NCAA volleyball: Texas escapes KU; Wisconsin, UK, Purdue, Minnesota, BYU, Penn St., Florida win; 31 kills for Marist’s Newblatt

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Louisiana's Cami Hicks, and Kelsey Bennett, block Little Rock's Laure Jansen/Louisiana photo

Kansas came oh so close to knocking off visiting No. 1 Texas in the Big 12, but the unbeaten Longhorns prevailed 18-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-13, thanks to Skylar Fields.

That was the only upset scare Saturday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. 

There were 10 other matches involving ranked teams. Six ended in sweeps, and the others went four, although No. 4 Wisconsin lost the first set of its Big Ten match to Illinois, and No. 20 Florida did the same at LSU in the SEC.

No. 9 BYU won its ninth match in a row, all sweeps, as it hit .472 in its West Coast Conference win over Gonzaga. UC Santa Barbara hit .466 in a Big West win over Cal State Fullerton.

Line of the day: Marist’s Jordan Newblatt set the school record with 31 kills in a four-set Metro Atlantic victory over Canisius. She also had two assists and 21 digs. Jackson State’s Alexis Williams had 39 kills Saturday, but that was in two SWAC victories.

The recaps and highlights follow, but first a look at Sunday’s schedule, which includes seven ACC matches.

The big one is in Pittsburgh, where the No. 2 Panthers put their unbeaten record on the line against No. 18 Georgia Tech. The other unbeaten, No. 3 Louisville, is home for Syracuse. Also, Clemson is at Virginia, Virginia Tech is at North Carolina, Florida State is at Duke, Boston College is at Notre Dame, and Wake Forest is at NC State.

Texas is back at Kansas in the day’s only Big 12 match.

There are two Big Ten matches — No. 7 Ohio State home for Michigan, which is coming off that upset of Minnesota, and  No.10 Nebraska at Rutgers. 

The Pac-12 has six matches, two involving Top 25 matchups — No. 17 Stanford at No. 14 Oregon, and No. 15 Utah at No. 16 UCLA. All four of those teams are tied for the lead at 4-1. Also, No. 11 Washington is at Arizona State, Washington State is at Arizona, and Cal is at Oregon State.

In the SEC, Florida is back at LSU, and Auburn returns to Arkansas.

The Big East has No. 19 Creighton at Marquette. There’s a battle between two of the four teams tied for the American Athletic lead when Tulane plays at UCF. 

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BIG 12 — Texas had to pull the reverse sweep to improve to 12-0 overall, 3-0 in the conference. Skylar Fields led Texas with 26 kills, hit .373 and had a block and a dig. In the fifth set, Fields had six kills and hit .417. Logan Eggleston added 18 kills, two aces, and 20 digs, and Asjia O’Neal had 12 kills, hit .391, and had an ace, two digs, and three blocks, one solo. Brionne Butler had seven kills with one error in 13 attacks, and Molly Phillips had seven kills in 22 errorless swings. Jhenna Gabriel had a kill, 57 assists, two blocks, and 13 digs. Her team hit .312 but had only four blocks.

Kansas (11-5, 3-2) had four players with 10 or more kills, a career-high 21 by freshman Carolina Bien, who had a block and six digs. Jenny Mosser had 12 kills, two solo blocks, and 15 digs … 

In the only other Big 12 match, TCU (7-7, 1-3), which lost to visiting Oklahoma (8-9, 2-4) in five Friday, won in five in the rematch. Julia Adams led with 16 kills. Megan Wilson had 17 kills for Oklahoma, hit .375 and had an assist, two digs, and five blocks, four solo.

BIG TEN — Fourth-ranked Wisconsin (13-1, 5-1) lost the first set then stormed back against visiting Illinois (11-6, 3-3) to win 25-27, 25-20, 25-9, 25-15. Dana Rettke had 15 kills with one error in 32 attacks and eight blocks. Grace Loberg had 13 kills, and Devyn Robinson 10. Illinois, which hit .056, got 13 kills from Raina Terry, who had two aces, three blocks, and 11 digs. Jessie Nunge had 10 kills … No. 6 Purdue (13-2,5-1) swept at Iowa (2-14, 0-6) as Caitlyn Newton had 12 kills, Grace Cleveland 11, and Raven Colvin 10 in the 25-18, 25-12, 25-16 victory. Taylor Trammel had six kills in nine errorless swings and five blocks … No. 13 Penn State (12-4, 5-1) beat visiting Northwestern (7-10, 2-4) and hit  .372 in the 25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19 win. Katlyn Hord had 13 kills and hit .572, and Allie Holland had 11 kills, hit .500, and had four blocks … Maryland (14-4, 2-4) swept visiting Indiana (8-10, 2-4) behind Rainelle Jones, who had 11 kills, hit .474 and added 12 blocks, one solo … And Minnesota (9-5, 4-2) won in four at Michigan State (8-7, 1-5). Jenna Wenaas had 17 kills, and Airi Miyabe 16. Melani Shaffmaster had five kills with one error in 10 attempts, 43 assists, an ace, two blocks, and 13 digs.

SEC — All three ranked teams won Saturday. Fifth-ranked Kentucky (11-3, 4-0) swept at Alabama (8-9, 0-5) as Alli Stumler and Azhani Tealer had 11 kills, and Reagan Rutherford 10 … No. 20 Florida (11-5, 4-1) won in four at LSU (6-9, 2-4). Lauren Forte led with 15 kills and hit .565 and had four blocks. Merritt Beason had 13 kills and five blocks … No. 22 Tennessee (14-3, 6-1) hit .376 and swept at South Carolina (11-5, 3-3). Lily Felts led with 13 kills, hit .400 and had two assists, three aces, two blocks, and nine digs … And Arkansas (13-4, 4-2) got 19 kills apiece from Taylor Head and Jillian Gillen and 15 from Ellease Crumpton as it swept visiting Auburn (10-5, 2-3). Head and Crumpton had five blocks each.

WEST COAST — Ninth-ranked BYU (16-1, 6-0) crushed visiting Gonzaga (5-12, 1-5) 25-7, 25-20, 25-14 for its ninth win in a row, all sweeps. Taylen Ballard-Nixon led with 10 kills, hit .471 and had an assist, an ace, two digs, and a block. Heather Gneiting had nine kills with one error in 15 attacks and six blocks, two solo; Kenzie Koerber had nine kills with one error in 17 attacks; and Erin Livingston had nine kills with one error in 19 attacks. Gonzaga hit .034 …

No. 23 Pepperdine (13-2, 5-1) bounced back from being upset at Pacific by sweeping at Saint Mary’s (8-8, 2-5). Rachel Ahrens had 15 kills, hit .323, and had three aces, a block, and three digs … No. 25 San Diego (12-3, 6-0) won its sixth in a row, a sweep of visiting Portland (4-11, 1-5), to keep pace with BYU. Grace Frohling led with 19 kills as she hit .469 and had three assists, two aces, three digs, and four blocks, one solo … Santa Clara (5-11, 1-5) swept visiting San Francisco (0-14, 0-6) … Loyola Marymount (14-2, 5-1) won in five at Pacific (7-11, 4-3). Audrey Klemp had 13 kills and five blocks.

Georgetown’s Peyton Wilhite hits through the UConn block/Rafael Suanes, Georgetown photo

AROUND THE NATION — In the Big West, Hawai’i and UC Santa Barbara are 6-0 and Cal Poly is 5-1. Hawai’i won in four at UC Irvine. Amber Igiede had nine kills with one error in 20 attacks and five blocks … UCSB hit .466 as it swept visiting Cal State Fullerton. Michele Ohwobete led with 13 kills .. Cal Poly swept at UC Davis as Jamie Stivers had 15 kills, hit .361, and had an assist, seven digs, and a block … 

Things couldn’t be more bunched up than they are in the WAC, where three teams have three victories atop the Southwest Division. Idle NM State leads the West with a 4-1 record, and four others have three wins each. In a match between two of the teams that left the Southland for the WAC, Sam Houston (3-0) swept Stephen F. Austin (3-1). Sarah Cruz had 19 kills for UTRGV (3-1) in its win at Tarleton StateChicago State (3-3) beat visiting Grand Canyon (3-2) in five as Yanlis Feliz led with 21 kills, three assists, 18 digs, and seven blocks, three solo … And Utah Valley (3-2) hit .350 and swept at California Baptist (2-3) …

Emma Schurfranz had 25 kills for Kennesaw State in its five-set ASUN win at Stetson. She hit .375 and had three aces and four blocks … Dayton swept Davidson in the A10, and Jamie Peterson had eight kills, seven aces, six digs, and six blocks, one solo … Also in the A10, George Washington won in five at Rhode Island, but URI’s Brynne Wright had 21 kills … Rachelle Rastelli had 21 kills for St. John’s in its Big East win at Xavier. She had an assist, an ace, four digs, and four blocks, two solo … Also in the Big East, Georgetown got its first league win when it beat UConn. Peyton Wilhite had 15 kills, three blocks, and 17 digs … 

Portland State won its Big Sky match in four against Northern Arizona, and libero Ellie Snook had 25 kills, five assists, and two aces … High Point has won six in a row, all in the Big South. In a victory over Hampton, Gabrielle Idlebird had 11 kills and three blocks, and Maria Miggins had 11 kills, hit .643, and had 14 assists, two aces, and 12 digs … 

Surprising Middle Tennessee improved to 7-5 but 5-1 in Conference USA with a five-set win over FIU. Kayla Henley led with 20 kills and hit .400 … 

In the Colonial, James Madison won in five at Elon to take sole possession of the league at 4-1. Elon is tied with Towson, which won in five at College of Charleston, at 5-2. JMU’s Miette Veldman had 11 kills, hit .367, and had two aces and seven blocks. Towson’s Emily Jarome had 17 kills, hit .341, and had an ace, 14 digs, and three blocks … 

Cornell swept Penn in the Ivy League and hit .443. Four players had 10 or more kills, 14 by Casey Justus, who hit .550 … Also in the Ivy, Brown’s Sophia Miller had 20 kills in a four-set win over Harvard … 

Marist beat visiting Canisius in four as Jordan Newblatt had 31 kills in the Metro Atlantic victory. Newblatt had five errors in 65 attacks to hit .400 and had two assists and 21 digs. Teammate Gabriella Heimbauer added 18 kills, and Morgan Owens had 28 digs, seven assists, and an ace … 

Bowling Green, at 6-0, is the only team left unbeaten in Mid-American Conference play. The Falcons, who lead the East Division, swept previously unbeaten Western Michigan, which now it tied with Ball State and Toledo with one loss each in the West Division. Bowling Green hit .394 against WMU and Katelyn Meyer led with 13 kills as she hit .423 and had two blocks … Ball State won in five at Buffalo as four players had 10 or more kills, 18 by Marie Plitt, who hit .429 and had an assist, two aces, five digs, and three blocks … 

Missouri State won its Missouri Valley match in four against visiting Drake, but Drake’s Hayley Bush had 25 kills and 14 digs … 

The three teams tied for the Mountain West lead at 5-1 all won. Colorado State won in four at San Jose State as Jacqi Van Liefde had 15 kills with no errors in 31 attacks and five digs … UNLV swept visiting Fresno State and hit .352 … and New Mexico beat Boise State in four as Kaitlyn Biassou had 19 kills, and Uxue Guereca had 18. Boise’s Lauren Ohling had 22 kills, two assists, nine digs, and five blocks … 

LIU won in four at St. Francis Brooklyn, and Jovana Stekovic had 25 kills in the Northeast Conference victory. She hit .367 and had an assist, 19 digs, and two blocks … 

Logan Wallick had 18 kills for UT Martin, which kept its half-game lead in the Ohio Valley Conference with a four-set win over Murray State. Wallick had two errors in 33 attacks, and UT Martin won its sixth in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since 2011 … 

Lafayette’s Leeana Deegan, who will be featured here this week, did it again, this time leading the Leopards past Navy in four with 20 kills, an assist, 10 digs, and three blocks in the Patriot League … Also in the PL, Abby Hamilton had 20 kills, nine digs, an assist and an ace for Loyola Maryland in a four-set win at Bucknell … And in Army West Point‘s five-set win over visiting American, Emmy Barnhorst had 19 kills, hit .400, and had a dig and six blocks … 

Talk about a big Saturday: Jackson State’s Alexis Williams had 18 kills with no errors in 30 attacks in a SWAC sweep of Texas Southern and then added 21 kills in a four-set win over Alabama-Pine Bluff. Against Pine Bluff, she also had two aces, two blocks, and three digs … 

Kayla White had 25 kills for UNC Greensboro in its Southern Conference five-set win at Furman. She had an assist, two aces, and 20 digs … Also in the SoCon, Merry Gebel had 21 kills for Western Carolina in its four-set win at Wofford. She hit .345 and had two assists, an ace, and seven digs … 

Houston Baptist won its Southland Conference match at Southeastern Louisiana in five, but SLU’s Cicily Hidalgo had 24 kills, 12 digs and a block … Also in the SLC, UIW won in five at Nicholls as Bethany Clapp had 24 kills, 12 digs, and three blocks … 

Louisiana-Lafayette maintained its hold on first place in the Sun Belt West with a four-set win over visiting Little Rock as six players had eight or more kills. Coco Gillett led with 11 and had an ace, four blocks, and 16 digs. 

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