Who’s not playing took center stage in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball when two of the most anticipated match-ups of the spring 2021 season were called off.

Big Ten-leading Wisconsin, at 10-0 the only unbeaten team in the conference, was set to play host Thursday to third-place Minnesota (11-1). But, as Wisconsin said in a news release, the match “has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and injuries on the Golden Gopher team. The decision was based on guidance from the University of Minnesota medical staff and student-athletes available to participate.”

Wisconsin hasn’t played since February 21 after having matches with Nebraska, Iowa, and Northwestern postponed.

In the Pac-12, league-leading Washington State was set to play host to second-place Washington on Friday and then they were to meet Sunday at Washington. Those matches were canceled.

“Due to recent COVID-19 protocol developments within the Washington State volleyball program, the Boeing Apple Cup Series matches between the Huskies and Cougars scheduled for March 19 and March 21 have been canceled,” Washington’s news release said. “The games will not be rescheduled.”

There was volleyball Wednesday, including Nebraska’s Big Ten sweep at Iowa, BYU won a big West Coast Conference match at San Diego, and North Texas of Conference USA swept Texas Tech of the Big 12. 

Maddie Lindsay of Hartford had 47 kills total in two wins over Binghamton.

Among the Division I-II men, Grand Canyon swept its MPSF match against USC.

Wednesday’s recaps follow.

Thursday’s schedule includes an intriguing match that has Baylor of the Big 12 at Houston of the American Athletic Conference. In the WCC, Loyola Marymount plays at Pepperdine.

One team that won’t play any more this spring is Virginia. The school announced this Wednesday:

“Virginia director of athletics Carla Williams announced today (March 17) the Cavaliers’ volleyball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the review of a personnel matter.

As a result of the coaching staff not being available, UVA’s upcoming home matches against Florida State on Friday, March 19 and versus Louisville on Sunday, March 21 have been canceled.

There will be no further comment until the review is complete.”

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

NCAA women's volleyball 3/18/2021-Kennedy Eschenberg-BYU volleyball
BYU’s Kennedy Eschenberg blocks the overpass while USD’s Isadora Tercariol tries to set/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

WOMEN — Nebraska (11-2) swept its Big Ten match at Iowa (3-12) 25-19, 25-21, 25-11 as the Huskers hit .356 and had five players with seven or more kills. Lexi Sun led with 14 as she hit .333 and had two aces, a block, and 12 digs. Madi Kubik had 10 kills, hit .364, and had two assists, a block, and six digs. Lauren Stivrins had eight kills in 13 errorless swings, an ace, three blocks, and two digs. Iowa hit .119 … 

BYU (11-2) tightened things at the top of the West Coast Conference as it pulled even in the win column with its 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-17 victory at San Diego (11-2, 11-1). Taylor Ballard-Nixon led BYU with 18 kills as she hit .484 after having three errors in 31 attacks. She had an ace, seven digs, and three blocks, one solo. Kennedy Eschenberg had 11 kills with two errors in 20 attacks to hit .450 and had three blocks, and Leilani Dodson had nine kills with two errors in 16 swings, two aces, two blocks, and five digs. Roxie Wiblin had 18 kills for USD and had an assist, two aces, a solo block, and 10 digs. Katie Lukes added 11 kills, an ace, and three digs … 

North Texas (9-9, 4-6) of Conference USA not only swept visiting Texas Tech (7-13, 5-11) of the Big 12, it beat the Red Raiders for the first time since 1978. UNT had lost 16 in a row to Texas Tech. Rhett Robinson led with 12 kills, two blocks, and a dig. Reagan Cooper had 19 kills for Texas Tech … 

Northern Colorado (12-3, 11-3) played host to Northern Arizona (9-6, 9-5) twice on Wednesday and came away with a five-set win and then a sweep. Rachel Hickman had 17 kills and hit .350 in the opener with an assist, two aces, five blocks, and eight digs. NAU’s Taylor Jacobsen had 17 kills, two assists, 13 digs, and two blocks, one solo. In the nightcap, Taylor Muff led UNC with 15 kills, a block, and six digs. Hickman had 12 more kills and four blocks … 

In the ASUN, Jacksonville (3-11, 1-9) got its first conference win of the spring when it beat visiting Stetson (5-6, 4-6) in five as Sydney Bolding had a career-high 21 kills and eight blocks, two solo. Five Dolphins had 11 or more kills. Bolding had three errors in 32 attacks and hit .563. Jenna McNamara had 14 kills and Autumn DeSantis had 12 kills and five blocks, one solo. Stetson’s Annabelle Standish had 14 kills, an ace, eight digs, and three blocks, one solo, and Chelcie Spence had 23 digs, two assists, and two aces … 

Hartford (6-0, 4-0) beat Binghamton (0-7, 0-6) twice in an America East twinbill. Maddie Lindsay had 21 kills with one error in 34 attacks in the opener and 23 more in the nightcap, as she had four errors in 41 attacks … 

Fordham (4-1, 4-0) swept visiting Rhode Island (3-7, 2-3) in the Atlantic 10. Whitley Moody led with 17 kills as she had two errors in 36 attacks. She had four blocks and nine digs … 

In the Northeast Conference, Bryant won twice at Fairleigh Dickinson and LIU and Central Connecticut split two matches. FDU’s Victorie Demmene had 20 kills in the first match and 22 in the second. In Central Connecticut’s five-set win over LIU, Emma Henderson had 24 kills, 19 digs, an assist, an ace, and a block, and LIU’s Karolina Nova had 26 kills, 10 digs, and five blocks, one solo … 

In the SWAC, Grambling (5-7, 4-5) swept visiting Mississippi Valley (0-6). Linzy Woods and Rayven McKenzie had six kills each.

MEN — Grand Canyon (3-4) won in three at USC (2-8) as the Lopes hit .362 in the MPSF match. Four players had seven or more kills, including Camden Gianni with eight. He hit .429 and had an assist, eight aces, and five blocks. Christian Janke had seven kills, an assist, three aces, two blocks, and two digs, one solo. Billy Fauntleroy had 10 kills for USC … 

In two matches involving Conference Carolinas teams, North Greenville swept visiting Limestone and Belmont Abbey did the same to Tusculum. 

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