All the NCAA volleyball action from Thursday-Friday-Saturday, a look ahead to Sunday

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Hofstra libero Chiara Cucco, who had 26 digs, gets one of against Towson/ Evan Bernstein photo

No team heads into this week’s start of NCAA women’s volleyball conference play feeling better about itself than Louisville.

The fifth-ranked Cardinals improved to 10-0 when they swept Nebraska on its home court Saturday night. Louisville is coming off, in order, an upset sweep of then No. 6 Purdue, a sweep of Xavier, a five-set victory over No. 8 Kentucky, and then the first sweep by an opponent at No. 6 Nebraska in almost two years. What’s more, it marked Nebraska’s third loss in a row for the first time since 2018.

The Colonial Athletic Association opened conference play Saturday as Hofstra beat previously unbeaten Towson in five. 

The stat line of Saturday goes to Kenna Sauer of Texas Tech, who had 30 kills in a four-set win over Sam Houston. Amaris Carter had 29 kills for Seattle in a loss to Eastern Washington.

WHO’S STILL UNDEFEATED

Three teams in the ACC, North Carolina (10-0), Louisville (10-0), and Pittsburgh (10-0). The Big 12 has only No. 1 Texas (8-0). In the Big Ten, Maryand got through the preseason 12-0, while Ohio State is 9-0 and Wisconsin is 8-0. Colorado is the lone undefeated Pac-12 team at 9-0. And in the SEC, Ole Miss is 11-0.

SUNDAY’S SLATE

After more than 400 matches Friday and Saturday, the 20-match Sunday schedule seems like a blip, but there are certainly a few worth watching, not the least of which are Stanford at Kentucky and Ohio State at Notre Dame. Also Sunday are Syracuse vs. South Alabama, Towson vs. Hofstra, and Coastal Carolina vs. Florida.

There is one match Monday and a handful Tuesday, a few that mark the start of conference play in some mid-majors. Power 5 conference play gets under way Wednesday.

To watch any match that is being shown, find the links at our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.

The highlights, stats, news, and notes from Thursday-Friday-Saturday follow, in daily chronological order. It was the only way to keep track.

The Washington players can only watch as Fresno State’s Mikayla Weiss covers/Stephen Burns photo

THURSDAY’S NEWS AND NOTES

There were quite a few rivalry, in-state, and regional matchups, and the big one was No. 15 BYU’s 25-23, 25-23, 25-16 sweep of visiting No. 10 Utah. 

Before 5,140 in Smith Fieldhouse, Utah transfer Kenzie Koerber led with 14 kills, two assists, and six digs. Kennedy Eschenberg had 12 kills with one error in 23 attacks and two solo blocks. BYU hit .299, while Utah hit .163. Madelyn Robinson, who transferred from BYU to Utah two seasons ago, led the Utes with 10 kills, an assist, two aces, three blocks, and six digs. Dani Drews had seven kills and hit .088. BYU improved to 9-1, while Utah, coming off a loss to Boise state, fell to 7-2 … 

Washington survived a five-setter with Montana State, falling behind 10-5 in the fifth before winning 26-28, 25-17, 22-25, 25-11, 16-14. Washington had 10 more kills, outhit Montana State (4-6) by more than 100 percentage points, had five more aces and four more digs. Later Thursday, the Huskies (6-1) swept Fresno State. It was the first five-set match of this season for Washington, which, you may recall, won in five in each of its first three spring 2020 NCAA Tournament matches. Portland was scheduled to play Fresno State later Thursday and then Washington on Friday, but those matches were canceled because Portland did not have enough available players because of non-COVID related injuries and medical concerns … 

Loyola Marymount improved to 8-1 with a four-set win over Cal Poly 

Colorado got to 8-0 with a four-set win over Colorado State … Boise State, featured here Thursday, is 10-1 after sweeping Santa Clara  

Baylor swept Rice, Oregon swept Howard, South Carolina swept Winthrop, Pepperdine swept VCU, Kansas beat Kansas City in four, Oklahoma beat SMU in four … 

UC Davis (4-6) hit .382 and knocked off visiting Cal (7-4) in four. Amara Aimufua, Lana Radakovic, and Olivia Utterback combined for 40 kills with six errors in 88 attacks …  

West Virginia improved to 10-0 ahead of its Friday match with Penn State as the Mountaineers beat George Washington in four in the morning and swept UMBC in the afternoon. Briana Lynch combined for 29 kills with just three errors in 58 swings and had five solo blocks … Georgia Tech improved to 8-1 with a sweep of Arkansas (8-2) … Lauren Chastang had 19 kills for Kennesaw State in its four-set win over Furman to go with four assists, 15 digs, and two blocks … Olivia Lohmeier had 22 kills for Morehead State in its five-set win over Marshall … Cincinnati beat Xavier and Maria Mallon had 19 kills, two assists, three aces, 15 digs, and two blocks, one solo … Jade Parchment had 23 kills for NC State in its four-set win over Georgia. She hit .356 and had an assist, an ace, 13 digs, and two blocks … Arizona State beat Pacific in four … 

UCF, which has played a tough preseason schedule, won twice to get over .500 for the first time this season. The Knights (6-5) beat previously unbeaten Miami (7-1) in five and then swept Florida Gulf Coast. Against Miami, McKenna Melville led with 21 kills, an assist, nine digs, and five blocks, one solo. Melville had 14 more kills with two errors in 35 swings against FGCU (7-3) and added two assists, two blocks, and six digs …

And Minnesota swept new Division I team St. Thomas from nearby St. Paul. Jenna Wenaas led Minnesota with 14 kills, one less than the entire St. Thomas team, which hit minus .054.

“It was great to be able to play St. Thomas tonight in the first intrastate Division I match in state history,” Minnesota coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “It’s exciting to have multiple Division I volleyball teams in Minnesota, and while it may take some time for them to build their program up at this level, I look forward to future matches against them.”

FRIDAY’S ACTION

There were no upsets of teams in the top 25, but No. 1 Texas got all it could handle at Texas A&M, No. 13 Oregon escaped Harvard in five, and No. 21 San Diego had to go five to win at USC.

It was a great Friday for Ole Miss but could not have been worse for Indiana. Wisconsin unveiled a 6-9 freshman who had a stellar debut, Milwaukee’s Ari Miller had 30 kills in a five-set win over Western Michigan, and FAMU’s Dominique Washington had 28 kills as the Rattlers dealt Auburn its first defeat. 

Texas (8-0) won 25-22, 25-14, 22-25, 29-27 as Texas A&M (7-3) attracted a crowd of 6,822, a record for volleyball in Reed Arena. Logan Eggleston led Texas with 21 kills, hit .327, and had an assist, three aces, 14 digs, and four blocks, one solo. The Longhorns go to Rice on Wednesday … Oregon is 9-1, but not before getting past Harvard 25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 16-14 in a match played at American. Later the Ducks swept American. Against Harvard, Oregon held a 12-8 lead in the fifth, fell behind 14-13 before pulling it out. Gloria Mutiri, who had two kills in the last three points of the match, led with 19 kills. She had one error in 34 attacks. Harvard’s Katie Vorheis had 16 kills. Harvard later beat the home team in four as Nicole Prescott had 17 kills, an assist, an ace, 14 digs, and a block … 

San Diego (6-2) went to USC (4-5) and won 25-22, 20-25, 13-25, 25-19, 15-13 behind a career-high 19 kills by Grace Frohling, who had the match-winning kill, seven blocks and six digs. Brooke Botkin had 20 kills for USC … 

Ole Miss (11-0) heads into the SEC regular season unbeaten for the first time since 2014 after winning twice Friday, sweeps over Alabama A&M and then Indiana. Ole Miss hit .488 against Alabama A&M, and Samantha Schnitta had 14 kills against Indiana and two blocks and nine digs … Indiana fell to 6-6 because earlier the Hoosiers were swept by Chicago State, which later also swept A&M. The Cougars head into WAC play 7-4 … 

Wisconsin senior middle Danielle Hart was lost for the season after tearing her ACL in practice earlier in the week. So coach Kelly Sheffield had to take the redshirt off 6-foot-9 — yes, 6-9 — Canadian freshman Anna Smerk. All she did was get six kills in six attempts to go with a block in a sweep of Green Bay. The other middle, senior Dana Rettke, had 11 kills with one error in 16 swings and five blocks.  Another freshman, Julia Orzol, led with 14 kills … 

Auburn (6-1) took its first defeat, falling in five to Florida A&M as Dominique Washington had 28 kills, two assists, 17 digs, and two blocks. Auburn later beat Nicholls State in four as Rebekah Rath had 18 kills and six blocks, two solo … 

Milwaukee beat Western Michigan in five, and Ari Miller had 30 kills with only four errors in 50 swings to hit .520. She had two digs and two blocks, one solo. Teammate Madi Malone had 20 kills … 

Aliyah Carter had 22 kills, hit .422, and had three assists, an ace, and 16 digs for Kansas State in a four-set win over Weber State. Teammate Jayden Nembhard had 20 kills … Cal State Fullerton beat California Baptist in four and Julia Crawford had 21 kills … 

Dayton beat Boston College in four, and Jamie Peterson had 20 kills, hit .326, and had three aces, nine digs, and two blocks. Later, Dayton swept Eastern Michigan and Peterson had 16 kills, hit .375, and had an assist, three aces, and two digs … Crystal Burk had 21 kills and hit .356 for South Dakota State in a five-set win over Southeastern Louisiana. She had an ace, 12 digs, and four blocks, one solo. SLU later lost in five to Drake, but Cicily Hidalgo had 23 kills for the Lions to go with 10 digs, an ace, and three blocks, one solo. Drake’s Mariana Rodrigues had 22 kills, seven digs, and four blocks …  

Syracuse, featured here Friday, won in four at Mississippi State. Mariana Markova led with 22 kills … Tennessee State kept UT Arlington winless as Aniya Williams had 25 kills, hit .345, and had three aces and six blocks … UAB beat Sam Houston in four, and Fernanda Maida had 24 kills, two aces, 11 digs, and a block …

Macey Putt had 20 kills for Arkansas State in its four-set win over UT Martin. She hit .354 had two aces, nine digs, and three aces … Milla Malik had 22 kills for Buffalo in a four-set win over Norfolk State to go with two aces, 10 digs, and two blocks … Brown’s Sophia Miller had 21 kills in a five-set win over Central Connecticut StateSouthern got its first victory, beating winless New Orleans in five, but UNO’s Trinity Jackson had 23 kills, two aces, 15 digs, and four blocks … Villanova beat Philadelphia rival Temple in five as Riley Homer had 22 kills, 10 digs, and five blocks … Missouri beat North Texas in five but UNT’s Rhett Robinson had 24 kills, two assists, an ace, 11 digs, and three blocks, one solo … Marquette swept UTSA and Wright State, and in the two matches combined Savannah Rennie had 20 kills in 36 attacks with one error, two assists, 16 digs, three aces, and six blocks, two solo … Another Big East team, Creighton, improved to 10-1 with a sweep of Wyoming …

Youngstown State’s Paula Gursching had 18 kills and 13 — yes, 13 — of the Penguins’ 24 aces in a four-set win over Kent State. She also had 11 digs for a rare triple-double. Setter Lexie Beeke had five kills, 34 assists, 13 digs, two blocks, and five of those aces …

And some Power 5 notes. In the ACC, Pittsburgh swept Marshall to get to 9-0, North Carolina did the same to Charlotte to get to 10-0, and Virginia Tech beat George Mason and Wofford to get to 9-2, Wake Forest beat Davidson to also get to 9-2 … In the Big 12, Kansas swept Missouri State, while Texas Tech got to 9-3 with sweeps over UAB and Tulane … The Big Ten action saw Purdue improve to 10-1 with wins over Jacksonville State and PFW, Penn State swept Robert Morris and previously unbeaten West Virginia, Ohio State is 9-0 after sweeping Notre Dame, Maryland is 1-0 after sweeping Akron, and Illinois swept Missouri and Illinois State … The Pac-12 results included UCLA beating Butler in four, Washington State sweeping UC Santa Barbara, and Arizona beating UC Riverside and San Diego State … And also in the SEC, Tennessee (8-1) swept PFW and Jacksonville State, Alabama beat Houston and Arkansas swept NC State 

Finally a great note from Ed Strong, who has joined the VolleyballMag.com Twitter account (follow at @VBMagazine) and is simply taking it to another level:
So, @theswac outside of Florida A&M was 0-80 against teams other than each other coming into Friday. This afternoon/evening, within the span of a few hours?
@BamaStateVB 3-1 USC Upstate
@GramblingVBall 3-2 ULM
@SouthernU_VB 3-2 New Orleans

Long Beach State celebrates beating a ranked team for the first time in five years/John Fajardo photo

SATURDAY’S ROUNDUP

Louisville (10-0) had so many story lines working in its 25-17, 25-20, 25-18 victory at Nebraska (6-3), not the least of which was coach Dani Busboom Kelly returning to her alma mater where her team won the 2006 NCAA title. She also was a Huskers assistant coach. Saturday, Anna Stevenson led with 11 kills and hit .588 after making one error in 17 attacks. She had an assists, two digs, and six blocks, two solo. Aiko Jones had 10 kills with two errors in 21 swings, two aces, seven blocks, and four digs. Anna DeBeer had 10 kills and was particularly lethal from the back row. She had 13 digs. Nebraska hit .046 …

Long Beach State knocked off No. 21 San Diego as Kashauna Williams had 20 kills in the 25-20, 25-18, 19-25, 25-23 victory. Williams hit .318, had two assists, six digs, and two blocks, one solo as Long Beach beat a ranked team for the first time since 2016 …

Creighton is 12-1 afer sweeping both South Dakota and Wichita State 

Texas Tech improved to 10-3 with its four-set win over Sam Houston as junior Kenna Sauer had 30 kills. The transfer from Missouri had five errors in 64 attacks to hit .391 and added an assist, an ace, eight digs, and four blocks, two solo … 

Florida hit .340 in a sweep of Coastal CarolinaPurdue improved to 8-1 with its sweep of Tennessee (8-2) … Freshman Charitie Luper had 18 kills and hit .412 for UCLA in a four-set win over Milwaukee. She had an assist, eight digs, and four blocks … Four Troy players had 12 or more kills, 17 by Alison Siersma, as it beat LSU in five. LSU, without four starters, got 21 kills from Kylie Deberg, who had three aces, 14 digs, and five blocks, one solo … 

Alabama beat Western Carolina in four despite WCU’s Merry Gebel getting a career-high 27 kills while hitting .303 with 10 digs and a block. Alabama later swept Tennessee TechJaela Zimmerman had 16 kills, hit .400, and had four assists, 16 digs, and a block as Creighton (11-1) swept South Dakota Lauren Myrick had 20 kills for Mississippi State in a four-set win over South Alabama 

Pittsburgh hit .354 in its sweep of Morehead State. Leketor Member-Meneh had 14 kills with one error in 24 swings, an assist, an ace, 10 digs, and two blocks … 

Colorado is 9-0 after sweeping at Colorado State. Leah Clayton led with 11 kills, hit  .321, and had an assist, nine digs, and five blocks, two solo … Jess Mruzik had 17 kills with one error in 32 swings as Michigan swept Dayton. Mruzik had three aces, 11 digs, and two blocks … 

Northwestern’s Temi Thomas-Allara had 20 kills as but DePaul beat the Wildcats in five in a match between Chicago teams. Northwestern later swept another Chicago team, Loyola, as Thomas-Ailara got 12 more kills, and DePaul swept UIC

Marquette improved to 9-2 with a sweep of Northern Iowa as Hope Werch had 12 kills with one error in 22 swings, two aces, a block and five digs, and Savannah Rennie had nine kills, hit .375, and had two digs and six blocks, one solo … 

Second-ranked Wisconsin (8-0) held batting practice against NIU as the Badgers hit .404. Freshman Lauren Jardine had 14 kills with one error in 23 attacks, Dana Rettke had 10 kills in 15 errorless swings plus six blocks, one sol, and another freshman, Anna Smrek, had eight kills with one error in 11 swings. Freshman Julia Orzol had eight kills with two errors in 25 attacks and three aces, three blocks, and nine digs … 

Michigan State beat IUPUI and Central Michigan on Saturday. Sarah Franklin had 21 kills against CMU, hit .422, and had two blocks and 10 digs … 

Arizona State dropped to 7-4 as Iman Isanovic had 23 kills in a five-set loss to UNLV (9-2). Mariana Hayden had 21 kills for the Rebels … Pia Timmer had 19 kills as Washington State beat UC Santa Barbara for the second straight day, this time in four. Timmer had an assist, an ace, and nine digs … 

Penn beat Temple in four, but in the match between Philadelphia school’s Penn’s Autumn Leak had a career-high 24 kills, hit .349, and had an assist, 10 digs, and three blocks. She had 14 more kills in a four-set loss to Villanova, another Philly team … Princeton is not far from Philadelphia and the Tigers, too, beat Temple as Elena Montgomery had 20 kills. Gem Grimshaw had 24 kills for Temple to go with an assist, two aces, 10 digs, and three blocks … 

Evansville is 10-1 after swepeing Murray State. Alondra Vazquez led with 19 kills with one error in 28 attacks and added two aces, 14 digs, and three blocks … 

Boise State is 11-1 after sweeping Oregon State. Laura Ohlinger had 10 kills with no errors in 17 swings as the Broncos hit .474 … Western Kentucky is also 11-1 after hitting .390 in a sweep of St. John’s. Lauren Matthews had 12 kills, hit .529, and had two blocks, one solo … UNC Greensboro swept UNCW to get to 11-2, best start in program history … BYU is 10-1 after sweeping Utah Valley. Kenzie Koerber had 18 kills with one error in 25 attacks, an ace, eight digs, and a block … Georgia Tech (9-1) hit .410 as it swept Georgia. Mariana Brambilla had 17 kills, hit .481, and had an assist, three aces, four digs, and a block … 

Providence improved to 12-1 with a sweep of St. Francis Brooklyn and a five-set win over Fordham. Shaliyah Rhoden had 21 kills against Fordham … When Bellarmine beat Georgetown in five, Ashley Price had 24 kills for the winners plus an assist, an ace, 12 digs, and six blocks, while Georgetown’s Mary Grace Goyena had 23 kills … Idaho kept Southeastern Louisiana winless despite 25 kills by Cicily Hidalgo. Delaney Nicoll had 20 kills for Idaho, hitting .333 with an assist, 12 digs, and three blocks … Anna Purchia of Eastern Kentucky had 20 kills, an assist, an ace, eight digs, and five blocks in a five-set win over LamarMissouri State beat Kansas City in five as Amelia Flynn had 21 kills, two aces, 17 digs, and a block … Tulsa’s Kayley Cassaday had 21 kills in a four-set win over Southern IllinoisBall State beat Northern Kentucky in five to improve to 10-2, but UNK’s Anna Brinkmann had 25 kills, hit .379, and had an ace, 11 digs, and two blocks … Sadie Bacon had 20 kills for Eastern Washington in its five-set win over Seattle, which got 29 kills from Amaris Carter. She hit .356 and had 10 digs and two blocks, one solo … Ellie Blain had 21 kills for Dartmouth in its five-set win over Central Connecticut, which got 21 kills from Nyjha Marcelin … Loyola Marymount beat Cal Poly in four to improve to 9-1. Audrey Klemp had 12 kills with no errors in 26 swings, five digs, and six blocks … Amethyst Harper had 18 kills, hit .361, and had an assist, two aces, seven digs, and five blocks for San Jose State in its four-set win over UC San DiegoLeoni Kunz had 20 kills for Stony Brook in its five-set win over Akron. She hit .356 and had an ace and 11 digs … 

Portland State rallied from an 0-2 deficit to beat North Dakota State in five, the first time the Pilots lost the first two sets and won the match since 2016. Parker Webb led with 23 kills, hit .350, and had an assist, four aces, three blocks, and 15 digs … Harvard beat American in five, but AU’s Zeynep Uzen had 23 kills, an ace, 17 digs, and two blocks … 

Something had to give: Canisius (1-9) beat Siena (0-11) in five. Rachel Kinney had 17 kills for Canisius … Previously winless UT Arlingon (2-7)  beat Northwestern in five as Brooke Townsend had 23 kills, an assist, four aces, 15 digs, and two blocks, and then swept Prairie View (0-12) as Briana Brown had 10 kills with one error in 20 attacks, two digs, and a block … Ohio dropped to 0-11 with its loss to Austin Peay, but Maggie Nedoma had 19 kills, nine digs, and two blocks … Dixie State (1-7) broke through with a four-set win over Southern Utah …

COLONIAL: The league began conference play Saturday 

Towson State was 12-0, but the Tigers were knocked off by Hofstra in five, 9-25, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12. Hofstra’s Ana Martinovic had 16 kills, two assists, an ace, and 14 digs. It ended multiple long win streaks for Towson, which has won the last two CAA championships. The Tigers entered the match with the nation’s longest win streak and had won 23 straight CAA matches since 2018. Hofstra’s win also snapped a 36-match regular season winning streak for Towson, started two years ago. Towson is back at Hofstra on Sunday. Also in the Colonial on Saturday, James Madison beat Delaware in five, Northeastern beat William & Mary in four, and Elon beat Charleston in four.

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