Another Freaky Friday as upsets, reverse sweeps shake up NCAA volleyball

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Washington libero Laura Bays actually kept this ball alive as it traveled far beyond the end line, but the Huskies couldn't convert for the point against UCLA/Stephen Burns photo

Is it going to be like this all season, volleyball chaos with upsets and reverse sweeps galore?

Evidently.

Call it Freaky Friday II in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball.

Four teams in the AVCA Top 25 were upset as No. 4 Purdue lost to visiting Illinois, No. 9 Baylor lost to unranked Texas Tech, No. 16 Creighton lost to unranked St. John’s, and No, 18 Georgia Tech, despite 30 kills from Julia Bergmann, lost to unranked Notre Dame. 

The three unbeatens — No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Pittsburgh, and No. 3 Louisville — all won in sweeps, as did No. 5 Wisconsin, over No. 7 Minnesota.

But No. 13 Washington, its season perhaps on the brink after starting out 0-2 in the Pac-12 and then down 0-2 to visiting No. 15 UCLA, came back to win in five. That’s the same Washington team that opened Pac-12 play by losing to Utah in five and then lost to Washington State in five, a match in which the Huskies won the fourth set 46-44. Washington is the poster child for the madness this season.

Western Kentucky, ranked No. 21, swept at FIU as Lauren Matthews had 13 kills in 14 errorless attacks to hit .929. She also had five blocks, two solo. 

And that’s not all of it, of course. That Friday reference? Just a week earlier, as conference play began around the nation, unpredictability ruled the day.

The highlights follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule.

In the Big Ten, Maryland plays at No. 8 Ohio State, No. 14 Penn State goes to Indiana, Purdue is home against Rutgers, Minnesota goes to Northwestern, and Michigan is at Iowa. 

The Big 12 has the new league leader, Kansas, home for Iowa State, Kansas State at Oklahoma, and Texas Tech back at Baylor. 

The SEC slate includes No. 20 Tennessee home for Texas A&M, and No. 22 Florida home for Ole Miss. Also, LSU is at Mississippi State, Alabama is at Auburn, and Georgia is at Arkansas.

The ACC and Pac-12 have Saturday off. 

All three ranked West Coast Conference teams are in action as No. 10 BYU is at San Francisco, No. 23 Pepperdine is home for Loyola Marymount, and No. 25 San Diego goes to Santa Clara. Western Kentucky is back at FIU. 

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BIG TEN — Illinois is 11-3 and tied for the lead at 3-0 after it’s stunning 30-28, 25-15, 26-24, 18-25, 15-10 victory at Purdue (10-2, 2-1). Illinois hadn’t beaten a team ranked so high since knocking off No. 1 USC in the 2011 national semifinals. What’s more, Illinois won for the fifth time in six trips to Purdue. Illinois won despite hitting .179 as it had four aces and 11 serving errors. Purdue hit .213 and had six aces and seven errors. Megan Cooney led the Illini with 21 kills, two blocks, and nine digs. Taylor Kuper had 25 digs, eight assists, and an ace, and Diana Brown had 50 assists, an ace, and 15 digs. Caitlyn Newton had 19 kills for Purdue with an ace, two blocks, and 14 digs. Jena Otec had 23 digs, four assists, and two aces, Hayley Bush had two kills, 47 assists, and 15 digs … 

Wisconsin (10-1, 2-1) beat visiting Minnesota (7-4, 2-1) 25-17, 25-22, 25-17 as freshman Julia Orzol had 17 kills, hit .333, and had four assists, an ace, a block, and 10 digs. Dana Rettke had 13 kills, hit .611, and had a block. Lauren Barnes had 23 digs. Stephanie Samedy had 16 kills for Minnesota … 

All-American middle Lauren Stivrins, back for her first match after recovering from back surgery, led with 11 kills as Nebraska (9-3, 3-0) dispatched visiting Michigan (8-4, 1-2) 25-14, 25-15, 25-13. Stivrins had no errors in 15 swings and three blocks. Madi Kubik had 11 kills with one error in 22 attacks, three assists, two blocks, and seven digs … Michigan State (8-4, 1-2)  swept at Iowa (2-11, 0-3), and Northwestern (6-8, 1-2) swept Rutgers (8-6, 0-3). 

Washington’s Marin Grote, left, and UCLA’s Shelby Martin battle at the net/Stephen Burns photo

PAC-12 — Washington (8-3, 1-2) fell behind 0-2 to UCLA (9-2, 2-1) before winning 21-25, 21-25, 25-13, 27-25, 15-12. The Huskies trailed 11-8 in the fifth before taking over. Claire Hoffman led with 20 kills as she hit .308 and had two aces, a block, and seven digs. Samantha Drechsel had 15 kills with two errors in 30 attacks to hit .433 and had two assists, an ace, four blocks, and nine digs. Marin Grote had 10 kills, hit .368, and had 10 blocks, two solo. Ella May Powell had two kills in five errorless tries, 47 assists, five blocks, and 11 digs. Her team hit .273. Lauren Bays had 13 digs, some fairly spectacular, six assists, and an ace. UCLA, which hit .204, got 20 kills from Mac May, who had an assist, an ace, a block, and nine digs … 

No. 11 Oregon (12-3, 3-0) won in four at No. 24 Colorado (10-2, 2-1) as six players had eight or more kills, 13 by Brooke Nuneviller, who had an ace, a solo block, and 13 digs. Abby Hansen had 10 kills with one error in 18 attacks and eight blocks. Georgia Murphy had 27 digs, six assists, and an ace … USC (6-6, 2-1) won in four at Washington State (8-5, 2-1). Brooke Botkin led with 15 kills, an ace, nine digs, and four blocks, one solo. Tyrah Ariail had 13 kills with one error in 22 attacks, five blocks, and two digs. 

WSU, which had won eight in a row, got 17 kills from Pia Timmer … No. 19 Utah (9-3, 2-1) swept visiting Oregon State (2-11, 0-3) … No. 17 Stanford (7-4, 2-1) beat visiting Arizona State (7-7, 0-3) in four as Caitie Baird had 22 kills, hit .419, and had three blocks and eight digs. Kendall Kipp had 16 kills, hit .371, and had two aces, four blocks, and seven digs. Holly Campbell had 10 kills and six blocks, and Sami Francis had 10 kills and five blocks. … Arizona (11-3, 3-0) won in four at Cal (7-7, 0-3) as Merle Weidt had 16 kills with two errors in 20 attacks, and five blocks, one solo.

ACC — Notre Dame (4-9, 1-2) was yet another team that went down 0-2 before winning 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 16-14 at Georgia Tech (11-2, 2-1). Aubrey Hamilton led with 20 kills as she hit .375. Julia Bergmann had 30 kills for Georgia Tech as she hit .317 and had two assists, two blocks, and 11 digs. The Yellow Jackets had won seven in a row …

Pittsburgh (14-0, 4-0) hit .354 and swept visiting Duke (10-4, 1-2). Kayla Lund led with 4 kills as the Panthers won their 27th set in the last 29 … Louisville (13-0, 3-0) swept at Clemson (10-4, 2-1) as the Cardinals hit .366. Anna DeBeer led with 11 kills as she hit .375 and had an assist, an ace, a block, and eight digs … 

Florida State (-3. 2-1) beat visiting NC State in four and hit .367. Morgan Chacon led with 15 kills, Khori Louis had 14 with no errors in 22 attacks and eight digs, one solo, and Emma Clothier had 13 kills with one error in 19 attacks. Melissa Evans led NC State with 18 kills … Miami (11-2, 2-1)  beat visiting North Carolina (11-3, 0-3)  in five. Angela Grieve led with 18 kills, an assist, an ace, three blocks, and five digs. UNC’s Nia Robinson had 24 kills and Mabrey Shaffmaster had 21 …Boston College (12-5, 2-1) beat visiting Virginia Tech (9-6, 0-3) in five behind 17 kills from Clare Naughton, who had a block and 13 digs.

BIG 12 — Texas Tech (11-5, 1-2) beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since 1996 with its 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 18-16 victory at Baylor (7-4, 2-1). Kenna Sauer led the Red Raiders with 19 kills, an ace, two blocks, and 17 digs. Reagan Cooper had 14 kills, and Karrington Jones had 11 kills, an assist, three blocks, and four digs. Alex Kirby had 44 assists, three kills in 12 errorless attempts, and seven digs. Avery Skinner had 27 kills for Baylor, hit .308 and had three blocks and 12 digs. Shanel Bramschreiber had 24 digs and four assists. Hannah Sedwick had three kills in four errorless tries, 59 assists, an ace, two blocks, and eight digs …

Kansas, 11-3 overall, is off to a 3-0 start after beating Iowa State (10-4, 2-1) in four. Jenny Moser had 15 kills, an ace, two blocks, and 17 digs … Top-ranked Texas (11-0, 2-0) swept visiting West Virginia (12-3, 2-2) as the Longhorns hit .359. Skylar Fields led with 15 kills as she hit .481 … Oklahoma 7-7, 1-2) beat visiting Kansas State (9-5, 0-3) in four.

SEC — In the only two matches Friday, South Carolina (11-3, 3-1) won in four at Missouri (3-13, 0-3), and Mississippi State (11-4, 2-1) swept visiting LSU (5-7, 1-2). Kyla Manning had 18 kills for South Carolina to go with two assists, two aces, four digs, and five blocks, one solo. Mississippi State’s Gaby Waden had 15 kills, hit .433, and had a dig and four blocks.

AROUND THE NATION — St John’s beat visiting Creighton in four in the Big East as Rachelle Rastelli had 22 kills, three aces, 10 digs and five blocks. Creighton (14-2) had won nine in a row since losing to Nebraska … Also in the Big East, Seton Hall beat Providence in five, but PC’s Shaliyah Rhoden had 23 kills and seven digs … 

Old Dominion beat visiting UAB in five in Conference USA, but UAB’s Fernanda Maia had 32 kills, two aces, seven digs, and three blocks … Also in C-USA, Rhett Robinson had 25 kills as North Texas won in four at Louisiana Tech 

Milwaukee went down 0-2 to visiting Wright State in the Horizon League but rallied for a five-set victory as Madi Malone had 29 kills, hit .318, and had 14 digs and two blocks … Madi Tyus had 28 kills for Saint Francis (PA) in its five-set Northeast Conference win over Sacred Heart. She hit .381 and had an ace, 10 digs, and three blocks … 

UCF won in five at Wichita State as McKenna Melville had 23 kills, two assists, two aces, 19 digs, and a block in the American Athletic match. Amber Olson had 51 assists, two aces, two blocks, and 10 digs … Morgan Bossler had 21 kills with one error in 35 attacks as Winthrop won against Presbyterian in five in the Big South … Hawai’i hit .349 in its sweep of visiting Long Beach State. Erykah Lovett had 15 kills with one error in 32 swings in the Big West match …

Princeton hit .344 in its sweep of Dartmouth. Avery Luoma had 15 kills, hit .591, and had two aces, six digs, and a block … Akron won in five at Miami, and Alexis Adleta had 23 kills in the Mid-American victory. She hit .417 and had two aces, 15 digs, and two blocks … Also in the MAC, Ball State hit .388 in a sweep of Ohio, and NIU beat Eastern Michigan in four as Katie Jablonski had 19 kills and 18 digs … 

In the Missouri Valley, Missouri State won in five at Illinois State but ISU’s Tamara Olene had 23 kills, hit .320 and had an assist, six digs, and two blocks … Also in the Valley, Bradley beat SIU in five but the Salukis’ Nataly Garcia had 21 kills and 14 digs … Abby Hamilton had 21 kills for Loyola in a Patriot League win at LehighChattanooga won in five at Furman as Maia Rackel had 21 kills in the Southern Conference match … In the Sun Belt, Texas State hit .435 in a sweep of Louisiana-Monroe as Janell Fitzgerald had 11 kills with one error in 18 attacks, an assist, an ace, 11 digs, and three blocks. Kelsey Bennett had 21 kills for Louisiana-Lafayette to go with two aces, 21 digs, and five blocks, one solo, in a win at UT Arlington.

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