Let conference play begin.

And if the next three months are as fun and unpredictable as the past four weeks, we are in for a heck of a remainder of the NCAA volleyball season.

Pre-conference play finished with a flourish Sunday as second-ranked Nebraska went to No. 13 Kentucky and thrashed the Wildcats, Rice knocked off No. 17 Creighton in a marathon five-setter, and No. 12 Pittsburgh squashed visiting No. 5 Ohio State.

Good luck to the AVCA Poll voters after a week in which Stanford upset Nebraska, Louisville beat Kentucky, Pepperdine beat Minnesota, Arkansas upset Georgia Tech, Florida knocked off Wisconsin, and well, you know … 

Sunday’s recaps and top performances follow and include Delaware’s Lani Mason, who had 35 kills in a five-set win over Northeastern. 

There are two matches Monday. UTRGV of the WAC, which came out of the pre-conference season 11-3, goes to UTEP of Conference USA, and Mississippi Valley of the SWAC goes to Miles.

While the CAA and Metro Atlantic began conference play this past weekend, a couple of others get underway Tuesday, including Colorado State opening Mountain West play against Wyoming. UC Riverside is at UC Davis to start Big West play, there are four Horizon League matches, and two more in the MAAC.

Want to watch a match? We have the viewing links on the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings page.

TOP 25: Nebraska (8-1) in essence went on the road for the first time and won 27-25, 25-20, 25-16 at Kentucky (5-4). Whitney Lauenstein led a balanced attack in which seven Huskers have four or more kills. Lauenstein, establishing herself as an early season star, had 11 kills with one error in 27 attacks to hit .370 and added two aces, three blocks and two digs. Madi Kubik and Lindsay Krause had nine kills. Kaitlyn Hord had five kills and four blocks, one solo, and Bekka Allick had five kills in eight errorless tries, four digs and six blocks. Nebraska hit .302. Kentucky, which hit .141, got nine kills from Reagan Rutherford, who had an assist, an ace, a block and 12 digs. Adanna Rollins and Erin Lamb had eight kills each. Nebraska, which is 6-1 at home, also won in Omaha against Creighton, so technically the Huskers had traveled … 

Kentucky’s Azhani Tealers winds up against the Nebraska block of Annie Evans, left, and Bekka Allick/UK Athletics

The ACC’s Pittsburgh (9-2) came away with a surprising sweep of Ohio State (4-4) of the Big Ten 25-21, 25-15, 25-22. Courtney Buzzerio led with 15 kills and hit .412 after having one error in 34 attacks to go with an assist, a dig and two blocks, one solo. Pitt, which hit .296, got 10 kills from Valeria Vazquez Gomez. Rachel Fairbanks had three kills in eight errorless tries, 28 assists, two aces, two blocks and 12 digs. Ohio State had just 35 kills, 16 by Emily Londot, who had three blocks and 12 digs. The Buckeyes hit .145 … 

Rice of Conference USA improved to 10-1 with its 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 25-21, 16-14 win over Creighton (8-3) of the Big East. In a match that lasted more than three hours, Rice’s Anota Adekunle led with 23 kills as she hit .408 and had five digs and six blocks, one solo. Sahara Maruska had 13 kills, an assist, an ace, three solo blocks and 19 digs. Danyele Courtly, who hit .068, got six of her 10 kills in the fifth set. Satasha Kostelecky had nine kills in 21 errorless attacks. Carly Graham, whose team hit .252, had four kills in 15 errorless tries, 57 assists, 14 digs and four blocks, one solo. Nia McCardell had 32 digs and six assists. Creighton, which hit .196, had five players with 11 or more kills, 17 by Jazz Schmidt, who had two blocks and two digs. Kiara Reinhardt had 15 kills, hit .448, and had an assist, two blocks and two digs. Keeley Davis had 12 kills, four assists, three aces, a block and 22 digs. Kendra Wait had eight kills and hit .400 to go with 56 assists, an ace, a solo block and 24 digs. Allison Whitten had 24 digs and seven assists … 

No. 4 Wisconsin (6-2) of the Big Ten swept visiting Rhode Island (4-9) of the Atlantic 10 as the Badgers hit .459 with 40 kills and six errors in 74 attacks. Sarah Franklin had nine kills in 12 errorless attacks and Julia Orzol had nine kills in 18 errorless attacks. Danielle Hart, who also had three blocks, had seven kills with no errors in eight swings. URI hit .066 … 

No. 19 Marquette (9-1) of the Big East swept Illinois State (7-4) of the Missouri Valley a day after both teams beat Illinois. Aubrey Hamilton had 15 kills with one error in 25 attacks, two assists, two aces, nine digs and three blocks …

Oregon (6-2) of the Pac-12 hit .440 and came away with a 25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 25-8 victory at the ACC’s Miami (7-4). Mimi Colyer led with 16 kills as she hit .500 and had an assist, three blocks and three digs. Brooke Nuneviller had 13 kills, hit .308, and had an assist, three aces, a block and a match-high 17 digs. Savannah Vach had 32 assists, two aces, three blocks and four digs. Miami, which hit a season-low .096, got 10 kills each from Angela Grieve and Flormarie Heredia Colon.

MAAC: Fairfield and Marist are off to 2-0 starts while every one of the other eight teams has at least one loss. 

Fairfield swept Niagara behind 16 kills from KJ Johnson, who hit .371 and had eight digs, two assists and two blocks, one solo. Marist swept Iona as Jordan Newblatt had 17 kills, hit .351, and had an ace and 18 digs. Sasha Van der Merwe had 16 kills, hit .351 and had a block and 10 digs … Canisius beat Quinnipiac in five behind 29 kills by Taylor Baldwin, who hit .371 and had an ace, eight digs and five blocks, one solo … Siena swept Manhattan

Towson’s Fay Bakodimou hits against Hampton/Towson Athletics

CAA: Towson (now 12-0 for the second straight season), Delaware, Hofstra and Elon are 2-0, while the other seven Colonial Athletic Association teams have at least one defeat. 

Towson swept Hampton for the second straight day, as four players had nine or more kills. Nina Cajic had 10 kills, hit .381, and added an assist, a block and four digs … Delaware got the career-high 35 kills from Lani Mason in its four-set win over Northeastern. Mason, a senior outside, also had an ace, a block and 10 digs.

Delaware’s Lani Mason

Her team had a total of 61 attacks. Mason earlier this season had 31 kills against UMBC. Northeastern’s Erica Staunton had 26 kills, 11 digs and three blocks, two solo … Hofstra won in four at Stony Brook as Yagmur Cinel had 17 kills, hit .368 and had an ace, 19 digs and two blocks, one solo … William & Mary swept UNCW and Elon won in four at N.C. A&T.

AROUND THE NATION: Princeton of the Ivy League improved to 8-2 as it swept at Rutgers (6-6) of the Big Ten. Melina Mahood led the Tigers with 13 kills as she hit .345 and had a block … 

USC swept visiting San Jose State as the Trojans hit .359. Skylar Fields led with 16 kills as she hit .389 and had four digs and two blocks … 

Michigan improved to 9-1 with a sweep of visiting Bowling Green. The Wolverines, who hit .309, got 13 kills from Jess Mruzik, who hit .303 and had two assists, an ace, eight digs and two blocks …  

Samford beat Murray State in four and got 21 kills apiece from Gracie Lynn Butler and Kenya McQuirter …. 

FIU swept Fairleigh Dickinson as Sara Nading had two kills in four errorless tries to go with 36 assists, two aces, 10 digs and a block.

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