There are two teams with 4-0 records in the SEC. One is Kentucky, which you’ll recall beat Florida on Sunday to earn its spot atop the standings.
The other? Ole Miss. And Wednesday night, the Rebels proved that their record isn’t just a fluke of scheduling with an upset of No. 22 Missouri in four sets.
The result marked a lot of firsts for Ole Miss: first time since 2010 it’s been 4-0 in conference play, first ranked win since 2010, and first victory ever in Columbia, home of the Mizzou Tigers.
In the Big Ten, Indiana came within inches of beating No. 20 Purdue for the first time since 2012. On the stat sheet, Indiana led the way in a number of statistical categories, including blocks (18-13), aces (5-3), hitting percentage (.175-.168), but Purdue found a way to avoid being upset in the deuce fifth set.
No. 1 Baylor logged its eighth consecutive sweep, this one over Iowa State, and No. 6 Minnesota had a season-high 16 blocks in a four-set victory over No. 17 Illinois. More on that match and rest of the results from around the country, but first a look at Thursday’s schedule.
Thursday has 29 matches, but only one in a Power Five conference — West Virginia (8-7, 0-3) at Kansas (4-9, 0-3) with both teams looking for their first Big 12 victory of the season — and just two featuring ranked team as No. 15 Colorado State (14-1, 4-0) hosts Mountain West opponent Fresno State (10-6, 3-1) and the West Conference’s top team, No. 9 BYU (14-2, 5-0), takes on San Francisco (4-11, 0-4), which is still looking for its first league win.
Also in the Mountain West, Air Force (4-12, 1-3) travels to Nevada (14-3, 4-1), Wyoming (8-7, 3-1) hosts San Diego State (9-6, 2-2), Utah State (1-15, 1-3) plays a road match at UNLV (6-9, 2-2), and New Mexico (5-11, 0-4) will look for its first conference win against Boise State (11-4, 3-1).
The WCC schedule also includes Saint Mary’s (4-10, 0-4) at Gonzaga (6-10, 0-4), Portland (8-7, 0-4) versus Pacific (10-6, 2-2), and Santa Clara (12-5, 2-2) on the road at San Diego (12-4, 5-0).
The Western Athletic Conference has four matches Thursday, beginning with Utah Valley (6-10, 3-1) hosting Kansas City (7-7, 3-1) with a bizarre start time of 11 a.m. MT. Then New Mexico State (13-3, 4-0) will look to extend its conference win streak to five in a row as it faces Cal State Bakersfield (7-9, 2-2). Also, Grand Canyon (13-3, 3-1) plays UT Rio Grande Valley (8-10, 2-2) in Edinburg, Texas, and the two bottom teams in the conference play as Seattle (9-9, 0-4) hosts Chicago State (4-14, 0-4).
In the Mid-American Conference, Western Michigan (11-5, 2-2) hosts Northern Illinois (5-13, 2-2) and Bowling Green (9-7, 3-1) goes to Miami of Ohio (7-8, 2-2).
It’s a busy night in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with three matches, including standing’s leader Prairie View A&M (6-17, 6-1) taking on Texas Southern (5-11, 4-3).
Montana State (7-6, 3-1) versus Northern Arizona (9-7, 2-2) leads the Big Sky slate, which features four matches in total, while the Big West has Long Beach State (4-11, 1-2) versus UC Davis (10-7, 2-2) and CSUN (5-10, 0-3) versus UC Riverside (5-10, 1-3).
James Madison (8-6, 2-2) will look to end a two-match skid as the Dukes go to Elon (8-9, 3-1), and Houston Baptist (10-9, 2-2) plays Sam Houston State (8-8, 4-0) in Huntsville as the host tries to stay undefeated in one of three Southland matches on Thursday.
Ole Miss upsets Mizzou: Ole Miss (12-3, 4-0) has now won 12 matches in a row as it got past the No. 22 Missouri Tigers (10-4, 2-2) in four (18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 29-27). The Rebels’ run of wins is the longest active streak in the SEC.
Senior outside hitter Emily Stroup leads Ole Miss with 228 kills on the season, and she was the team’s go-to again on Wednesday night, collecting 18 kills with five errors on 45 swings to hit .289. Freshman outside Anna Bair had 12, while senior middle Nayo Warnell made zero errors with six kills on 13 swings to hit .462. As a team, Ole Miss tallied 14 blocks, despite not getting any in the first set.
Missouri’s Kylie Deberg had 25 kills to lead all players.
Indiana stretches Purdue to the limit: Grace Cleveland led Purdue with 23 kills in Wednesday’s Big Ten matchup with in-state rival Indiana (26-24, 16-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-13), and freshman outside hitter Emma Ellis had a career night with 13.
The win means Purdue keeps the Monon Spike trophy, stretching its streak in the in-state rivalry to 14 in a row. But as both 2018 meetings went, Purdue needed five sets to get past Indiana.
“We out-hit them, out-blocked them, out-served them,” Indiana head coach Steve Aird said. “In every statistic, we win the match. That’s volleyball. Sorry we didn’t get it done, but look where we’ve come from and where we are. We’re not pouting. We competed like crazy.”
Purdue head coach Dave Shondell was equally proud of his team for surviving the challenge from Indiana, turning to Twitter to express his thoughts. “Our @PurdueVB demonstrated toughness in surviving a physical Indiana team in their beautiful new venue,” Shondell wrote. “In a match that took more turns than a southern Indiana road, this gutsy bunch persevered. We play this talented IU squad again in 2 weeks. But tonight, proud of our Boilers.”
Minnesota escapes Illinois: Blocking was huge for Minnesota in its four-set defeat (25-18, 29-27, 12-25, 25-23) of Illinois, as the Gophers tallied a season-high 16 stuffs to the Illini’s seven. Illinois, however, led the serving game with nine aces.
The entire match was a series of streaks and momentum swings, as Minnesota dominated the first set, then had set point 24-17 in the second before Illinois went on an eight-point run to take their own set point. In the third set, Illinois hit .519 to win by 13 points.
Minnesota setter Bayley McMenimen, starting in her fourth match in a row while Kylie Miller remains sidelined, had 37 assists and her first collegiate kill.
On Illinois’ side of the net, Megan Cooney tied her career high with 19 kills, and Jacqueline Quade had 18. Libero Morgan O’Brien set a new season high with a match-leading 23 digs.
Baylor sweeps Iowa State: Sure, it was a sweep, and Baylor’s streak of three-setters grows to eight in a row, but the Cyclones pushed Baylor to the limit in the first and third sets (26-24, 25-18, 27-25).
The Bears hit a season-low .214 and star outside hitter Yossiana Pressley had eight errors to go with her 15 kills to hit .156. Shelly Stafford had 10 kills and hit a team-high .412. Setter Hannah Lockin scored her seventh double-double of the season with 33 assists and 15 digs.
Iowa State won the blocking contest eight to five, led by Candelaria Herrera with six block assists.
“I thought we could have been better tonight,” Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “Hopefully for us it’s not about keeping this straight set alive, it’s about the points. I thought we gave away way too many points. Iowa State is great. They’re still young, and now they’re rocking and rolling. I thought they exposed some things tonight. We’ve just got to find ways to win. We won ugly tonight.”
K-State pushes Texas: In another Big 12 match that was closer than the final scoreline might indicate, No. 4 Texas swept Kansas State (32-30, 25-17, 25-18).
K-State hit just .080 in the first set, but still managed to push the scoreline well past 25, in part due to strong serving. The Wildcats collected four of their seven aces in that first set.
“We were fighting off some gnarly stuff and I thought our dig effort was really good,” Kansas State head coach Suzie Fritz said after the match. “I thought [libero] Loren Hinkle did a nice job there getting lots of touches on balls.”
Logan Eggleston led Texas with 11 kills, while Skylar Fields had 10. Brionne Butler, who played the first two sets, hit 1.000 with six kills and no errors on six swings. She also had a match high five block assists and a solo block.
Senior outside hitter Micaya White was relatively quiet on offense, collecting just eight kills on 36 swings, but she set a new season-high with a match-leading 18 digs.
Around the nation: The third Big Ten match of the night featured Wisconsin (9-4, 5-0) blanking Northwestern (9-8, 0-5) on the road 25-23, 25-15, 25-19. Dana Rettke scored her 1,000th career kill to give Wisconsin match point in the third. She finished the match with nine to go with five block assists …
In the sole ACC match of the day, Georgia Tech (9-7, 2-3) swept Clemson (6-10,0-5) 25-17, 25-20, 25-20. In the Yellow Jackets’ first conference sweep of the season, Kodie Comby led with 12 kills and two errors, hitting .556. As a team, GT hit .366 to Clemson’s .241 …
The second set in the SEC match between Alabama (11-5, 3-2) and Mississippi State (11-6, 0-5) went to 39-37 before going MSU’s way. It was the longest set in Alabama volleyball history since 2007 (longest for MSU since the rally scoring era began in 2008).
Five Tide players recorded double-digit kills, led by Ginger Perinar with 15. Mississippi State setter Alleah Stamatis had 16 digs and an MSU career-high 51 assists for her ninth double-double of the year …
Both Big East matches were decided in straight sets with St. John’s (11-7, 3-2) over Villanova (12-4, 3-2) and Seton Hall (7-12, 2-3) topping Georgetown (11-8, 1-4) …
Preseason CAA Player of the Year Laura Masciullo had 16 kills hitting .444 in Hofstra’s (9-7, 2-2) 25-20, 25-18, 25-18 sweep of Northeastern (7-9, 1-3) …
Youngstown State (7-11, 1-4) came back from down 0-2 to defeated IUPUI (6-12, 2-3) in five sets (21-25, 26-28, 25-19, 25-22, 15-13) and log its first Horizon League win of the season. Margaux Thompson recorded a double-double with a match-high 17 kills and team-best 21 digs. IUPUI libero Rachel Hickey topped all players with 27 digs …
The Horizon League slate also saw Wright State (16-1, 5-0) win in four over Cleveland State (5-11, 1-4) and Oakland (9-8, 2-3) get past Northern Kentucky (10-7, 3-2) in five. Oakland set a new program record with 126 digs in the match, led by Lindsay Wightman’s 34, sixth-most in program history. Oakland also won the blocking battle 14 to 3.5.
Despite the loss, NKU set its own impressive tally with 117 digs and got 21 kills and a career-best 27 digs from Laura Crawford …
Quinnipiac (6-9, 2-4) downed Marist (6-10, 4-2) in four, while their fellow MAAC squad Manhattan (3-15, 1-5) suffered a four-set loss to nonconference foe St. Francis Brooklyn (7-11, 1-3) …
Robert Morris (14-3, 4-0) remained undefeated in the NEC, sweeping St. Francis …
Ohio Valley Conference leaders Murray State (10-7, 4-1) and Morehead State (13-4, 4-1) both won again, beating Austin Peay (5-14, 3-2) and Eastern Kentucky (6-13, 1-4), respectively …
Finally, Mercer swept Chattanooga, and SFA swept New Orleans.