NCAA volleyball: No Sunday upsets, big wins for Elon, TCU, Syracuse, Michigan State

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Elon's HaylieClark sets Jenn Krzeminski against Wake Forest/Elon photo

There were no upsets Sunday in NCAA Division I volleyball, which, considering how this young season has gone, might be news in itself. But there were definitely some results worth noting on a day when there were just 10 matches played.

For example, Elon beat a power-five team for the first time when it defeated Wake Forest in five, TCU got past Auburn in five, Syracuse won in a sweep at Kansas, and Michigan State swept North Carolina. 

Three ranked teams were in action as No. 7 Marquette grinded past upstart Illinois State in a long five, No. 21 Missouri swept Boise State and No. 24 Michigan did the same to Eastern Michigan.

The weekly AVCA Coaches Poll comes out later Monday and with all the stunning results Saturday and Sunday, look for a top 25 that is nothing like the week before.

And wait until you read about the record-setting Saturday by Evansville’s Melanie Feliciano.

There are two matches Monday as Abilene Christian of the Southland Conference goes to the Big 12’s Texas Tech, and New Orleans of the Southland goes to Jackson State of the SWAC.

Ten unbeatens: Thanks to the NCAA for the stat. After three weekends in, and with Stanford getting upset by Minnesota on Saturday, just 10 teams remain unbeaten, Baylor, Cal, Coastal Carolina, Hawai’i, Memphis, Missouri, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris and Temple.

Top 25: Marquette of the Big East (6-2) had to go the distance to win at Illinois State of the Missouri Valley (7-2) as Allie Barber had 25 kills in the 25-21, 18-25, 18-25, 25-16, 21-19 victory. 

Marquette — playing its third five-setter in a row — faced three match points, the last at 19-18, before Barber had a kill, her only ace of the match, and then Gwyn Jones ended it with a block of ISU’s Monica Miller.

Barber got her kills in 58 swings and hit .293 and had two digs. Kaitlyn Lines had nine kills, hit .300, and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and four digs. And Jones had eight kills, three digs and that was one of her four blocks. 

“It was another gutsy performance,” Marquette coach Ryan Theis said. “Allie Barber decided if we were going to stay for five-sets we were going to win. 

“Hope (Werch) and Martha (Konovodoff) were rock stars this weekend and never took a break. We played 15 sets against great competition and it will make use better. It’s been a tough seven-match stretch since playing BYU and I am pleased to come out at 7-2 overall.  We are all looking forward to some rest!”

Kaylee Martin had 20 kills to lead Illinois State — which was coming off its upset of Illinois and a win over UCF on Saturday — and aded an assist, an ace, seven digs and four blocks, one solo. Sarah Kuschner had 15 kills, an assist, a block and 10 digs. 

The SEC’s Missouri (8-0) cruised past Boise State of the Mountain West (6-3) 25-15, 25-19, 25-16 as Leketor Member-Meneh, who hit .529, and Kylie Deberg had 10 kills each. Boise hit .082

“It was a great weekend all-around,” said Missouri coach Joshua Taylor, whose team beat Austin Peay and Northern Iowa on Friday and Kansas City on Saturday. “We were so excited to be back home in front of our great fans and I think we delivered four really good performances on the court. 

“I was pleased with our consistent offensive attack these past four matches. Defensively, I think our block stepped up as well. We had three girls averaging over a block per set. Looking ahead, we have a big-time weekend at Baylor coming up. We’re going to continue to train hard and get ready for two big matches.”

Michigan of the Big Ten (6-2) swept the MAC’s Eastern Michigan (3-5) 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 as Paige Jones had 15 kills, hit .364, and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and 11 digs. Sydney Wetterstrom had 11 kills, eight digs and an ace and a block.

Around the nation: Michigan State of the Big Ten (6-1) overpowered visiting North Carolina of the ACC (1-6) 25-21, 25-21, 25-13. Alyssa Chronowski led with 10 kills, hitting .333, and had three blocks and an a dig. Rebecka Poljan had seven kills with no errors in 14 attacks to hit .500 and had an ace, a dig and eight blocks. UNC hit .041.

“We started out pretty slow and kind of flat – we rebounded to work out those issues and got ourselves into a rhythm and work our way out of it,” Michigan State coach Cathy George said. “That’s a pretty important takeaway from today, because that’s a huge piece of being successful in the Big Ten, is learning how to work your way out of trouble and getting yourself back on track.  

“We’ll get ready for our final non-conference matches next weekend, and the style of teams we will see next week are all different.  It will be a good way to wrap up our non-conference schedule, testing ourselves against different styles and getting ready for a pretty challenging start to our Big Ten season where we play five of our first six on the road.”

TCU of the Big 12 (5-3) rallied for a 25-21, 19-25, 19-25, 26-16, 16-14 win over visiting Auburn of the SEC (4-4) as Audrey Nalls led with 17 kills — four in the fifth set — an ace, a block and six digs. Julia Adams had 12 kills, two digs and four blocks, one solo, and Katie Clark had 11 kills. 

Enija Bidzane led Auburn with 14 kills, Chesney McClellan and Tatum Shipes had 12 each and Val Green added 10 kills and four aces …

Elon of the Colonial (4-5) beat previously unbeaten Wake Forest of the ACC (7-1) 25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 15-13 and marked the first time the Phoenix beat a school from a power-five conference since it defeated NC State in 2004. Leah Daniel led Elon with 20 kills and and added an ace, five digs, and three blocks. Nori Thomas had 17 kills  and hit .382) and had two digs and three blocks, one solo. Kellyn Trowse had 12 kills, an ace and 14 digs. Peyton Suess led Wake Forest with 18 kills, an assist, an ace, eight digs and three blocks, and Caroline Kuhn had 17 kills with no errors in 29 attacks to hit .586 …

Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley (4-7) beat  Austin Peay of the Ohio Valley (1-9) behind 17 kills by Karlie Taylor, who added an ace, two assists, nine digs and two blocks, one solo. Chloe Stitt had 20 kills for the Govs … 

Syracuse of the ACC (1-4) broke through with a 25-21, 31-29, 25-12 win over  Kansas of the Big 12 (4-4). Marina Markova led with 19 kills, four aces, five digs and two blocks … 

And George Washington of the Atlantic 10 evened its record at 5-5 with a 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 sweep of the America East’s Albany (2-8). Paty Valle led with 10 kills, hitting .350, and had two aces, five blocks and four digs.

Melanie Feliciano of Evansville had 36 kills Saturday

Feliciano sparkles: Lost in the shuffling madness of Saturday’s huge schedule was Evansville’s five-set victory over Eastern Illinois as Melanie Feliciano had a school-record 36 kills. The freshman outside hitter from Ponce, Puerto Rico, took a whopping Missouri Valley Conference-record 95 swings and hit .253, added two assists, six blocks, and had 20 digs. 

And she wasn’t alone. Teammate Gabriela Macedo, a senior from Brazil, had 41 digs against EIU, the program record and sixth most in league history.

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