Stanford finally gets indoors, to play February 5 at Arizona; NCAA recaps, news and notes

Bea Whitling of Idaho puts up the block against Portland State's Julia Haynie/Scott Larsen photo

Stanford is back!

Not only were the Cardinal going to practice indoors Tuesday for the first time since March, the two-time-defending NCAA champions will now go to Arizona on February 5 to open their Pac-12 season.

Stanford, which has only practiced outdoors on grass up to this point, will play the Wildcats that Friday and then again on Sunday, February 7.

Things progressed when the state of California relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions.

“There are some rules that we have to follow that are different, quarantine stuff and things like that,” fifth-year Stanford coach Kevin Hambly told us Tuesday. “But we’re going to be allowed to practice and train.

“I’m just relieved that the county (Santa Clara) freed us up so we could go compete. We have a shot and will try to make a run at the (NCAA) tournament.”

Stanford was originally scheduled to open the season this past weekend at USC, but postponed. And the school announced that the Cardinal would not play at home this weekend for Colorado, either. We wrote about it last week.

“We had to still cancel that because it’s too quick for us to turn it around,” Hambly said. “But we are playing at Arizona and we have 10 days to get ready, essentially, before we leave for our trip.

“It’s a good amount of time for us to get indoors and hopefully play volleyball. We’re a very good grass-court team right now. So we’re happy to get indoors.”

Stanford has just one senior, veteran outside Meghan McClure.

“I’m just relieved for McClure,” Hambly said. “Everybody, but really McClure. It’s her last shot at it. I’m just happy we’re going to be able to play and have enough time as long as everything goes in the right direction and

Arizona, which opened 0-2 this past weekend at Utah, is home this weekend for Washington.

Stanford Volleyball represents the best the Pac 12 conference has to offer,” veteran Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. “We look forward to our upcoming match”

Included here is Tuesday’s NCAA Division I women’s schedule, the AVCA polls, and recaps and highlights from all of Monday’s women’s action and one men’s match.

NCAA Tuesday — The West Coast Conference gets underway a couple of days later than expected because the San Diego-at-Gonzaga matches were postponed Sunday and Monday.  For that matter, Tuesday’s match between Saint Mary’s at Pacific was also called off. But San Francisco is going to Pepperdine, BYU is at Portland, and Santa Clara heads to Loyola Marymount.

The Horizon League has five matches on tap, rematches from Monday, including Cleveland State at Green Bay, Wright State at Milwaukee, Oakland at Robert Morris, Purdue Fort Wayne at UIC, and IUPUI at Youngstown State.

Other matches scheduled for Tuesday include Dixie State at NM State, FAU at UCF, Tarleton at Grand Canyon, and Louisiana Tech at Northwestern State.

AVCA WOMEN’S POLL — Not suprisingly, Wisconsin remained No. 1. Idle Texas, Stanford, and Kentucky stayed 2-3-4, and Nebraska is still No. 5. For that matter, idle Baylor stayed No. 6, Minnesota is still No. 7, but Washington dropped four spots to No. 11. And even though Hawai’i isn’t playing this spring, the Rainbow Wahine still came in at No. 23 because voters can vote for who they want.

Click here for the complete AVCA top 25. 

AVCA MENS POLL — Just a handful of matches have been played, but nonetheless there is a first-week top 15. And there was one change in the top five. BYU is still No. 1, followed by Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara, but Lewis, which won three times, moved up into a tie with Long Beach State, which hasn’t played and stayed at No. 4.

Neither Pepperdine, No. 7 last week, nor UC San Diego, a notch behind, have played. But now they’re tied for seventh. 

Click here for the complete AVCA men’s poll.

AVCA MEN’S POW — It’s Tyler Mitchem of Lewis. The senior middle averaged 2.9 kills per set while hitting .610 in three victories for the Flyers. He also averaged 1.9 blocks. The AVCA will announce the women’s player of the week on Wednesday.

BIG SKY — Idaho bounced back at Portland State and came away with a five-set victory, 17-15 in the fifth, as seven players got kills. Portland State won the first two sets and then hung on for the victory, breaking a 15-15 tie on kills by Bea Whitling and Kennedy Warren. Warren led with 12 kills and had an assist, two aces, six blocks, and 12 digs. Nicole Ball had nine kills and 11 blocks, one solo, and Whitling and Allison Munday had seven kills each. Gabby Hollins had 12 kills and Jasmine Powell and Julia Haynie 11 each for Portland State … 

Idaho State gained a split with Montana by sweeping the Griz a day after losing in five. Kennedee Tracy led with 11 kills and hit .667 after having one error in 15 swings. Amethyst Harper had 12 kills for Montana … 

Rachel Hickman had 17 kills and hit .455 as Northern Colorado also gained a split by sweeping visiting Montana State. Hickman also had four blocks, one solo. Kira Thomsen had nine kills for Montana State … 

And Sacramento State also got the split, winning in four at Northern Arizona as Kalanai Hayes had 11 kills and Caitlin Volkmann and Bridgette Smith had nine each. Taylor Jacobsen led NAU with 14 kills as she hit .333 and had two aces, two blocks, and eight digs.

MISSOURI VALLEY — Evansville opened with a sweep at Indiana State as Alondra Vazquez had 13 kills, a block, and 15 digs, and Melanie Feliciano had 11 kills, hit .300, and had 14 digs. Madeline Williams led Indiana State with 13 kills … 

Loyola won in five at Valparaiso as Sara Murczek had 16 kills, 14 digs, and two blocks, and Emily Banitt had 12 kills, an ace, 12 digs, and two blocks. Valpo hit .000. Bella Ravotto had 12 kills and 12 digs to go with two blocks … 

Illinois State swept visiting Bradley as Kaylee Martin led with 10 kills, a solo block, and six digs.  Kaitlyn Prondzinski had five kills and six blocks, and Nicole Lund had two kills and 10 blocks, two solo. Bradley, which hit .066, got 11 kills and 15 digs from Hannah Thompson.

HORIZON LEAGUE — There were five matches as the conference got play under way.

Oakland won in five at Robert Morris as Brittany Welch had 16 kills and three blocks, Kennedy Dolmage had 16 kills, and Jamie Walling had 14 kills, four blocks and eight digs. Abby Ryan had 12 kills for Robert Morris and Alyson Londot had 11 …

Cleveland State swept at Green Bay as Hannah Greene, who had three blocks, and Emily DeGeorge, who had four blocks, had eight kills each. Alexandra Zakutney had 11 kills for Green Bay … 

Youngstown State won the first set 31-29 and then went on to win in five against visiting IUPUI. Josie Brum had 18 kills, three assists, 10 digs and four blocks for the Penguins, and Amie Beaupre had nine kills, an ace, three digs and four blocks. Madeline Haines had 20 kills for IUPUI to go with three assists, five aces, 16 digs and two blocks … 

UIC hit .400 and beat visiting Purdue Fort Wayne in four as four players had 12 or more kills. Paola Santiago had 15 kills, hit .314, and had an assist, four blocks, and 10 digs. Zahria Woodard had 14 kills and hit .481, Becca Oldendorf had 13 kills with no errors in 21 swings and six blocks — one solo — and Mikala Henderson had 12 kills and hit .417. Katie Crowe had 15 kills and 14 digs for PFW and Madelyn Wurster had 13 kills, hit .391, and had two blocks …

Wright State won in three at Milwaukee, which hit .030. Teddie Sauer led Wright State with eight kills, two aces, a dig and five blocks. 

AROUND THE NATION — Grand Canyon opened with a sweep of visiting Tarleton as Yeny Murillo and Ashley Lifgren had 15 kills each. Lifgren hit .342 and had two blocks and 16 digs. Amber Strange had 11 kills and 10 digs for Tarleton, which hit .045 … NM State beat visiting Dixie State in four as Victoria Barrett had 18 kills, an ace, four blocks, and eight digs. Katie Birtcil had 11 kills and hit .476 after having one error in 21 attacks,  and Savannah Davidson had 10 kills, an ace, a block, and 14 digs … Prairie View won a SWAC match with a sweep at Arkansas Pine Bluff. Kimira Coffee had nine kills and three blocks, one solo, for PVU, and Melanie Arenas had eight kills and 12 blocks. Zyonn Smith had 14 kills and 10 digs for UPPB.

PEPPERDINE MEN WIN — Pepperdine’s Spencer Wickens had 23 kills as the Waves opened their MPSF season with a five-set MPSF victory over visiting Concordia. Wickens, who hit .541,  also had two assists, two aces, a block, and 13 digs. Akin Akinwumi had 15 kills, four aces, 11 digs, and four blocks, two solo. 

Raymond Barsemian led Concordia with 21 kills, an ace, two blocks, and 10 digs. Jordan Hoppe had 13 kills, hit .317 after having no errors in 41 swings, and had five digs and two blocks, one solo. 

The same teams play Wednesday at Concordia.

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