NCAA volleyball: 5-set dramas as Texas, ND, Baylor, OU, Texas State, UTA all go the distance

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NCAA volleyball 10/17/2020-Tennessee volleyball-Raquel Perinar
Tennessee's Raquel Perinar hits against the Kentucky triple block of Alli Stumler, left, Elise Goetzinger, and Reagan Rutherford/Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

Going five was the thing to do Friday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball.

No one was happier about it than Texas and Notre Dame.

Texas rallied to win the last two sets at Kansas State, while the Irish came back from being down 0-2 to Pitt and won without its best player.

Two other Big 12 matches went five, as Baylor got all it could handle from Texas Tech and Previously winless Oklahoma also came back after losing the first two sets to Kansas.

It happened in the Sun Belt Conference, too, where Texas State dealt Louisiana its first loss with a Friday morning sweep before going down 0-2 and then winning in five Friday night. And Texas-Arlington, which won the nightcap in four, beat Arkansas State in five on Friday morning.

Worth noting: UTA and ASU combined for 238 digs in the second match.

The recaps follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule. Links to streams and broadcasts can be found on our VolleyballMag.com TV listings page.

The ACC has just one match when Boston College is back at Syracuse.

In the Big 12, Kansas is at Oklahoma, Baylor returns to Texas Tech, and Texas is back at Kansas State.

The SEC schedule includes three season openers with Arkansas at Mississippi State, LSU at Texas A&M, and South Carolina at Georgia, and Tennessee is back at Kentucky. For more on this year’s SEC, see yesterday’s preview here.

The lone Sun Belt match has the finale between Texas State at Lousiana.

Aliyah Carter of Kansas State hits against Asjia O’Neal and Jhenna Gabriel of Texas/K-State photo

Big 12 — Texas, unbeaten at 7-0, was on the brink before charging back for a 25-19, 21-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-7 win. The Longhorns, who lost only one set previously, ultimately hit .321, led in blocks 12-5 and got 62 of its 67 kills from four players. Conversely, K-State (3-2), which hit .201, got 26 kills from Aliyah Carter and 20 from Brynn Carlson.

Logan Eggleston led Texas with 20 kills as she hit .309 and had two aces, two blocks, and 14 digs. Skylar Fields had 18 kills, hit .357, and added three blocks and a dig. Asjia O’Neal had 14 kills, hit .400, and had an ace, five blocks, and two digs. And Brionne Butler had nine kills, hit .350, and had six blocks. Molly Phillips had four kills and five blocks. Setter Jhenna Gabriel had a kill, 58 assists, an ace, a block, and 14 digs.

Carter set a K-State freshman record with her 26 kills. She added an assist, a solo block, and four digs. Carlson had an assist, a block, and a dig. Shelby Martin had four kills, 49 assists, two aces, a block, and 12 digs. McKenzie Morris had 21 digs to go with two assists and two aces. 

“We had opportunities,” K-State coach Susie Fritz said. “In game four, specifically, I think is probably where we needed to hold up a little bit better in terms of serve and pass … “I think they’re disappointed and a little bit angry, which is exactly how we want them to be. And somewhat optimistic about the level that they’re capable of playing at. We are still a work in progress, we are still learning about each other and learning how to play together a little more seamlessly.”

Baylor (6-1) grinded to a 15-25, 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9 victory at Texas Tech (3-4) as Yossiana Pressley had 27 kills and hit .309. Pressley added a block and 12 digs. Lauren Harrison had 21 kills, three blocks, and three digs, while Marieke van der Mark had 11 kills, an assist, a dig, and three blocks, one solo. Callie Williams had three kills in seven errorless attempts, 57 assists, two aces, and 10 digs. 

Brooke Kanas led Texas Tech with 14 kills while hitting .423 and she had three blocks and a dig. Samantha Sanders had 12 kills, two blocks, and 12 digs, while Cadi Boyer had nine kills, five blocks, and a dig.

Oklahoma (1-4) won at Kansas (1-6) 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-13 as Sarah Maras and Guewe Diouf had 15 kills apiece, Sanaá Dotson had 13, and Sarah Sanders 12. 

Maras hit .406, had an assist, three digs, and two blocks, one solo. Diouf had an assist, an ace, 15 digs, and a block, and Sanders had three blocks, one solo. Keyton Kinley had 20 digs and three aces, and Grace Talpash had five kills and hit .400 and had 48 assists and eight digs.

“That’s a heartbreaker or a momentum builder,” OU coach Lindsey Gray-Walton said. “We needed that. We so needed that. Our kids are resilient. Gritted through. A young team — you’ve just got to keep coaching them. I’m really proud of their effort from every point tonight. It wasn’t pretty at times … we’re young, we’re emotional — like we say, they’re high school seniors plus three months. So we tell them to come out and just play the game. That was fun to see tonight.”

Not as much fun for Kansas, which lost for the sixth time in a row and played again without UCLA transfer Jenny Mosser. Ayah Elnady led the Jayhawks with 15 kills, an assist, five of her team’s 13 aces, 13 digs, and five blocks. KU held a 12-6 blocking advantage. Anezka Szabo added 13 kills for Kansas and hit .385 to go with an assist, a dig and six blocks, one solo. Rachel Langs had seven kills and six blocks. 

Kansas coach Ray Bechard said his team is “motivated and playing hard. Our execution needs to catch up with our enthusiasm. We were up two sets and had a chance in the third set, before Oklahoma won it late. In the fourth set, the momentum starts going their way. We were down 5-0 in the fifth set and it would be over for most teams, but this team fought back, played hard and we just needed to make a play at the end. Credit to Oklahoma, they had a kid (Maras) that led them in kills that wasn’t in the scouting report, and they switched some things up. We will be ready to go tomorrow.”

West Virginia was one team that did not play five. That in itself is news since the Mountaineers (5-3) had done so in their previous five matches before beating visiting TCU (1-5) 28-26, 11-25, 26-24, 25-20.

West Virginia, which beat TCU the day before in five, won despite hitting .137. Natali Petrova led with 13 kills, 18 digs, an assist, and three blocks, one solo. Kristin Lux had 12 kills, a dig,  and three blocks. TCU, which hit .182, got 18 kills from Julia Adams, and 14 each from Afedo Manyang, who had two blocks and two digs, and Taylor Raiola, who had three blocks and 10 digs. Dani Dennison tied her career high with 28 digs.

ACC — In the most exciting match of the day, Notre Dame (4-0) rallied against visiting Pittsburgh (2-3) 22-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-20, 17-15 to come back from an 0-2 deficit for the first time in three years. 

Notre Dame was without star junior outside Charley Niego. A Notre Dame spokesperson said “Niego was unavailable tonight due to health-related issues.”

Aubrey Hamilton and Caroline Meuth made up for it with 17 kills apiece. Hamilton had three digs and two blocks, while Meuth had four of her team’s six aces and six blocks, one solo, to go with 17 digs. Sydney Bent had nine kills, a dig, and four blocks, and Lindsey Miller had six kills, four digs, and six blocks. Hattie Monson had 23 digs, and Zoe Nunez had a kill, 47 assists, two aces, nine digs, and three blocks.

Pitt led 15-14 in the fifth but lost on three consecutive attack errors. Kayla Lund led the Panthers with 22 kills but hit .164. Her team hit .193, while Notre Dame hit .155. Lund had an assist, an ace, 16 digs, and five blocks, one solo. Chinaza Ndee had 15 kills, an assist, four digs, and four blocks. Chiamaka Nwokolo had 10 kills, hit .450, and had five digs and a block, and Valeria Vazquez Gomez had nine kills, 15 digs, and a block. 

Miami (5-3) beat visiting Florida State (1-3) 25-20, 26-24, 25-19 as Elizaveta Lukianova had 14 kills, hit .306, and had 11 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Janice Leao had 11 kills, hit .476, and had six blocks. FSU, which hit .132, got 10 kills from Jasmyn Martin, who had three blocks, one solo.

Syracuse (3-4) swept visiting Boston College (0-5) 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 behind 12 kills from Marina Markova, who hit .526 to with two aces, three blocks, and two digs. Ella Saada had nine kills, four digs, and three blocks, one solo, and Abby Casiano had eight kills in 12 errorless attacks to go with six blocks, one solo.

Virginia Tech (3-1) beat visiting Virginia (1-2). Marisa Cerchio had 17 kills and hit .452 for the Hokies to go with three blocks. Kaity Smith had 15 kills, three of her team’s 11 aces, three blocks, and eight digs. Ashley Homan added 12 kills, two aces, eight digs, and two blocks, one solo. Grace Turner had 14 kills for Virginia to go with an assist, two aces, and eight digs. Sarah Billiard had 10 kills.

And North Carolina (3-2) swept at NC State (0-3) 25-20, 25-20, 25-18. The Tar Heels had four players with six or more kills, including Amanda Phegly with eight. NC State hit .098.

Kentucky’s Avery Skinner hits past Tennessee’s Jasmine Brooks/
Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

SEC — The league opened play with Kentucky making short work of visiting Tennessee 25-15, 25-16, 25-15 as the Wildcats hit .451.

Avery Skinner led with 13 kills in 24 errorless swings as she hit .542 and had an ace and four digs. Reagan Rutherford had nine kills and hit .368, and Azhani Tealer had eight kills in 12 errorless attacks and four blocks. Madison Lilley had two kills in six errorless attempts, 42 assists, an ace, four blocks, and 11 digs.

Ava Bell led Tennessee with eight kills and hit .353. Raquel Perinar had six kills without making an error in 11 swings and aded two blocks and two digs.

Sun Belt — Louisiana was 11-0 before Texas State visited Friday. Now Texas State is 10-1 after winning twice, 25-11, 25-21, 25-14 and then the hard way, 14-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-15, 15-10.

In the opener, Texas State hit .372 as Kenedi Rutherford hit .429 with 11 kills, Tyeranee Scott hit .500 and had 11 kills, and Lauren Teske hit .375 with 10 kills. Louisiana hit .111 and got 11 kills from Kara Barnes.

In the second match it was all Ragin’ Cajuns for two sets before Texas State got it going behind a career-high 24 kills from Janell Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald hit .320 and had seven digs and two blocks, one solo. Rutherford had 11 kills and seven digs, and Scott had seven kills and six blocks. Emily DeWalt had two kills, 49 assists, 13 digs, and seven blocks, one solo, but her team hit .170. Barnes led the Cajuns again, this time with 16 kills while hitting .480. She had six digs and seven blocks, one solo. Hali Wisnoskie had 13 kills, three blocks, and four digs, and Kelsey Bennett had 12 kills, 17 digs, and four blocks, one solo. Avery Breaux, the 5-foot-5 setter, had 51 assists, two blocks and 12 digs, and Hannah Ramirez had 25 digs. 

Texas-Arlington (5-0) won twice against visiting Arkansas State (4-4), 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 15-7, and then 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-23.

In the opener, UTA won despite hitting .155. Briana Brown led with 15 kills, Devon Martinka and Brianna Ford had 11 each, and Brooke Townsend 10 to go with four blocks and eight digs. Madison Brown had 16 kills for ASU and Jose Stanford had 12 and five blocks. Briana Hollingshed had nine kills, hit .500, and had eight blocks, two solo.

In the second match, UTA hit .153 and got 14 kills from Ford and 10 each from Townsend and Simara Peyton. UTA had an incredible 113 digs, including 27 by Alli Wells and 21 by Mollie Blank. Arkansas State had 125 digs, 37 by Tatum Ticknor and 28 by Lauren Musante. Brown had 24 kills and 15 digs for ASU. 

Coastal Carolina improved to 6-0 with a 25-10, 15-25, 25-14, 25-14 win at South Alabama (4-0). Ani Bozdeva had 11 kills for the Chanticleers. South Alabama hit .061.

Also, Louisiana-Monroe (1-11) lost to Central Arkansas (1-3) of the Southland Conference.

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