NCAA volleyball: Minnesota grinds past NW, Pepperdine survives on an upset-free Saturday

Serene Saturday?

After a day of NCAA Division I volleyball madness, Saturday had no upsets in the AVCA Top 25,  although No. 7 Minnesota went down 0-2 before rallying to win its Big Ten match at Northwestern, and No. 23 Pepperdine had to go five to beat visiting Loyola Marymount in the West Coast Conference. There were 12 matches Saturday involving ranked teams, and only three other teams lost a set.

It sets up a Sunday with 50 matches, including two in the Big Ten: No. 5 Wisconsin goes to Illinois, which is coming off its upset of Purdue, and No. 12 Nebraska plays host to Michigan State.

In the Pac-12, No. 13 Washington is home for USC, and No. 15 UCLA is at Washington State. There are only two teams left unbeaten at 3-0 in the conference, Arizona and Oregon. Arizona goes to No. 17 Stanford, and No. 11 Oregon goes to No. 19 Utah. Arizona State plays at Cal. 

There are seven ACC matches, including unbeaten No. 3 Louisville at No. 18 Georgia Tech. Second-ranked Pittsburgh is off. Also in the ACC: Virginia Tech is at Syracuse, North Carolina is at Florida State, Notre Dame is at Clemson, Wake Forest is at Boston College, NC State is at Miami, and Duke is at Virginia.

The SEC schedule has No. 20 Tennessee home for Texas A&M, No. 22 Florida home for Ole Miss, and Alabama at Auburn.

The Big 12 and West Coast Conference are off.

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BIG TEN — Northwestern (6-9, 1-3) was so close, rallying with four points in a row to take a 24-23 lead in the fourth, but ultimately fell to Minnesota (8-4, 3-1) 24-26, 19-25, 25-18, 31-29, 15-7. Stephanie Samedy had 23 kills, seven digs, and five blocks, two solo for the Gophers, and Taylor Landfair had 20 kills with one error in 39 attacks, three digs, and five blocks, three solo. Minnesota hit .182, and Northwestern .172. Temi Thomas-Ailara had 21 kills for the Wildcats plus an ace, 16 digs, and four blocks, one solo … 

Eighth-ranked Ohio State (12-2, 2-2) swept visiting Maryland (13-3, 1-3) as five players had eight or more kills in a 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 win, 12 by Gabby Gonzales … No. 14 Penn State (11-3, 4-0) won in four at Indiana (7-9, 1-3) behind 19 kills by Jonni Parker, who had three blocks and 11 digs. Breanna Edwards had 18 kills, and Mady Saris 17 for IU … No. 4 Purdue (11-2, 3-1) swept Rutgers (8-7, 0-4). Grace Cleveland led with 13 kills as she hit .750 with one error in 16 attacks to go with an ace, four blocks, and three digs … And Michigan (9-4, 2-2) swept at Iowa (2-12, 0-4). Jess Mruzik led with 12 kills, six digs, and two blocks, one solo.

SEC — No. 20 Tennessee (12-2, 4-0) swept Texas A&M (9-4, 2-1). Morgan Fingall led with 11 kills, an assist, four aces, seven digs, and four blocks, one solo. It was Tennessee’s 10th sweep of the season … No. 22 Florida (9-5, 3-1) swept Ole Miss (12-2, 2-1) as the Gators hit .444, with 51 kills on 99 attacks with seven errors. Thayer Hall led with 14 kills as she hit .342 and had six digs and three blocks, one solo … Arkansas (11-4, 2-2) swept Georgia (4-10, 0-3)  behind 17 kills from Taylor Head … Mississippi State (12-4, 3-1) had to go five to beat visiting LSU (5-8, 1-3), and Auburn (9-4, 1-2) won in five against visiting Alabama (8-7, 0-3) as Rebekah Rath had 22 kills, an assist, six blocks, and 11 digs, and Tatum Shipes had seven kills and 12 blocks, two solo.

BIG 12 — Ninth-ranked Baylor (8-4, 3-1), upset by Texas Tech (11-6, 1-3) on Friday, bounced back with a four-set win. Avery Skinner had 22 kills, 10 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Yossiana Pressley had 20 kills, an assist, an ace, eight digs, and a block … Iowa State (11-4, 3-1) hit .368 and bounced back by sweeping at Kansas (11-4, 3-1) to break the Jayhawks’ nine-match winning streak. Eleanor Holthaus had 15 kills for the Cyclones … Kansas State (10-5, 1-3) won in four at Oklahoma (7-8, 1-3). Holly Bonde had 20 kills for K-State, hit .372 and had four blocks, two solo.

WEST COAST — Pepperdine (12-1, 4-0) got all it could handle from visiting LMU (12-2, 3-1) in a 25-23, 34-32, 20-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory. Rachel Ahrens and Grace Chillingsworth led the Waves with 18 kills each. Audrey Klemp had 18 for LMU … No. 10 BYU (14-1, 4-0) swept at San Francisco (0-13, 0-5) … No. 25 San Diego (10-3, 4-0) won in four at Santa Clara (4-11, 0-5) … Pacific (6-10, 3-2) won in four at Gonzaga (5-10, 1-3) … Saint Mary’s (8-6, 2-3) won in five at Portland (4-9, 1-3). 

AROUND THE NATION — No. 16 Creighton bounced back from being upset in the Big East by St. John’s by sweeping at Seton Hall, and St. John’s lost in four to visiting Providence … Also in the Big East, Giselle Williams had 22 kills for Georgetown in a loss to Xavier 

Western Kentucky rolls on. The No. 21 Hilltoppers (15-1, 4-0 Conference USA) swept FIU for their eighth win in a row. Lauren Matthews had 11 kills and hit .381 to go with four blocks, three solo … Also in C-USA, Rice stayed unbeaten in league play with a sweep of UTEP, and Fernanda Maia had 27 kills, an ace, 15 digs, and two blocks for Old Dominion in its four-set loss to UAB

FGCU, the only team left unbeaten in league play, moved to 13-4 overall, 5-0 in the ASUN, with a five-set win at North Florida. Skylar English had 17 kills with no errors in 27 attacks to hit .630 and had a dig and two blocks … In the Atlantic 10, Saint Louis (11-6, 4-0) moved a half-game ahead of idle Dayton with a sweep of Fordham … Northern Colorado and Weber State swept to stay atop the Big Sky at 4-0 … In the Big South, Winthrop and Campbell won to stay tied with idle High Point atop the league at 4-0 …

Elon (10-5, 5-0) got a big four-set Colonial Athletic Association win at Towson (15-2, 3-2) as Natalie Cummins, Leah Daniel, and Sydney Love had 12 kills apiece … Columbia lost its Ivy League match in four to Brown, but Noelle Foster had 24 kills … Morgan Romano had 24 kills and hit .419 to go with an assist, six aces, 13 digs and two blocks for Rider in its four-set Metro Atlantic win over Siena … Also in the MAAC, Marist won in four at Saint Peter’s as Jordan Newblatt had 26 kills, an ace, 20 digs, and three blocks, one solo … 

MAC-tion Saturday included Eastern Michigan getting 20 kills from Samantha Basham in a five-set win at NIU. Basham hit .383 and had an ace, two digs, and four blocks … Loyola is alone atop the Missouri Valley at 4-0 after beating Indiana State in four. Also in the Valley, Amelia Flynn had 21 kills but Missouri State lost to Bradley 

In the Mountain West, five teams are tied for the lead at 3-1, and three others are 2-2. UNLV beat New Mexico in four to leave both 3-1, and Utah State swept San Jose State to leave both at 3-1. The other team at 3-1 is Colorado State, which was off Saturday … 

Madi Tyus had 23 kills for Saint Francis (PA) in a four-set Northeast Conference loss to Central Connecticut … Leanna Deegan keeps crushing it for Lafayette. She had 24 kills and six digs in a four-set Patriot win over Loyola Maryland

Oral Roberts is the surprising leader in the Summit League at 4-0 after beating South Dakota State in five. Omaha is 3-0 after beating Denver in four. Denver and South Dakota are each 3-1 … NM State beat California Baptist in five in the WAC, and Katie Birtcil had 19 kills, an assist, two aces, 14 digs and four blocks. 

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Temi Thomas-Ailara goes against the Minnesota block of Katie Myers, left, and Melani Shaffmaster/Michael Gomez photo

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