NCAA volleyball: No. 2 Stanford at No. 1 Huskers, Florida tops FSU, 39 kills for Tams

Florida State's Payton Caffrey tries to tip over the Florida block of Holly Carlton, left, and Lauren Dooley as Marlie Monserez covers/Tim Britt photo

No. 1 vs. No. 2.

We don’t get matchups like that too often in any sport, especially not in early season NCAA Division I volleyball.

But it happens Wednesday in Lincoln at 7 p.m. Central when unbeaten and new No. 1 Nebraska welcomes new No. 2 Stanford into the Devaney Center for a rematch of last season’s NCAA-championship match. It will be on the Big Ten Network.

We’ll get to that, the rest of Wednesday’s schedule and all the recaps in a bit after a Tuesday night when No. 11 Florida swept No. 23 Florida State, No. 11 Oregon had to battle to a five-set win at Princeton, and Rachel Tams of Evansville had 39 kills in a five-set win over Tennessee Tech.

Stanford at Nebraska: Nebraska is 7-0 for the first time since 2016. Stanford, which beat the Huskers in the NCAA final  (28-26, 22-25, 25-16, 15-25, 15-12), hadn’t lost in more than a year when the Cardinal — which had won 37 in a row — was upset by Minnesota on Saturday at Penn State to drop to 5-1.

Stanford is 9-6 all time against Nebraska, which last won in 2008. Stanford has won both matches since. Stanford was No. 1 in the first two AVCA Coaches Polls, but dropped a notch after its loss. Nebraska had been No. 2.

Also Wednesday: Another Big Ten team plays an intriguing early season match when No. 21 Purdue goes to No. 16 Kentucky of the SEC. And Michigan, which fell out of the poll this week, goes to Notre Dame of the ACC.

In the Big 12, third-ranked Texas ventures to Houston to play at Rice of Conference USA and TCU goes to SMU of the American Athletic. 

There is one other Pac-12 team playing Wednesday when UCLA goes to UC Santa Barbara, and in the ACC Boston College goes to Harvard.

No. 22 Colorado State of the Mountain West plays host to its neighbor, Northern Colorado of the Big Sky.

Thayer Hall, who led Florida with 15 kills, unloads against Florida State/Tim Britt photo

Florida, Oregon win: Florida of the SEC (6-2) beat the visiting Seminoles of the ACC (5-3) 25-21, 27-25, 25-14. The Gators trailed 10-4 in the second set and didn’t catch up until tying it at 16-16. FSU had set point twice before Thayer Hall’s kill and Holly Carlton’s ace ended it.

Hall led Florida with 15 kills. She hit .467, had an assist and 11 digs. Paige Hammons added 10 kills and hit .333 and had two assists, two aces, nine digs and a block. Lauren Dooley had nine kills with no errors in 13 attacks and hit .692 to go with a block.

FSU, which hit .150, got 12 kills from Caffrey, who had seven digs. 

Oregon of the Pac-12 (3-3), coming off tough losses to Minnesota and Penn State this weekend, headed to New Jersey nearly got upset by Princeton of the Ivy League (2-5). Brooke Nuneviller, an All-American libero last year as a freshman, had a career-high 19 kills in the 23-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15, 18-16 victory. She hit .389, had an assist, two aces, two blocks and 11 digs. Ronika Stone added 18 kills, two aces, two digs and four blocks, one solo, and Karson Bacon had 11 kills and five blocks, one solo. 

Oregon trailed 16-15 in the fifth when Nuneviller had a kill, Maggie O’Connell was blocked by Taylor Williams and Stone, and then won it on a hitting error. 

O’Connell led Princeton with 23 kills and hit .444 to go with four blocks, two solo. Elena Montgomery had 18 kills, three digs and two blocks. 

Rachel Tam

Around the nation: Evansville’s Tams had her Evansville-record 39 kills just three days after teammate Melanie Feliciano set the previous school mark with 36. Tams, a 5-foot-9 senior from Hong Kong, had 14 errors in 75 attacks and hit .333 and had six digs and three blocks as her team beat Tennessee Tech in five. And Feliciano had 19 kills, hit .304, and added 10 digs. The Purple Aces are 6-2. Tennessee Tech (2-8) got 15 kills each from Ali Verzani and Rachel Thomas … 

Texas A&M of the SEC held off visiting Oklahoma of the Big 12 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12. Hollann Hans went off for A&M (8-1) with 29 kills as she hit .317 and had 10 digs and three blocks. Lauren Davis had 17 kills. OU (7-3) got 19 kills from Ashlynn Dunbar, who had two assists, an ace and 12 digs.

“That was a great team win. Obviously we were offensively pin heavy, but they stepped up and knew how to execute our game plan,” A&M coach Bird Kuhn said. “Hollann took some big swings, moving the ball down the line. Lauren was just dropping the ball in the hole. It’s what we have talked about the last two days at training. 

“We still need our balance and there are things we need to clean up, like the missed serves at the end of set four. That’s the momentum of volleyball, and you need to be able to respond and we did. Defensively they executed and we knew that we needed to be automatic. It was a solid team win.”

Western Kentucky (10-1) swept Belmont (1-10) for its sixth win in a row as Paige Briggs had 15 kills … Other Conference USA teams in action included Marshall improving to 7-3 with a sweep at Eastern Kentucky (5-6) behind 12 kills by Sarah Schank, UTSA (6-4) won in four at Incarnate Word (4-7) as freshman Courtney Walters had a school-record seven aces, 16 assists and four digs, and Sydney Rowan had 26 kills as Charlotte (7-5) won in five at North Carolina rival Davidson (5-5). Rowan added 18 digs and three blocks, and Jocelyn Stoner had 15 kills with no errors in 30 swings to hit .500. She also had four blocks. Hattie Rodriguez had 18 kills for Davidson and Emma McLaughlin had 17 and Elizabeth Crosley 15 … 

Sydney Kleinman had 16 kills in a sweep by East Carolina (9-1) over NC Central … Taryn Griffey had 19 kills and hit .417 to go with four blocks as North Florida beat Georgia Southern in five … Liz Pulver had 19 kills, two digs and two blocks, one solo, as Stony Brook beat St. Francis Brooklyn … Western Carolina beat UNC Asheville and Abigail Velt had 16 kills, eight digs, an assist, an ace and a block … 

Southern Illinois beat UT Martin as the Salukis won in five, their fifth five-set match in a row. Hannah Becker had 15 kills … Brown is 7-1 after winning at another Rhode Island school, Bryant. Makena Ehlert led with 14 kills, 10 digs and two blocks … Katie Forsythe had 32 digs in Loyola Maryland’s four-set win over Coppin State … 

And Barbara Silva had 17 kills, three blocks and a dig to lead UTRGV to a sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.


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