NCAA volleyball: Stanford tops Penn State, Illinois State stuns Illinois

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NCAA volleyball 9/14/2019-Lea Ungar-Cal Poly
Cal Poly's Lea Ungar makes a diving save for a block touch/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Stanford at Penn State was everything it was cracked up to be.

In the end, the top-ranked Cardinal (5-0) won 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 as Audriana Fitzmorris and Kathryn Plummer had 18 kills each in a match that had its share of twists and turns and — despite the Nittany Lions (5-1) incurring their first loss of the season — leaving Penn State confident it’s in the national-title hunt.

There were two major upsets Friday night in NCAA Division I volleyball.

The Missouri Valley’s Illinois State knocked off visiting No. 14 Illinois of the Big Ten, and for the second time in as many nights, this time at Boulder, unranked Colorado State of the Mountain West beat No. 19 Colorado of the Pac-12.

There were a few other results of note on an extremely busy Friday, including Ohio State of the Big Ten losing twice, to Tulane and Western Kentucky.

The recaps and notes follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule.

They’re back at it at Rec Hall at Penn State when Stanford plays eighth-ranked Minnesota and the home team plays depleted No. 10 Oregon.

The Big Ten schedule includes No. 2 Nebraska playing Loyola Marymount, while Illinois has a tough task when it takes on No. 7 Marquette of the Big East. Eighth-ranked Wisconsin plays at Clemson, Indiana plays No. 15 Kentucky, No. 23 Purdue plays at Lipscomb

The Pac-12 day includes No. 12 Washington playing Omaha and then the home team, No. 17 Creighton, which also plays Drake. No. 16 Utah opens the day at Pepperdine against No. 6 Pittsburgh and then plays Cal Poly, and No. 20 USC faces Howard and Villanova.

The Big 12 features No. 5 Baylor playing host to Tennessee and No. 3 Texas at Wichita State.

In the ACC, Pittsburgh later plays Pepperdine, No. 22 Louisville also plays Lipscomb, No. 25 Florida State is home for St. John’s and later Florida A&M.

The SEC slate includes No. 11 Florida playing Long Beach State and No. 21 Missouri facing UMKC.

Also Saturday, No. 18 Hawai’i tries to stay unbeaten when it plays host to UCLA, and No. 13 BYU plays VCU.

Click here for Friday’s results and the Saturday schedule at NCAA.com. And to watch any NCAA match that is being broadcast or streamed, go to the daily VolleyballMag.com TV listings.

NCAA volleyball 9/14/2019-Pepperdine-Tarah Wylie
Pepperdine senior middle Tarah Wylie gets a fifth-set kill/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Stanford tops Penn State: The final score wasn’t as simple as it looked. Penn State was hitting on all cylinders in the first set, going blow for blow with a team that hasn’t lost in more than a year and won two of the last three NCAA titles. The set was tied at 27 when the Nittany Lions thrilled a packed Rec Hall crowd with back-to-back kills by Jonni Parker and Kaitlyn Hord.

In the second set, Stanford, which has won 37 in a row, built a 10-4 lead and was ahead 20-12 when the wheels almost came off. Penn State staged a furious rally and pulled to 22-21. Then it was mostly all Plummer for Stanford. She had a kill to make it 23-21, an attack error to make it 23-22, and then another kill to put her team up 24-22. Hord’s kill got Penn State to 24-23 and then Plummer ended it with another kill.

Plummer, who hit .217, had two assists, a block and nine digs. Fitzmorris hit .341 and had three blocks.

“The way that they set up their defense left some openings that I tried my best to take advantage of it,” said Fitzmorris, who was particularly effective at hitting angle from her right-side position. “Jenna put the ball in really good places.”

Madeleine Gates had 10 kills with one error in 20 swings and hit .450 and added five blocks and a dig, and Kendall Kipp had 10 kills and two digs. Setter Jenna Gray had four kills in six errorless attacks, 45 assists, six digs, and seven blocks, one solo. And libero Morgan Hentz was her usual spectacular self, and had 22 digs, three aces and five assists.

“We knew that coming into this game that Penn State was really going to bring it,” Fitzmorris said. “We were really excited to play in this environment. It’s great practice for us early on in the season. It was a fun match.”

Hord led Penn State with 16 kills. She had one error in 29 attacks and hit .517 and had six blocks. Parker had 14 kills, assist, three blocks and a two digs, and Serena Gray added 10 kills and hit .368 to go with two blocks and three digs. Libero Kendall White had 22 digs and three assists, and setter Gabby Blossom had a couple of kills, 52 assists, and 10 digs.

In the first match, Minnesota (3-2) overpowered Oregon (2-2) 25-23, 25-18, 25-19 as Stephanie Samedy led with 14 kills, two aces, a block and 11 digs. Alexis Hart had 12 kills and hit .346 to go with two blocks and six digs.

Oregon, playing without injured right-side Willow Johnson and still waiting for the return of injured Taylor Borup, Brooke Nuneviller led with 12 kills and 13 digs. Ronika Stone had nine kills but hit .027 and had two blocks and five digs.

A note about the 2016 UCLA freshman class: Two of the five were in Rec Hall on Friday night, Gates for Stanford and Minnesota setter Kylie Miller, who had 38 assists, an ace and a blocks. Savvy Simo is still at UCLA and is the Bruins’ second-leading attacker this season. Torrey Van Winden, an All-American last year at Cal Poly, is still out with a concussion sustained at the end of last season. And Jamie Robbins, the fifth member of that class, left volleyball and has more than 126,000 followers on her Instagram account. She’s a swimsuit model.

Top 25: Illinois State is 6-1 after shocking visiting Illinois 25-16, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21 before 3,850 fans who saw the Redbirds score their biggest victory since beating No. 8 Notre Dame in 1996. It was the first time ISU beat Illinois since 2006.

Kaylee Martin led a balanced ISU attack with 12 kills. Monica Miller had 10 and Sydney Holt and Kendee Hilliard had nine each.

Jacqueline Quade led Illinois (2-3) with 17 kills and had three blocks and five digs. Megan Cooney had 10 kills …

On Thursday night, Colorado State beat Colorado in Fort Collins. On Friday, they played again, this time at CU and the Rams (7-1) came up big again, this time 11-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-7 to drop the Buffs to 5-2.

Breanna Runnels led with 16 kills, an ace, three blocks and 12 digs. Kirstie Hillyer had 13 kills, hit .524, and added an assist, a dig and three blocks. Jill Schneggenburger led Colorado with 10 kills …

Nebraska swept both Denver and High Point to improve to 6-0 …

Texas (4-1) beat BYU (6-2) in four behind 21 kills from Micaya White, who hit .347 and had an assist, two aces, four blocks and 14 digs. McKenna Miller had 15 kills, an ace, three blocks and five digs for BYU …

Pittsburgh is 8-0 after beating Cal Poly in four. Kayla Lund led with 20 kills and hit .349 and had three assists, an ace, a block and 14 digs. Layne Van Buskirk had 18 kills, hit .419, and had six blocks, one solo. And Stephanie Williams had 14 kills, an assist, 13 digs and five blocks, one solo. Maia Dvoracek led Cal Poly (3-4) with 13 kills, three aces and six digs …

Marquette (6-1) had to go a tough five to get past UCF. Allie Barber had 27 kills in the 29-27, 27-25, 23-25, 19-25, 16-14 victory and Hope Werch had 16, hit .400 and had 13 digs. UCF (5-2) got 21 kills from McKenna Miller, who had a ace, 12 digs and three blocks, one solo …

Wisconsin (3-2) swept South Carolina (5-4) behind 10 kills, two aces, five digs and four blocks from Dana Rettke … Florida (4-2) won twice, sweeping James Madison and beating USF in four … Washington (5-1) swept Drake as Avie Niece had nine kills, two aces, five digs and seven blocks …

Kentucky (6-2) won twice, sweeping Cleveland State before going four to beat Florida Gulf Coast. Leah Edmond had 19 kills and Madison Lilley had 55 assists and 13 digs against FGCU …

Utah is 8-0 after winning in four at Pepperdine. Dani Drews had 18 kills, five digs, and four blocks … Creighton (4-2) swept cross-town foe Omaha … Hawai’i (8-0) beat visiting Utah Valley in four. The Rainbow Wahine lost kills leader Jolie Rasmussen to an injury and freshman Hanna Helvig led with 17 kills, 17 digs and five blocks. Brooke Van Sickle had 11 kills, six digs, three aces, two assists and a block …

No. 20 USC (3-3) had to go the distance to beat visiting winless Yale 25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-11. The Women of Troy, again playing without injured Khalia Lanier, got 18 kills from Kalen Owes, who hit .348 and had an ace, 10 digs and four blocks …

Missouri (6-0) swept Austin Peay and then the No. 21 Tigers beat Northern Iowa in four. Kylie Deberg had 17 kills and hit .448 in the first match and then had 18 kills in the second …

No. 23 Purdue (3-1) beat No. 22 Louisville (5-2) 24-26, 25-16, 25-21, 25-18 in Nashville as Caitlyn Newton went off for 26 kills. She hit .316 and had four block and nine digs. Grace Cleveland had 11 kills, three blocks and four digs. Melanie McHenry had 15 kills for Louisville to go with an assist, an ace, 12 digs and two blocks, one solo …

No. 24 Michigan swept Navy and No. 25 Florida State did the same to Stony Brook.

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