attacks and nine blocks, two solo. Abbie Stefanon led Bellarmine with 16 kills and five blocks, one solo, and Hannah Brown had 10 kills and four blocks … 

UTSA (2-1) of Conference USA beat visiting UIW (0-2) of the Southland Conference in five as four players had 13 or more kills. Bianca Ejesieme led with 17 as she hit .367 and had six digs and five blocks. Hunter Coppola had 15 kills, an ace, eight digs, and a block. Bethany Clapp had 22 kills and hit .354 for Incarnate Word and added five aces, two assists, a block and 14 digs. Britney Ong had 23 digs …

In a SWAC match, Prairie View improved to 4-0 with a sweep at Alcorn State, which was playing its season opener. Mar’ria Phillips led PVU with 12 kills as she hit .381 and had an assist, two blocks, and two digs … Also in the SWAC, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-1) swept at Southern, which was opening its season. Haley Gomez had eight kills with no errors in 14 swings for APBU and added five digs and five blocks, one solo. Southern hit .038 … 

And UCF (3-0) of the American Athletic swept North Florida (0-4) of the ASUN again. McKenna Melville led with 11 kills while hitting .375 to go with two assists, an ace, seven digs, and two blocks, one solo. Tali Marmen had nine kills and a solo block for UCF, which hit .323. Gabby O’Connell led UNF with 13 kills, a block, and seven digs.

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