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NCAA volleyball: Nebraska-Wisconsin and others postponed, BYU tops Waves, USD rolls on

COVID-induced postponements lead the NCAA Division I women’s volleyball news.

Thursday morning Wisconsin announced that its Friday-Saturday matches with Nebraska are off, and so, too, are the weekend matches featuring Michigan at Minnesota and Illinois at Michigan State. The SEC matches featuring Kentucky at Texas A&M were also postponed.

The Big Ten battles between top-ranked Wisconsin and No. 4 Nebraska was, of course, highly anticipated and both were scheduled for the Big Ten Network.

“We are disappointed for our players and fans that we won’t be able to play this weekend but the health and safety of all of the players is what’s most important,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said.

Meanwhile, on the court Wednesday, BYU bounced back and won its West Coast Conference match in five at Pepperdine, while San Diego stayed unbeaten with a sweep of San Francisco. 

On the men’s side, Pepperdine won its MPSF men’s match at USC, while Hawai’i won its Big West match at UC San Diego.

The Wednesday recaps follow, but first a look at Thursday’s schedule in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball that includes, finally, the Big 12.

There’s a big Pac-12 showdown when the only match of the day has first-place Utah playing at second-place Washington. 

Florida plays an SEC match at Tennessee. The matches for both teams were postponed last weekend.

In the Big 12, which played a full conference schedule in the fall, Texas plays its first spring match when it goes to UTSA of Conference USA, TCU goes to Tarelton of the WAC, and Texas Tech plays at Houston of the American Athletic. Baylor gets back in action Friday when North Texas visits, and Oklahoma goes to Texas Friday and Saturday. 

In NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball, there are two MPSF matches when Concordia plays at UCLA and BYU is at Grand Canyon. There’s a MIVA match with Purdue Fort Wayne at Loyola.

Want to watch a match? We’ve got the links in the TV & Streaming Listings.

NCAA volleyball 2/25/2021-Annie Benbow-USD volleyball
USD’s Annie Benbow chases a dig against San Francisco/Ed Chan,

WEST COAST — Things are tight at the top.

After getting swept by the Waves on Tuesday, BYU (8-1, 7-1) rebounded with a five-set victory at previously unbeaten Pepperdine (7-1). Erin Livingston led BYU with a career-high 16 kills in the 24-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory. She had an ace, a block, and three digs. Kate Grimmer had 14 kills, five blocks and a dig, and Taylen Ballard-Nixon had 12 kills, two assists, two aces, and 13 digs. Leilani Dodson had seven kills and seven blocks, one solo, and Kennedy Eschenberg had six kills and seven blocks, one solo.

Whitney Bower had eight kills in 11 errorless tries, 46 assists, three aces, four blocks, and a career-high 26 digs, but her team hit .183. Madi Allen had 25 digs and 10 assists. BYU had 94 digs, the most for the Cougars since 2016.

Pepperdine, which hit .181, got 20 kills from Shannon Scully, who had three aces, 23 digs, and five blocks, one solo. Rachel Ahrens had 17 kills, two blocks, and three digs. Meg Brown had 11 kills, five blocks, and three digs, and Rosie Ballo had nine kills with one error in 13 swings and five blocks. Isabel Zelaya had a kill, 52 assists, five blocks, and five digs, and Madison Shields had a career-high 34 digs, third most in program history … 

San Diego is 9-0 after its 26-24, 25-16, 25-23 win over visiting San Francisco (5-4). Katie Lukes led with 16 kills as she hit .317 and had a block and five digs. Roxie Wiblin had 14 kills, hit .333, and added an assist and 10 digs. McKenna Marshall had 13 kills for USF to go with two aces and eight digs … 

Saint Mary’s (4-6) swept visiting Portland (2-9, 1-9). Elena Baka led SMC, which hit .191, with 13 kills, two aces, and seven digs … Portland’s Mia Wesley had 12 kills, two aces, and seven digs … And Santa Clara (1-3) beat visiting Pacific (2-6). Julia Sangiacomo had 13 kills, hit .344, and had two assists, an ace, eight digs, and four blocks, one solo. Sophia Tulino had 11 kills with one error in 28 attacks, two assists, three aces, three blocks, and three digs. Kaelyn Saler and Riley Patterson had 10 kills each for Pacific.

AROUND THE NATION — UT Martin (5-1) is off to its best Ohio Valley Conference start since 2002 after beating visiting Belmont (0-6) twice on Wednesday.

UT Martin won in four in the opener as it hit .344 and Addison Conley led with 16 kills, hitting .538. Kenzie Hinshaw and Karen Scanlon had 10 kills each. Hinshaw had one error in 21 attacks, 38 assists, and a dig. Scanlon had three assists, 17 digs, and four blocks, one solo. Laura Snowman led Belmont with 13 kills, two aces, three digs, and three blocks, one solo.

In the nightcap, another four-setter, Scanlon led with 17 kills as she hit .350 and had three assists, four aces, three blocks, and 15 digs. Hinshaw had eight kills, 33 assists, a block, and 14 digs. Kristen Clemons led Belmont with 18 kills and hit .429. Carly Mason had three kills, 48 assists, an ace, two blocks, and nine digs …

Wofford (5-2) won its Southern Conference match in five at Western Carolina (3-6, 3-4) as four players had 11 or more kills in the 17-25, 28-26, 18-25, 25-16, 19-17 victory and Abbey Richman had 32 digs, five assists, and two aces. Bella Zeman led with 17 kills, a block, and seven digs. Sarah Barham had 14 kills, hit .387, and had six digs and seven blocks, four solo. Meghan Yaffa had 11 kills and Riley Coonan had 11 kills and five blocks, three solo. WCU’s Merry Gebel had 20 kills and 17 digs. Julia Gardon had 13 kills, two blocks and seven digs, and Makenzie Robinson had 10 kills, an assist, an ace, two digs, and four blocks, two solo …

Tarleton (6-7) of the WAC swept at the SWAC’s Prairie View (4-2) behind 12 kills each by Hali’A Swartman-Hogan, who had five blocks, and Lauren Kersey, who had three blocks. Lorin McNeil had seven kills with no errors in 11 attacks and six blocks.

NCAA volleyball 2/25/2021-Jakob Thelle-Hawaii men's volleyball
Hawai’i’s Jakob Thelle goes over on two at UC San Diego/Ed Chan,

MEN — Pepperdine (5-2) hit .348 and won 25-23, 25-17, 30-28 at USC (1-3). Noah Dyer had 14 kills and hit .414 for the Waves and added six digs. Jacob Steele had 12 kills, hit .333, to go with two digs and a block. Spencer Wickens had nine kills, hit .333 and added three assists, an ace, nine digs, and a block. Billy Fauntleroy had 22 kills while hitting .417 and added six digs for USC …

Hawai’i hit .432 and improved to 3-0 with a sweep at UC San Diego, which was opening its Big West season. The Rainbow Warriors had 40 kills with eight errors in 74 attacks. Rado Parapunov led with 12 kills and hit .550 after having one error in 20 swings. He had two aces, three digs, and nine blocks, two solo. Colton Cowell had 11 kills, hit .375, and had an assist, an ace a block, and four digs. Patrick Gasman had six kills with no errors in eight attacks and six blocks. Kyle McCauley led UCSD with 10 kills and two blocks …

Both Conference Carolinas matches went five despite a player on each of the losing teams getting 23 kills.

King (6-4, 3-2) beat visiting North Greenville (5-2, 3-2) despite hitting .092. Joshua Kim led with 16 kills, a block and a dig, and Diego Marcano had 11 kills, an assist, four blocks and nine digs. North Greenville’s Jackson Gilbert had 23 kills,hit .320, and had an ace, four blocks, and six digs. Brandon Baker had 10 kills, hit .421, and had seven blocks, and two digs … Mount Olive (6-1, 5-1) beat visiting Barton (5-4, 3-3) behind 20 kills from Tobi Azeez, who hit .333 and had two assists, three aces, 13 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Jarrod Ferguson had 11 kills, nine assists, an ace, six digs, and four blocks, one solo. Barton’s Adrian Iglesias had 23 kills, a block, an 12 digs. Nathan Chapparo had 19 kills, hit .333, and added two assists, a block, and 11 digs. Moses Kresch had 22 digs and 58 assists to go with a kill and an ace.

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NCAA volleyball 2/25/2021-Colton Cowell-Hawaii men's volleyball
Hawai’i’s Colton Cowell hits against UCSD’s Logan Clark, left, and Wyatt Harrison/Ed Chan,