NCAA volleyball: Minnesota, Washington win, Michigan done for two weeks

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USF's Makayla Washington hits between North Florida's Bre Walp, left, and Julianna Askew/USF photo

Minnesota opened with a sweep, Washington bounced back, and Emily Juhnke had 27 kills for South Dakota on the first Saturday of the 2021 NCAA spring volleyball season.

But Penn State lost out on another match, Michigan was shut down completely, and San Diego is on hold.

Penn State, which already had to postpone its trip this weekend to Michigan, now won’t go to Ohio State on Tuesday, ether. Per the Penn State news release, there were “positive COVID-19 results among Penn State’s Tier 1 personnel. The institutions will work with the Big Ten Conference to identify rescheduling options.”

And Michigan announced it is halting all sports for up to 14 days, which means the Wolverines won’t play at Michigan State on Thursday and Saturday or at Northwestern the first weekend of February. 

The West Coast Conference was scheduled to get under way with San Diego playing back-to-back matches at Gonzaga, “as a result of a positive COVID-19 test result with in the San Diego program,” Gonzaga said in a news release. “Gonzaga is working with the West Coast Conference to attempt to reschedule the affected matches.” San Diego has also posptoned its matches against Portland February 2-3 and said in a news release the Toreros expect to return to practice February 3.

The highlights of Saturday’s action and notes follow, but first a look at Sunday’s schedule that includes one Big Ten match when Michigan State is back at Minnesota.

There are four matches in the Pac-12, with Oregon State back at Colorado, Arizona at Utah, Oregon at Washington State, and Cal at UCLA. 

Three Missouri Valley teams are in action as UNI goes to Creighton, Drake is home for South Dakota State, and Missouri State entertains Wichita State, which is now in the American Athletic but used to be in the Valley.

Western Kentucky opens its spring season with two home matches, against Mercer and Bellarmine.

The Big Sky continues with three conference matches, Sacramento State at Northern Arizona, Montana State at Northern Colorado, and Montana at Idaho State, and Idaho goes to Portland State. 

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 Saturday — Blake Reardon had 25 kills for Ball State — and the results follow.

BIG TEN — Minnesota hit .384 and opened with a sweep of visiting Michigan State as Adanna Rollins led with 15 kills in the 25-18, 26-24, 25-16 victory. Rollins had one error in 27 attacks and hit .519 and had nine digs. Taylor Landfair had 10 kills with one error in 20 swings to hit .450 and had four blocks, two solo. Stephanie Samedy had nine kills, two blocks, and five digs. Melani Shaffmaster had four kills with one error in eight attempts, 29 assists, two aces, and six digs.

Sarah Franklin had 11 kills for the Spartans, who hit .155. Michigan State had just one block … 

Nebraska swept Indiana again despite hitting .228 in the 25-21, 25-16, 25-19 victory. Lexi Sun had 11 kills, an ace, three blocks, and seven digs. Riley Zuhn and Madi Kubik had eight kills each. Both Lauren Stivrins and Callie Schwarzenbach had six blocks each. Indiana, which hit .048, got 12 kills from Breana Edwards and nine from Tommi Stockham.

“Last night we had some players play well and some others not and tonight, I think that flipped,” IU coach Steve Aird said. “The goal is to find some consistency where everyone is doing things at a high level. I was thrilled with where we played defensively. I still don’t think we’re anywhere close to where we need to be. But a huge difference with our performance between last night and tonight. Just our commitment to run down balls, dig balls. 

“Offensively, we’ve got a ways to go and everyone is battling things and we will keep looking at ways to be better offensively. You hold Nebraska to .228. They did whatever they wanted last night and tonight I thought we were a little better.”

Wisconsin made it back-to-back sweeps over visiting Purdue as Dana Rettke had 14 kills and seven blocks — four solo — in the 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 victory. Rettke had two errors in 29 swings and hit .414 and added an assist and four digs. Molly Haggerty had 12 kills, hit .409, and had 10 digs, and Devyn Robinson had seven kills with no errors in 15 attacks go with four blocks and three digs. Sydney Hilley had a kill, 36 assists, two blocks, and four digs.

“Overall we did a lot of positive things, it felt really good to get to play to matches, to get two matches on back-to-back days and I think everybody in the locker room felt pretty good about that and felt excited that we got that under our belt,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said.

“You’re going to learn a lot about the teams in that second match. There are adjustments that are being made.”

Purdue, which hit .110, got nine kills from Caitlyn Newton. The Boilermakers had just one block … 

Illinois made it back-to-back at Iowa, winning Saturday 25-20, 25-13, 19-25, 25-13 behind 15 kills by Ellie Holzman, who hit .355, and 13 by Megan Cooney. Taylor Kuper had three aces and a match-high 19 digs. Iowa, which hit .111, got 10 kills from Courtney Buzzerio, who added an ace, three digs, and six blocks …

Ohio State got its money’s worth this weekend as it beat Maryland in five again, this time 24-26, 25-19, 26-24, 24-26, 15-12 as freshman Emily Londot led with 17 kills, 11 digs, and a block. Jenaisya Moore had 15 kills, 13 digs, and three blocks, and Aria Powell had 13 kills and four blocks. Gabby Gonzales had 11 kills, four aces, 16 digs, and a block, and Lauren Witte had nine kills, four digs, and three blocks, one solo. Mac Podraza had three kills, 51 assists, two aces, nine digs, and two blocks. Her team hit .163. 

Maryland’s Erika Pritchard had 20 kills, 15 digs, and four blocks. Jada Gardner had 17 kills, six digs, and three blocks, and Rebekah Rath had 12 kills, two aces, six digs, and three blocks. Rainelle Jones had nine kills, hit .400, and had 11 blocks, one solo …

Northwestern swept visiting Rutgers again, this time 25-14, 25-15, 25-21. Temi Thomas-Ailara had 16 kills and hit .344 and had three digs and three blocks. Abryanna Cannon had 14 kills, hit .480, and added three aces, eight digs, and four blocks, one solo. Alana Walker had five kills and six blocks. Rutgers hit .095.

UW TOPS ASU — Washington was already reeling after getting knocked off by Arizona State on Friday. And then the Huskies went up 24-22 in the first set Saturday, but couldn’t close out, suddenly tied at 24. But Emma Calle served an ace and Lauren Sanders got a kill, and, well, considering that ASU won the next set, the Huskies needed that one. Ultimately, Washington won 26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23 to avoid going 0-2.

“Certainly I’m not sure every team or every program can turn around from a match like yesterday and make the necessary changes in order to be successful in the back-to-back,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said. 

“That started last night with lots of work and a real quick morning, a quick practice and a couple film sessions. So to come out and do a much better job in all facets of the game says a lot about the kids and people behind the scenes.”

Samantha Drechsel led Washington with a career-high 21 kills as she hit .391 and had two assists, two aces, three blocks, and also a career-best 18 digs. Sanders had 12 kills with no errors in 20 attacks and hit .600 and had six blocks. Claire Hoffman has 12 kills, three blocks, three aces, three assists, and nine digs. 

Iman Isanovic had 16 kills for Arizona State to go with three aces, a block, and nine digs. Marta Levinska had 13 kills, two blocks, and 10 digs. Ella Snyder had 29 digs.

“Tough loss, but we never really found our groove in tonight’s match,” ASU coach Sanja Tomasevic said. “We lost a serve receive battle and that’s the one you have to win if you want to win at this level. Washington did a great job adjusting to some of the things we did well last night, so props to them. They are a team that has experienced players with elite-eight kind of experience and you can’t teach that. 

“I am super proud of our team and the way we played against a great opponent on the road. This is a young group and we will have some amazing games and some not so great ones due to the lack of experience and discipline.”

Sam Drewry of Memphis hits against SIU’s Imani Hartfield/Matthew Smith photo

MISSOURI VALLEY — The highlight of the day for the MVC was Illinois State’s upset victory at Marquette of the Big East a day after getting swept by the Golden Eagles. Kaylee Martin had 22 kills, 12 digs, and four blocks — two solo — in the 25-13, 21-25, 25-17, 16-25, 16-14 up-and-down victory. Sarah Kushner had 10 kills, two aces, three blocks, and 20 digs. Taylor Wolf led Marquette with 11 kills to go with 17 assists and 16 digs. Savannah Rennie had seven kills, three assists, a dig, and six blocks, one solo … 

A day after upsetting Northern Iowa, Drake beat visiting Western Illinois of the Summit League to give coach Darrin McBroom his 100th career victory. Emily Plock led Drake with 17 kills as she hit .341 to go with two aces, two blocks, and four digs. Lindsey Pliapol had 13 kills and Jada Will 11 kills, three blocks, and 14 digs. Mariah Mitchell had 16 kills for WIU …  

Omaha of the Summit League dropped UNI to 0-2 with a four-set victory. Sadie Limback had 15 kills for Omaha as she hit .419 and had two blocks. McKenna Ruch had 14 kills. Emily Holthaus had 13 kills for Northern Iowa … 

Emily Juhnke had 27 kills for South Dakota, but Amelia Flynn had 19 kills for Missouri State as the Bears beat visiting South Dakota of the Summit League, 25-22, 13-25, 18-25, 26-24, 16-14. Juhnke added an assist, five aces, two blocks, and 16 digs … 

And Southern Illinois won in five at Memphis of the American Athletic Conference as five players had double-figure kills. Tatum Tornatta led the Salukis with 13 kills and three blocks, one solo, and Emma Baalman, Hannah Becker, and Imani Hartfield had 12 kills each. Sam Drewry had 19 kills for Memphis.

The ball is just out of the reach of Ohio libero Sam Steele against Central Michigan/Ohio photo

MAC-TION — The Mid-American Conference had five matches, all but one a sweep.

Start with the one that wasn’t, when Ball State beat visiting Akron in four behind 14 kills each by Marie Plitt and Natalie Mitchem. Plitt hit .480 and had an ace, a block, and four digs. Mitchem had four blocks, and Kia Holder added 12 kills and four blocks. Akron got 14 kills from Shelby Fulmer, who hit .303 and had an ace, a block, and two digs. Megan Kelly had 12 kills … 

Bowling Green’s Katelyn Meyer had 19 kills and hit .474 in a victory over NIU, which hit .106. Meyer had one error in 38 attempts. Petra Indrova added 16 kills and hit .625 after having one error in 24 swings … 

Western Michigan won at Toledo behind 20 kills by Rachel Bontrager, who hit .471. Maggie King had 12 kills and hit .550 after having one error in 20 attacks. Olivia Vance had nine kills for Toledo …

Miami swept Buffalo again as Gaby Harper had 11 kills and hit .346. Buffalo, which hit .385, got 12 kills from Abby Leigh and 11 from Emma Gielas, who hit .588 …

And then there was Central Michigan at Ohio. Their match was stopped in the second Friday when the power went out. CMU came back Saturday and won that one 25-20, 22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-13 as Anna Erickson had 17 kills and hit .341 and Savannah Thompson had 14 kills, an assist, an ace, 15 digs, and a solo block. It was CMU’s first win at Ohio since 1999.

Lauren Park led Ohio with 18 kills and three blocks, one solo, and Tia Jimerson had 15 kills and four blocks, one solo. 

“When you think about adversity you kind of think about it in one context, whether that’s COVID or contact tracing or sickness or things like that,” fifth-year CMU coach Mike Gawlik said. “You’re thrown a little bit of a curveball. A really, really strange situation for everybody.”

Then in the regularly scheduled Saturday rematch, Ohio hit .354 and swept CMU as Jimerson led with 17 kills while hitting .444 to go with six blocks, three solo. Park had 14 more kills and Mariana Rodrigues and Caitlin O’Farrell 11 each. Tria McLean had two kills, 49 assists, 10 digs, and a block. Thompson had 18 kills and hit .484 for CMU to go with three digs and three blocks, and Erickson had 14 kills, hitting .342.

AROUND THE NATION — The rest of the ACC is off, but Clemson played twice, opening spring play with a sweep of Western Carolina of the Southern Conference and then beat the Catamounts in four. The Tigers, who hit .349, got 11 kills and four blocks from Ava Pritchard, who hit .563 in the first match. In the nightcap, Solei Thomas led with 16 kills and 18 digs and Pritchard had 14 more kills and hit .407. Haley Multerer led WCU with 13 kills and hit .357 … 

Stephen F. Austin swept Louisiana Tech as four players — Ariana Pagan, Payton Cerny, Susan Gillett, and Leah Powell — had eight kills each … Four players had 10 or more kills as Tulane went across the Crescent City and won at New Orleans in five. Lexie Douglas led with 14 kills, two aces, a block, and 12 digs. Alexis Parrish had 18 kills and nine blocks — two solo — for UNO … 

Nicole Anderson had 14 kills, had two errors in 25 swings to hit .480, and had two blocks and seven digs as Wichita State swept Oral Roberts of the Summit League at Missouri State. The Shockers hit .345 …

Sticking with the Summit League, North Dakota State beat North Dakota for the second straight day in conference play. Five players had seven or more kills in the sweep, led by Ali Hinze, who had 12, hit .321, and had 10 digs … 

UTSA won the first set 30-28, but then Texas A&M-Corpus Christi came back to win in four behind 12 kills and two blocks each by Rachel Young and Chloe Simon. Hannah Foreschl had 10 kills and five blocks, two solo. Hannah Lopez led UTSA with 15 kills and 13 digs … 

In a Summit League match, North Dakota State swept visiting North Dakota for the Bison’s second win in two days over UND. Freshman Ali Hinze led with 12 kills and hit .321 … Weber State won a Big Sky match as it beat Eastern Washington in four as Rylin Adams had 18 kills and Dany Nay 15 …

Temple of the American Athletic  beat visiting Morgan State of the MEAC in five behind 18 kills by Miray Bolukbasi. Tyler Roberson had 15 kills for Morgan State … The AAC’s Houston lost in five at Rice of Conference USA. Nicole Lennon picked up right where she left off last year, leading with 18 kills for the Owls to go with seven blocks — four solo — and eight digs. Abbie Jackson had 20 kills for Houston and Kortlyn Henderson had 16 … And the AAC’s USF beat North Florida again, this time in four, as Makayla Washington had 13 kills, hit .458, and had six blocks. Teammate Marta Cvitkovic had 11 kills, three aces, and four blocks. Bre Walp had 10 kills and hit .368 for UNF … 

And Old Dominion is no longer unbeaten. After winning the first match in program history Friday, the Monarchs of Conference USA got swept by the Atlantic 10’s VCU. Lauren King led VCU, which hit .355, with 10 kills. She had no errors in 19 swings and hit .526. Alessia Sgherza led ODU with 12 kills.

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Ohio State gained a split with Penn State, sweeping a day after getting swept. Martin Lallemand led the Buckeyes of the MIVA with nine kills and three blocks. Jack Shampine had eight kills for Penn State of the EIVA, which hit .078 … 

Blake Reardon of Ball State went off for 25 kills as the Cardinals of the MIVA, a day after losing at George Mason in five, came back and beat Patriots in four. Reardon hit .391 and had two aces, five digs, and two blocks, one solo. Kaleb Jenness added 12 kills and five blocks, one solo. Jack Bolz had 15 kills and three blocks for Mason of the EIVA and Brad Creamer had 11 kills and six blocks .. 

Lewis of the MIVA hit .333 and swept Lincoln Memorial. Landon Krause had 18 kills and hit .577 for the Flyers to go with three blocks, and teammate Tyler Mitchum had 12 kills, hit .474, and had five blocks, one solo. Justin Sharfenaker had 11 kills and two blocks for LM …

Cole Schlothauer had 15 kills and Luke Denton 10 as Loyola of the MIVA swept Queens. Tristan Santoyo had 12 kills for Queens … Also, the MIVA’s Quincy swept Culver-Stockton as Michael Ladner and Omari Wheeler had 10 kills each … 

King of Conference Carolinas beat Saint Francis of the EIVA in five. Joshua Kim had 19 kills and hit .378, while SFU’s Joshua Blair had 23 kills and hit .556. Zac Cabral added 15 kills, hit .583, and had six blocks … In a league match, Limestone beat Belmont Abbey in four behind 14 kills by Francisco Salinger. Andrew Kohut had 20 for BA as he hit .378 and had three blocks … Also in Conference Carolinas, Erskine of Conference Carolinas lost to Ottawa University in five and then swept Lancaster Bible.

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