NCAA volleyball: Utah upsets Washington, WSU thumps CU, Ole Miss, BC, Texas win

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Northwestern's Temi Thomas-Ailara hits into the Nebraska block/Michael Gomez photo

NCAA Division I women’s volleyball conference play began in earnest Wednesday and there were plenty of results that let you know this college season is going to be open for business.

To wit:

— Utah, the No. 15 team team in the nation but coming off two disappointing defeats, went to No. 6 Washington and won in five;

— Washington State beat previously unbeaten No. 24 Colorado in four;

— Ole Miss improved to 12-0 with a four-set victory at Auburn;

— Boston College beat Syracuse in four;

— Northwestern took a set off No. 12 Nebraska and Cal did the same to No. 14 Stanford;

— And remember how Rice beat Texas in five each of the past two seasons? The No. 1 Longhorns were having none of it this time around and beat the Owls 25-14 in each set.

The notes from Wednesday’s action follow, but first a look at Thursday’s schedule. 

In the Pac-12, Arizona goes to Arizona State. Both teams are 7-3. In the SEC, Mississippi State goes to No. 17 Florida. 

All three ranked West Conference teams are in action as No. 11 BYU opens at home against Pacific, No. 23 Pepperdine is at winless San Francisco, and No. 25 San Diego plays host to Saint Mary’s. Also, LMU, off to a 7-1 start, is at Santa Clara.

There’s a full slate in the Big Sky, while the lone match in the Big West, which missed all of last season, has Hawai’i at UC Riverside. There are two Horizon matches, Western Michigan starts the MAC season at Eastern Michigan, and the five Mountain West matches include Fresno State at New Mexico, Utah State at Wyoming, Boise State at Colorado State, San Diego State at Nevada, and UNLV at San Jose State.

There are four matches involving Summit League teams, and there are five WAC matches, including NM State at Utah Valley in a rematch of last spring’s league tournament final won by Utah Valley.

Want to watch a match? We have the links. Go to our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming listings to find any match that is being shown.

UTAH TOPS WASHINGTON — Utah (8-2) won at Nebraska, but then lost at Boise State and BYU. And Wednesday it lost the first set before rallying for a 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 16-14 victory at Washington (7-2).

In the fifth, Utah trailed 13-12 when Zoe Weatherington tied it with a kill. Utah took the lead on a Washington error, but it was tied at 14 on Marin Grote’s kill. Dani Drews then got her match-high 26th kill and Madelyn Robinson’s kill ended it.

Drews got her kills in 66 swings. She had 11 errors and hit .227 to go with two aces, two blocks, and 12 digs. Robinson had 14 kills but hit .116 and she had a block and 11 digs. Weatherington had 10 kills, hit .107, and had three blocks and six digs. Kennedi Evans had seven kills with no errors in 12 attacks and three blocks. Allie Else had six kills in 12 errorless swings and six blocks, two solo. Setter Stef Jankiewicz had three kills, 51 assists, a block and 15 digs. Her team hit .227. Vanessa Ramirez had 19 digs and 10 assists. 

Washington, which hit .205, had four players with 13 or more kills. Grote led with 16 as she hit .481 and had eight blocks and a dig. Claire Hoffman had 16 kills, three assists, a block, and 14 digs. Madi Endsley had 14 kills, three blocks, and four digs, and Samantha Drechsel had 13 kills, two assists, three aces, two blocks, and 15 digs. Ella May Powell had two kills, 52 assists, five blocks, and seven digs.

USCs Brooklyn Schirmer hitting against UCLA’s Iman Ndiaye/Photo courtesy of © Andy J. Gordon 2021

ALSO IN THE PAC-12 — Colorado was unbeaten, but now the Buffs are 9-1 after opening at Washington State (7-4). WSU swept 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 as Kalyah Williams had 10 kills each, Pia Timmer nine, and Katy Ryan seven with no errors in 10 swings. While the Cougars hit .274, CU hit .188. Leah Clayton had 14 kills for Colorado …

Stanford (6-3) beat visiting Cal (7-5) 24-26, 25-20, 25-22, 25-14. Stanford, which hit .344, got 21 kills from Kendall Kipp, who hit .441 and she had three blocks and six digs. Sami Francis had 19 kills and hit .425 and also had three blocks. Caitie Baird had 17 kills, an ace, two blocks, and 14 digs. Mima Mirkovic had zero errors in 40 attacks as she led Cal with 14 kills, hitting .350. Katie Smoot had 12 kills …

No. 19 UCLA (8-1) beat visiting USC (4-6) 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14 as the Bruins hit .333. Charitie Luper had 19 kills with three errors in 39 attacks to hit .410. Mac May had 13 kills. Brooke Botkin led USC with 18 kills. USC hit .179 …

Oregon (10-1) beat visiting Oregon State (2-9) 25-10, 25-14, 26-24. Brooke Nunviller had 11 kills and 10 digs for Oregon, which hit .390. Karson Bacon had eight kills with no errors in 11 swings and three blocks, and Morgan Lewis had nine kills with one error in 16 attacks and four blocks. Oregon State, which hit .093, got 11 kills from Kateryna Tkachenko.

BIG TEN — Nebraska (5-7) won at Northwestern 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16 behind 19 kills by Madi Kubik. Lindsay Krause had 15 kills and hit .500, and Kayla Caffey had 12 kills with one error in 17 attacks to hit .647. Hanna Lesiak had 14 kills for the Wildcats …

Illinois (9-3) had to go the distance to win at Iowa (2-9) before running away in the fifth, 24-26, 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 15-5. Megan Cooney led the Illini with 17 kills, two assists, three of her team’s eight aces, five blocks, and 11 digs. Iowa’s Courtney Buzzerio had 24 kills.

SEC — Ole Miss (12-0) continues to win. The Rebels took down Auburn (8-2) in four as Anna Bair had 16 kills in the road victory. Sasha Ratliff had 12 kills and six blocks, two solo, and Samantha Schnitta had 10 kills, three of her team’s seven aces, three blocks, and eight digs. Auburn’s Rebekah Rath had 19 kills … 

Texas A&M (8-3) won in four at Alabama (8-5) as Morgan Christon had 22 kills with five errors in 43 attacks to hit .395 … Jillian Gillen had 25 kills as Arkansas (10-2) beat visiting LSU (4-6) in four. Gillen had four of her team’s 11 aces, eight digs, and a block. Kylie Deberg had 15 kills for LSU … And South Carolina (9-2) beat visiting Georgia (4-8) in five. Four Gamecocks had 10 or more kills, 15 by Mikayla Robinson, who hit .591 and had two blocks. Lauren McCutcheon had 13 kills, two assists, 10 digs, and seven blocks, two solo. Kacie Evans had 15 kills for Georgia to go with an ace, two blocks, and 13 digs.

AROUND THE NATION — No. 1 Texas (9-0) hit .388 and steamrolled Rice (5-5) 25-14, 25-14, 25-14, as the Longhorns hit .388. Logan Eggleston led with 13 kills as she hit .265 and had two of her team’s seven aces, a block, and seven digs. Skylar Fields had eight kills in 18 errorless attacks, three blocks — one solo — and a dig. Brionne Butler had eight kills with one error in 11 attempts and two blocks, and Molly Phillips had seven kills with one error in 14 swings. Melanie Parra had four aces and seven digs. Nalani Iosia had 16 digs, three assist, and an ace.

Rice, completely overwhelmed at the net, hit .042. Nicole Lennon led with 12 kills, but she hit .184 to go with a block and eight digs …

Boston College (11-4) kicked off its ACC season by breaking a seven-match losing streak to Syracuse with with a four-set win over the visiting Orange (11-2). Claire Naughton had 21 kills for BC, while Polina Shemanova had 17 for Syracuse … 

SMU (5-6) swept its American Athletic match at Memphis (7-6) as the Mustangs hit .336. Hannah Jacobs led with 15 kills as she hit .591 and had three blocks and two digs …

Furman won its Southern Conference opener at Wofford in five as Bella Tolone had 21 kills, three assists, an ace, three blocks, and 11 digs. Maya Mrus had 16 kills, two assists, two aces, a block, and 24 digs … 

And poor Siena was so close in each set, but it dropped to 0-13 when it was swept by Albany 27-25, 25-23, 26-24.

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