ESPN did NCAA women’s volleyball a solid Wednesday and, in turn, No. 3 Louisville and No. 13 Kentucky repaid the favor by competing to the end through a five-set match that was worthy of prime time on the Worldwide Leader’s main channel.
Louisville won 20-25, 25-15, 26-24, 24-26, 15-11 in what, hopefully, is not the last time we’ll see the network adjust its schedule and put college volleyball on ESPN.
Also Wednesday, Illinois won at Eastern Illinois, K-State won at Kansas City, and New Mexico is 8-1 afer beating Northern Arizona.
The big number of the night went to Prairie View’s Kylee Owens, who had 28 kills in a win over Lamar.
Thursday’s schedule continues with more intriguing and some in-state matchups as we head into the final weekend of the pre-conference season.
Two Big Ten teams are in action as sixth-ranked Minnesota is home for No. 22 Pepperdine and No. 10 Purdue is home for Northern Kentucky.
Four Pac-12 teams play Thursday, none of them ranked as Utah is home for No. 15 BYU, Cal goes to Saint Mary’s, Colorado is at Colorado State, USC is home for NM State, and UCLA goes to San Diego State.
Four ACC teams are on the slate, highlighted by a showdown between No. 7 Georgia Tech at No. 24 Arkansas. NC State plays Georgia at Arkansas, Virginia Tech is home for Norfolk State, and Duke plays host to Winthrop.
Other SEC teams in action include Ole Miss playing both Florida A&M and South Alabama and Mississippi State facing Bowling Green.
Top-ranked Texas is home for Houston and the other ranked Big 12 team, No. 14 Baylor, is home for Tulsa. Also in the Big 12, West Virginia is home for Merrimack and Binghamton, Texas Tech entertains SMU, and No. 23 Kansas is home for Lipscomb. Also at Kansas, UCF plays Omaha.
You can find the viewing links on the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings page.
LOUISVILLE TOPS KENTUCKY: The Cardinals improved to 8-1 as Claire Chaussee confounded Kentucky all match long and led with 16 kills. She hit .371 and had two blocks and six digs. Anna DeBeer had 15 kills, an ace, four blocks and 13 digs. Amaya Tillman had 11 kills with two errors in 22 attacks, three blocks and two digs. Aiko Jones had eight kills, an assist, two aces, two blocks and four digs and Cara Cresse had eight kills, hit .357, and had two digs and seven blocks. Raquel Lazaro had three kills, 46 assists, three aces, 14 digs and three blocks, one solo. Her team hit .299. Elena Scott had 14 digs, five assists and two aces.
Kentucky (5-3) got 19 kills from Adanna Rollins, who had three aces, a block and 10 digs. Erin Lamb had 14 kills and Reagan Rutherford had 13 kills, an assist, two blocks and 12 digs. Azhani Tealer had 10 kills, four aces and two blocks, one solo, and Elise Goetzinger had seven kills with one error in 15 attacks, a dig and four blocks. Emma Grome had three kills in five errorless tries, 50 assists, an ace, two blocks and 15 digs. Her team hit .231. Eleanor Beavin had 16 digs and nine assists.
There were 3,756 in Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum, the seventh-largest crowd in program history.
AROUND THE NATION: No. 25 Illinois (5-3) traveled 50 miles or so south to Eastern Illinois (5-6) and came away with a hard-fought 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 sweep. Illinois, playing in Charleston for the first time since 1995, attracted the largest crowd in EIU history, 2,075. Illinois, which hit .174 but won its fourth in a row, got 14 kills from Jessica Nunge, who hit .367 and had four aces, two blocks and four digs. Caroline Barnes had 21 digs, a kill in her only try, and an assist. EIU hit .059. Kaitlyn Flynn had nine kills, an ace, a block and seven digs, and Ireland Hieb had three kills and eight blocks, one solo …
Kansas State improved to 9-2 with a sweep at Kansas City. Elana Baka led with 10 kills, an ace, six digs and five blocks, two solo …
New Mexico is 8-1 after beating Northern Arizona in four. Kaitlynn Biassou led with 23 kills, three assists, two aces, two blocks and 11 digs. Alena Moldan had 27 digs, a kill in her only try, 10 assists and an ace. Taylor Jacobsen had 22 kills for NAU …
James Madison swept at High Point. Danielle Nathan had 13 kills, nine digs and a block … Chattanooga beat UNC Ashville in four as four players had 11 or more kills. Kate Neill had 13 kills, hit .385, and added three digs and six blocks … Prairie View beat Lamar in five behind 28 kills by Kylee Owens, who had three aces and a block. Skyla Childs had 28 digs and six assists … Avery Luoma had 23 kills with two errors in 39 attacks as Princeton beat Rider in four. Luoma also had 16 digs. Morgan Romano had 15 kills for Rider and hit .387 … Kennesaw State swept UAB as Dani Ballou had 12 kills, hit .346, and added three digs and four blocks … Lafayette swept St. Peter’s behind nine aces and 15 kills from Abby Nieporte, who hit .357 and had an assist, seven digs and a block.
MONTANA ST. COACH TAKES LEAVE: Sixth-year Montana State coach Daniel Jones has taken a leave of absence for “personal reasons,” he said in a unversity news release. His team is 3-6 and coming off a weekend in which the Bobcats went 2-1 in a tournament at North Dakota.
The next Montana State match is at home Thursday evening against Boise State and sixth-year associate head coach Cole Aiazzi will take over.