NCAA volleyball: Big wins for ASU, Drake; Wisconsin, ODU get victories; Auburn cancels

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Mac May-UCLA volleyball
UCLA's Mac May spikes down the line in the Bruins victory Friday against Cal/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

What a first day of the spring 2021 NCAA volleyball season.

To wit: 

  Arizona State stunned Washington, not only winning in Seattle but doing it in three;

— Auburn announced it has canceled its season;

— Ohio and Central Michigan were in the second set when the power went out, so the match will resume Saturday morning;

— Top-ranked Wisconsin picked right up where it left off in 2019 by sweeping Purdue;

— Drake beat Northern Iowa for the first time in 25 years;

— UCLA beat visiting Cal in four, but lost the second set 39-37;

— And Old Dominion started volleyball with a victory and Dixie State won its first match in Division I.

The highlights and notes follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule that includes five matches in the Big Ten, Illinois at Iowa, Maryland at Ohio State, Michigan State at Minnesota, Nebraska at Indiana, Rutgers at Northwestern, and Purdue at Wisconsin.

In the Pac-12, Arizona State is at Washington, while the ACC’s Clemson is home for two matches with Western Carolina. Among other matches Saturday, Marquette is home for Illinois State, Rice faces Houston, UNI plays Omaha, and Memphis entertains Southern Ilinois.

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

There were also men’s matches Friday and the results follow.

Devon Chang-UCLA volleyball
UCLA’s Devon Chang sets a tight pass against Cal/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Pac-12 — Arizona State hit .339 and won in Seattle for the first time since 2012 with a 25-20, 25-15, 28-26 victory at Washington.

Marta Levinska led with 18 kills as she hit .486 after having on error in 35 attacks. She added three blocks and nine digs. Iman Isanovic had 12 kills, hit .323, and had two aces and 11 digs. Megan Beedie had eight kills and four blocks, and Ella Snyder had kills in both her attempts, 37 assists, a block, and 11 digs.

“What an amazing night for our young team!” Arizona coach Sanja Tomasevic said. I’m super proud of the way we showed up to play against one of the best Pac-12 teams. 

“This team has talent and will to be great. It’s going to take games like this to get the experience, and we will for sure have more of these kinds of nights coming up in the tough Pac-12 schedule.”

Claire Hoffman led Washington with 12 kills and two blocks. She had one error in 27 attacks. Sophie Summers had six kills with no errors in 10 swings to with five blocks. Their teammates combined for 19 kills on 79 swings with 12 errors.

Preseason rankings what they are, Arizona State did not appear in the AVCA first poll, while Washington was No. 8.

“We started off not serving at a super high level which puts you in a tough situation right away, and then I didn’t think we were hitting with a lot of purpose, which allowed their ball control players to manage a lot of situations,” said Washington coach Keegan Cook, who lost a season opener for the first time in his six years at the helm. 

“In the third set we hit with more purpose and showed some intangibles, but really mostly just a disciplined performance from Arizona State from start to finish.”

UCLA opened with a 25-22, 37-39, 25-20, 25-16 victory over visiting Cal as the Bruins hit .327 and got 20 kills from Mac May, who added an assist, two solo blocks, and six digs.

There were 18 ties and nine lead changes in that second set.

“That was also pretty crazy. Things were back and forth, back and forth and back and forth. Our team responded really well. There was no breakdown. We reset on every play,” said May, last year’s Pac-12 player of the year.

Cal had nine set points and UCLA six.

“I think our team did a really great job of taking a clean slate, next play.  Clean slate, next play.

“Honestly, we said, ‘Let’s go to 50, why not?’ I think we did a great job of responding in that situation,” May added.

TCU transfer élan McCall had 16 kills in her UCLA debut with one error in 28 attacks to hit .536. Allison Jacobs had 13 kills and Iman Ndiaye 11 and seven blocks. 

Lydia Grote led Cal with 18 kills and three blocks. Katarina Pantovic had 14 kills and Sydney Lilomaiava 13 while hitting .417 to go with three blocks … 

Pia Timmer had 16 kills and 21 digs as Washington State defeated visiting Oregon 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22. Julianna Dalton added 13 kills and five blocks, and Magda Jehlarova had eight kills with one error in 14 swings to hit .500 and she added four blocks and two digs. Morgan Lewis had 12 kills for Oregon, Brooke Nuneviller had 11 and a match-high 17 digs, and Kansas State transfer Gloria Mutiri had 11 kills … 

Colorado swept visiting Oregon State 25-16, 25-23, 25-17. 

“It’s great for both teams and a testament to what everyone is doing to get us out on the floor and have everyone healthy and ready to go,” CU coach Jesse Mahoney said. “We haven’t played anyone else in a long time, so I think both teams were a little rusty. As the match went on it was really good to get some competitive fire going.”

Elissa Alcantara led Colorado with 10 kills and Rachael Fara had nine and hit .583 to go with four blocks. While the Buffs hit .209, Oregon State hit .028. Maddie Goings led OSU with 10 kills … 

Utah swept visiting Arizona 25-23, 25-17, 25-15 behind 15 kills and 12 digs from Dani Drews. Kenzi Koerber had eight kills and BYU transfer Madelyn Robinson six.

Arizona played tough in the first set, when the score was tied at 21-21, but it was all Utah after that. Dilara Gedikoglu had nine kills for the Wildcats, who hit .029.

“It’s been fun with the excitement and anticipation of this week to get back on the court and play,” Utah coach Beth Launiere said. “It’s been a different feeling than we’ve had for 13 months. I had a little nervous energy, and you just don’t have those when you’re hanging at home all the time. It was nice to get on the court and play.”

The Stanford series with USC was canceled.

Big Ten — Wisconsin hit .415 and overpowered visiting Purdue 25-14, 25-15, 25-16.

Senior Dana Rettke, the 2019 B1G player of the year, led a balanced attack with 11 kills and hit .733 after having no errors in 15 attacks. She had also had four blocks, three solo, and three digs.

“I think it was a great first night,” Rettke said. “We were fairly clean across the board.”

Freshman Devyn Robinson had nine kills with no errors in 12 attempts to hit .750 and added a block and two digs.

“She knows she belongs in this type of environment,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “She was ready for it and sometimes you get people who play a little bit small, a little bit scared, a little bit anxious, but that wasn’t her and I really liked her demeanor.”

Grace Loberg added eight kills, two aces, and nine digs. Sydney Hilley had four kills in seven attempts, 33 assists, and five digs.

Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 11 kills and Jael Johnson had 10 as the Boilermakers hit .116. They were also playing without outside hitter Grace Cleveland, a VolleyballMag.com third-team All-American in 2019 who was second to Newton in kills last season.

Nebraska went to Indiana and beat the Hoosiers 25-22, 25-20, 25-17. The Huskers, who hit .317, got 11 kills from Lexi Sun, who had two errors in 29 attacks and hit .429 to go with four aces. Lauren Stivrins had nine kills, also hit .429, and had two blocks. 

Tommi Stockham led Indiana with nine kills and three blocks, and Morgan Geddes had eight kills with one error in 14 attacks.

Obviously we played an excellent team,” IU coach Steve Aird said. “I think they would say they didn’t have their best performance tonight and I would say that we competed pretty well for two games and then kind of got young and made some errors in the third.”

Northwestern is 1-0 in B1G play for the first time since 2015 when it also opened conference play with a win over Rutgers. Saturday, the Wildcats hit .425 and spoiled the debut of Rutgers coach Caitlin Schweihofer 25-12, 25-18, 25-16. Temi Thomas-Ailara led with 13 kills and hit .480 after making one error in 25 attacks. She added an ace, six digs, and two blocks, one solo. Abryanna Cannon, back from double hip surgery, had five kills in 11 errorless swings. Alana Walker had 11 kills and hit .529, and setter Kiara McNulty had three kills, 30 assists, three blocks, and 10 digs …

Illinois opened with a 25-20, 23-25, 25-15, 25-23 victory at Iowa. Illinois, which hit .194, got 17 kills from Megan Cooney, who hit .324 and had three aces, nine digs, and three blocks, one solo. Ellie Holzman, who missed her freshman year with an injury, had 12 kills, two blocks, and seven digs in her Illini debut. Rylee Hinton had seven kills and seven blocks. Courtney Buzzerio had 12 kills but hit .028 for Iowa, which hit .084. Blythe Rients had nine kills and hit .300 to go with two aces and four blocks … 

Three players had 16 kills each as Ohio State grinded to a 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13 victory over visiting Maryland to give Jen Flynn Oldenburg her first victory as the coach at her alma mater. Gabby Gonzales had 16 kills, an ace, 13 digs, and a block. Jenaisya Moore had 16 kills, two aces, nine digs, and a block. And Emily Londot had 16 kills, five digs, and five blocks. Adria Powell added five kills and six blocks, and Mac Podraza had two kills in three tries, 51 assists, eight digs, and three blocks. 

Rainelle Jones led Maryland with 12 kills and six blocks. Erika Pritchard had 10 kills, 10 digs, and three blocks. Rebekah Rath had seven kills, three aces, and two blocks … 

Penn State’s trip to Michigan was postponed.

Auburn calls season off — The Tigers, who went 0-8 in the fall, winning just one set along the way, didn’t have enough players to continue this spring.

“Due to the result of opt-outs and injuries, the Auburn volleyball program will not compete during the spring semester portion of the 2020-21 season,” the school said in a news release. “Auburn, which played eight competitions in the fall under first-year head coach Brent Crouch, will fall below the minimum threshold required to compete this spring due to the number of total participants and available front row players.”

Click here for the complete news release.

Around the nation — Drake opened Missouri Valley Conference play with a four-set victory over Northern Iowa, breaking a 47-match losing streak to its in-state opponent. It was the first win for the Bulldogs in the series since 1996.

“This is a big win for our program,” said Drake coach Darrin McBroom, whose team finished 9-22 in 2019, 3-15 in the MVC that included getting swept twice by UNI. “I am really proud of how our players dealt with adversity and battled through the match.”

Emily Plock led Drake with 19 kills, hitting .326, to go with two assists, two aces, four blocks, and eight digs. Jada Wills had 16 kills and 13 digs, and Haley Bush had 13 kills and three blocks. Emily Holterhaus had 12 kills for UNI, which hit .110 … 

Old Dominion, playing the program’s first match, swept George Mason. The Monarchs, who hit .309, got 13 kills from Alessia Sgherza, who hit .407 and had two aces, three blocks, and nine digs … 

Dixie State made its Division I debut special with a sweep Southern Utah as Whitnee Nihipali had 12 kills and hit .500 to go with 13 digs, and Megan Treanor had 11 kills and 17 assists … 

Creighton swept Omaha despite hitting .198. Jaela Zimmerman led with 11 kills and six blocks. Naomi Hickman had six kills and also six blocks … The other Big East team in action, Marquette, swept Illinois State as Taylor Wolf, a transfer from Green Bay, led with 10 kills, three blocks, and 11 digs. Another transfer, superwoman graduate-student Savannah Rennie, who came from Cal, got four kills with no errors in nine attacks, had two aces, and three digs … 

Davidson of the Atlantic 10 hit .367 as it swept Jacksonville of the ASUN.  Hattie Rodriguez led with 13 kills … The A10’s VCU hit .320 and Jasmine Knight and Lauren King had 12 kills each as VCU swept Liberty of the ASUN. Knight had six blocks and King four …  

South Florida went five to beat North Florida. Freshman Agata Plaga led with 19 kills … Amanda Ifeanhy had 21 kills, hitting .529, as UTSA won 18-16 in the fifth to beat UTRGV in a battle of Texas schools. Veronkia Jandova added 19 kills and hit .455 … And then Texas A&M-Corpus Christi swept UTRGV as the Islanders hit .325 and Rachel Young led with 11 kills and three blocks … Tulane swept at Southern Mississippi as Lexie Douglas had 12 kills and four blocks … 

There were four-plus MAC matches, including the aforementioned Central Michigan-Ohio blackout affair.

Miami swept Buffalo while hitting .341 as eight players had kills, including two with seven each … Western Michigan won at Toledo in five despite hitting .122. Rachel Bontrager led with 16 kills and Maggie King had 15. Taylor Alt had 21 kills for Toledo … Bowling Green beat NIU in five as Katelyn Meyer had 20 kills, Katrin Trebichavska 17, and Petro Indova 16 … Ball State swept visiting Akron as assistant Fritz Rosenberg took over for head coach Kelli Miller Phillips, who is out on maternity leave. Kia Holder had 10 kills and four blocks, one solo … And Eastern Michigan at Kent State was canceled …

Lipscomb swept at Middle Tennessee as it hit .424 with 49 kills on 92 attacks with 10 errors. Lanie Wagner led with 11 kills and Meg Mersman and Megan Kuper had 10 each … Also in the state of Tennessee, Memphis beat Southern Illinois in four behind 20 kills by Sam Drewery, who had 14 digs …

North Dakota State beat visiting North Dakota in four in a battle of Summit League teams. Alexis Bachmeier led NDSU with 17 kills, four aces, two blocks, and 23 digs … Another Summit team, defending-champion South Dakota, got swept by Wichita State of the American Athletic Conference. Nicole Anderson had 13 kills for WSU and Sophia Rohling 12 while hitting .478 … Prairie View beat visiting Incarnate Word in five, 17-15 in the fifth, as freshman Malia Viernes led with 15 kills while hitting .441. Bethany Clapp had 19 kills for Incarnate Word … 

Weber State beat Eastern Washington in four as Rylin Adams had 15 kills and five blocks, one solo, and Dani Nay had 14 kills, three aces, and 10 digs … 

Missouri State beat Oral Roberts as Brooklyn Cink had 20 kills, four aces, a block, and 13 digs in the four-set victory … Hayden McGee had 14 kills, two aces, a solo block, and nine digs as Chattanooga swept North AlabamaTarlton swept Louisiana Tech behind 15 kills and 11 digs from Amber Strange … But then Tarlton lost to host SFA in four. Payton Cerny led with 14 kills and hit .407, while Ielan Bradley had 13 kills and hit .478 … 

Matches at Wofford were canceled. From the school’s news release: “Friday’s slate of matches, which included a neutral site match between Davidson and Jacksonville University at 1 p.m. followed by Wofford’s season-opener against Jacksonville at 5 p.m., at the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium have been canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, Wofford’s match at Clemson for Monday, January 25, at 6 p.m. has been postponed. At this time, no makeup date has been announced.”

Also postponed was Eastern Michigan at Kent State, and canceled were UAB vs. Kennesaw State and SMU-North Texas.

NCAA MEN
George Mason of the EIVA had to go the distance and then some in a 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 27-29, 17-15 win over visiting Ball State of the MIVA. Sam Greenslade led with 17 kills and hit .378, while Blake Reardon had 24 kills for Ball State … 

Penn State of the EIVA went to Ohio State of the MIVA and swept the Buckeyes with just 27 kills, 10 by Cal Fisher … 

Lewis of the MIVA swept visiting Queens as Ryan Coenen led with 15 kills. He hit .560 and had four aces, three blocks, and six digs … The other team in Chicago, Loyola, beat visiting Lincoln Memorial in four behind 18 kills by Cole Schlothauer, who had four blocks, and 17 kills from Luke Denton, who had two aces, three blocks, and eight digs.

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Cal’s Katarina Pantovic hits off the UCLA block/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

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