Fifth-ranked Louisville, down 9-7 in the fifth, scored the last eight points Wednesday to beat visiting No. 8 Kentucky and remain unbeaten.
Another ACC team, unranked Florida State, beat visiting No. 14 Florida in four. Other winners on a light Wednesday schedule included Iowa State, Clemson, Cal, and, sadly for Siena, Binghamton. That’s because winless Siena was up 13-11 in the fifth but couldn’t hold on and dropped to 0-10.
News, notes, and the highlights from Wednesday follow, but first a look at Thursday’s NCAA slate that includes 44 matches, highlighted by 10th-ranked Utah traveling down I-15 to Provo to play at No. 15 BYU. Utah (7-1) is coming off its big upset of Nebraska but then a loss to Boise State. BYU is 8-1.
Utah’s roster includes senior outside Madelyn Robinson, who played her first two years at BYU and is now in her second season in Salt Lake City. Robinson is second to Dani Drews in kills for the Utes. BYU’s roster includes graduate-student Kenzie Koerber, a three-time All-American right side for Utah who graduated last year and then headed to Provo. Koerber leads BYU in kills and is second in blocks.
There are a ton in-state and regional matches on tap the next few days. Thursday that includes UCF playing both Miami and FGCU, Rice vs. Baylor, Georgia vs. NC State, Cal Poly vs. LMU, and Colorado State vs. Colorado.
Friday? There are more than 200 matches. Among the highlights, Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, San Diego vs. USC, Boston College vs. Dayton, Charlotte vs. North Carolina, Penn State vs. West Virginia, Tennessee vs. Jacksonville State, and Texas vs. Texas A&M.
WEDNESDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS — Louisville (9-0) got 18 kills from Claire Chaussee, who had two blocks and four digs in the 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 15-9. Anna DeBeer had 14 kills, two assists, an ace, 10 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Anna Stevenson had 12 kills, hit .333, and had three digs and four blocks, one solo. Amaya Tillman had nine kills and nine blocks, two solo, and Aiko Jones had four kills, three aces, four digs, and five blocks, one solo. Setter Tori Dilfer had two kills, 44 assists, three blocks, and nine digs. Her team hit .210.
Kentucky of the SEC (6-3) got 20 kills from Alli Stumler, who had 15 digs. Madi Skinner had 16 kills, two aces, a block, and seven digs. Azhani Tealer had 10 kills, hitting .533, and added an ace, three digs, and five blocks, three solo. Elise Goetzinger had eight kills and three blocks. Emma Grome had two kills in three errorless tries, 55 assists, two blocks, and 10 digs. Her team hit .193.
In the fifth, Tillman pulled Louisville to 9-8 with a kill. After a UK hitting error Tillman followed with back-to-back blocks, Chaussee got a kill, she and Tillman and then Jones and Tilman got blocks, and it ended on a hitting error. It’s Louisville’s best start since 2005 …
Florida State (7-2) was too much for Florida 24-26, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20, which had won the previous four matches between the teams.
Morgan Chacon led FSU with 14 kills, an ace, a block, and 14 digs. Khori Louis had 12 kills, hit .500, a dig, and two blocks, one solo. Audrey Koenig had 10 kills and Emma Clothier had nine kills, an assist, two aces, a dig, and five blocks, one solo. Lilly Tessier had two kills in seven errorless attempts, 42 assists, and six digs. Her team hit .263.
Florida of the SEC (4-4) got a career-high 24 kills from Sofia Victoria, a sophomore who played sparingly last season, had an assist and 10 digs. T’Ara Ceasar had 19 kills, an ace, a block, and 10 digs. Thayer Hall had six kills, three blocks, and seven digs. Marlie Monserez had two kills in seven errorless tries, 50 assists, an ace, two blocks, and eight digs. Her team hit .239 …
Iowa State swept Northern Iowa as Eleanor Holthaus had 13 kills, hit .375, and had an assist, three aces, eight digs, and four blocks … Clemson hit .308 in its sweep of Georgia State … Cal lost the first set to Saint Mary’s 25-8, but quicky turned things around to win 25-20, 25-22, 25-19. Bella Bergmark had 12 kills with no errors in 18 attacks, an assist, four blocks, and three digs …
Melody Davidson had 24 kills with one error in 33 attacks to hit .697 as Butler swept Eastern Kentucky. Davidson also had six blocks … Abby Hamilton had 20 kills for Loyola Maryland in its sweep over Coppin State … Utah State beat Southern Utah in four. Corinne Larsen had 17 kills with one error in 31 swings to go with an assist, an ace, seven digs, and seven blocks, one solo …
And Binghamton of the America East is 4-6 after its five-set win at the Metro Atlantic’s Siena. Stefana Stan led with 18 kills, an assist, two blocks, and 11 digs. Sara Wagner had 16 kills, a block, and 20 digs for Siena.
STANFORD TOPS NEBRASKA — Give credit to both teams for scheduling tough as Stanford improved to 5-2 Tuesday and Nebraska dropped to 6-2 after the 25-19, 12-25, 25-21, 25-23 outcome.
The Pac-12’s Stanford, which hit .235, got 21 kills from Caitie Baird. She had two errors in 39 attacks to hit .487 and had two aces and 13 digs. A big part of the victory was the debut of Sami Francis, who had 13 kills, including the match-ender, despite hitting .087. She had three digs and three blocks, one solo. Kendall Kipp had 11 kills, an ace, four block, and four digs. McKenna Vicini had four kills and seven blocks, one solo. Setter Kami Miner had 49 assists, three blocks, and eight digs, and libero Elena Oglivie had 20 digs.
“I like what we can get out of this group,” Stanford coach Kevin Hambly said. “It will be fun to see how far we can take them.”
This season, Stanford has victories over Florida and Penn State, and it’s two losses are to Texas and Minnesota. Nebraska, which lost to Utah on Saturday, lost back-to-back matches for the first time since losing three in a row in October 2018, all in the Big Ten.
Nebraska, still without All-American middle Lauren Stivrins, who is recovering from back surgery, hit .189. Kayla Caffrey had 12 kills and hit .429 and had seven blocks, one solo. Ally Batenhorst had 10 kills and three blocks, one solo, and eight digs. Lindsay Krause had 10 kills and three blocks, and Callie Schwarzenbach had nine kills, hit .500, and had two blocks. Setter Nicklin Hames had a kill, 43 assists, two blocks, and 11 digs.
ALSO TUESDAY — Fairfield won its last non-conference match before beginning Metro Atlantic play by beating visiting Bryant on Tuesday in four and Baylor transfer KJ Johnson led the way. The 5-foot-10 junior outside from the Houston suburb of Pearland had 25 kills and hit .322 after having six errors in 59 attacks. She added two assists, four blocks, and 12 digs. Johnson played two seasons at Baylor. Both Fairfield and Bryant of the Northeast Conference are 5-6 …
Kansas State improved to 7-2 on Tuesday with a sweep at struggling Missouri (2-8). Jayden Nembhard had 17 kills and Aliyah Carter 16 and five blocks. K-State, which plays Weber State and Omaha at Omaha this weekend, opens Big 12 play Saturday with back-to-back home matches with Baylor …
North Carolina is 9-0 after sweeping visiting Elon as Nia Robinson had 14 kills and hit .462. The Tar Heels play two more in-state schools, Charlotte on Friday and Davidson on Saturday, before opening ACC play September 24 against visiting Pittsburgh in what could be a pretty significant league opener …
St. John’s won in four at Stony Brook as Rachelle Rastini stayed hot. The Italian outside had 18 kills, two aces, three digs, and three blocks … Megan Wilson had 20 kills and hit .425 to go with an assist, two aces, a dig, and a solo block as Oklahoma swept Abilene Christian …
Evansville improved to 8-1 by sweeping previously unbeaten Tennessee State (5-1) …
Boise State beat Utah on Monday, but we have a separate feature coming later Thursday about Boise.
AVCA POLL — The thought here is that there shouldn’t even be a poll until after the third weekend. Nonetheless, after three weeks, Texas and Wisconsin remain 1-2 in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Women’s Poll.
But Ohio State moved up a notch to third, breaking a tie with No. 4 Pittsburgh. Since the previous poll, Ohio State feasted on three teams from Virginia, James Madison, VCU, and Virginia; while Pitt, also 8-0, beat High Point, beat then-No. 12 BYU (now 15th) in four, and then swept Bowling Green. Yet Ohio State moved ahead of the Panthers. Louisville is No. 5. Nebraska, which is 6-1 and lost to Utah, is No. 6. Utah, which was 7-0 at the time of the poll jumped from No. 20 to No. 10 (refer to first sentence of this section). And then hours after the poll came out Monday, Utah lost in four at unranked Boise State.
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SLC TOURNEY CHANGE — The 2021 Southland volleyball tournament will move from Hammond, Louisiana, still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, to Houston. Houston Baptist University, which was going to be the tournament host in 2022, will switch with Southeastern Louisiana University for this year’s event November 18-21. SLU will be the host team in 2022.
DIETZ BOWS OUT — A tip of the hat to the winningest coach in Lincoln Land Community College history, Jim Dietz. He started his 16th season at the Illinois school, but is still fighting the effects of getting COVID last year. They get worse in a gym with lights and noise, so Jim has retired. He’s been a contributor in the past for VolleyballMag.com and now with some time on his hands, perhaps we’ll get him back in the writing fold.