NCAA volleyball: Pitt tops ND, Arkansas rallies, 27 kills for Bannister, 26 for Stivrins

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NCAA volleyball 10/19/2020-Taylor Voss-Texas A&M volleyball
Taylor Voss digs for Texas A&M against LSU/Texas A&M photo

Pitt turned the table on Notre Dame on Sunday, beating the Irish in four in the ACC.

Arkansas went down 0-2 at Mississippi State before coming back to win their SEC match in five. 

And sophomore transfer Amber Stivrins went off for Georgia with a career-high 26 kills in a four-set SEC victory over South Carolina, while LSU’s Taylor Bannister had 27 kills and 11 digs in an SEC loss at Texas A&M.

There were eight matches overall on Sunday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. The recaps follow, but first a look to the week ahead.

The next action on the schedule is Wednesday when the SEC has three matches, Mississippi State at LSU, Missouri at Alabama (their series this past weekend was postponed because Missouri had positive COVID tests), and Florida at Auburn. Those same teams play again Thursday, when Texas A&M goes to Ole Miss.

The ACC is off until Thursday when Wake Forest goes to Florida State and Clemson plays at Georgia Tech. 

The next Big 12 matches are Thursday when Kansas is at TCU, Oklahoma at Kansas State, and Texas is home for Texas Tech.

And in the Sun Belt, there are two day-night twinbills with Troy at Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern at South Alabama.

ACC — Two days after losing to previously unbeaten Notre Dame (4-1), Pitt (3-3) bounced back for a 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17 victory.

Kayla Lund led with 15 kills despite hitting .118 — Pitt hit .163 — and she had two assists, 17 digs, and six blocks, one solo. Chinaza Ndee had 14 kills, hit .303, and had seven blocks. Valeria Vazquez Gomez had nine kills, 21 digs, and a block, and Lexis Akeo had 26 assists and 16 digs. Sabrina Starks had five kills and nine blocks.

Notre Dame hit .126. Caroline Meuth had 14 kills but hit .068 to go with 11 digs, an ace, and six blocks, one solo. Aubrey Hamilton had 11 kills, hit .091, and had three digs, and three blocks. Sydney Bent had nine kills, three digs, and two blocks, and Lauren Wenzel had six kills and six blocks.

North Carolina (4-2) won 25-20, 16-25, 25-23, 25-17 at NC State (0-4) as Amanda Phegley had 11 kills, hit .529, and had eight blocks. Parker Austin also had 11 kills and added an assist, two aces, seven blocks, and 11 digs. Destiny Cox had nine kills, three blocks, and a dig, and Aziah Buckner had six kills, an ace, and eight digs. Kaya Merkler had five kills, hit .444, and had six blocks, and three digs. Karenna Wurl had 22 digs. 

UNC hit .195 and NC State .205. Jade Parchment had 19 kills for the Wolfpack, hitting .300 to go with an ace, 12 digs, and five blocks. Melissa Evans had 10 kills, and Pam Chukwujekwu had eight kills and six blocks. Kristen McDaniel had 49 assists, two blocks, and 10 digs.

Virginia Tech (4-1) beat visiting Virginia (1-3) 25-21, 25-15, 18-25, 25-22 behind 17 kills by Kaity Smith and 13 by Marisa Cerchio. Smith had two aces, two blocks, and 14 digs, while Cerchio hit .344 and had four blocks, and three digs. The Hokies hit .167. Virginia, which hit .173, got 12 kills each from Jayna Francis and Sarah Bulliard, who had six blocks. Mattison Matthews had eight kills and eight blocks.

SEC — Arkansas (2-0) came back to win 23-25, 19-25, 31-29, 25-23, 15-13 at Mississippi State  (0-2) after surviving that wild third set — facing four match points — and then being down 13-12 in the fifth before back-to-back kills by Jillian Gillen ended it.

Giller and Elizabeth Pamphile had 17 kills each for Arkansas. Gillen, who hit .052, had two assists, an ace, 15 digs, and two blocks. Pamphile hit .452 and added an assist, three digs, and nine blocks. Taylor Head had 14 kills, 20 digs, and four blocks, and Hailey Dirrigl had 10 kills and two blocks. Gracie Ryan had three kills, 59 assists, two aces, three blocks, and 21 digs.

State’s Logan Brown led with 19 kills, an assist, two aces, 18 digs, and two blocks. Gabby Wadden had 15 kills, seven digs, and four blocks, and Lauren Myrick had 14 kills, eight digs, and two blocks. Setters Margaret Dean and Katie Culumovic combined for 54 assists, five aces, and 14 digs.

Texas A&M (2-0) held off visiting LSU (0-2) 23-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-15, 15-10 as Lauren Davis had career-highs of 20 kills, hitting .349, and six blocks. Morgan Christon had 14 kills, two aces, 12 digs, and two blocks, and Mallory Talbert had 12 kills, hit .417, and had a dig and a career-high eight blocks. Treyaunna Rush had nine kills, six digs, and three blocks, and setter Camille Conner had seven kills, hit .316, and had 49 assists, 11 digs, and four blocks.

LSU’s Bannister had those 27 kills, two aces, 11 digs, and five blocks, two solo. LSU, which hit .148, got 12 kills from Samarah Hill, who had 14 digs, and three blocks. Karli Rose had two kills, 45 assists, six digs, and two blocks.

Georgia  (1-1) gained a split with visiting South Carolina (1-1) by rallying for a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 victory behind Stivrins, who had almost half her team’s kills. Not only did she have the 26 kills, Stivrins hit .564 and added two aces, and eight digs. Kacie Evans and Phoebe Awoleye had seven kills each. Awoleye didn’t make an error in 10 attacks and had five of her team’s 11 aces, a dig, and four blocks, one solo. Georgia hit .323.

Four players had 10 kills or more for South Carolina, including 12 by Mikayla Robinson, who hit .455 and had a dig and four blocks, one solo. Kyla Manning had 11 kills and Ellie Ruprich and Riley Whitesides 10 each. Ruprich hit .500 and had 10 blocks, three solo.

Also — Central Arkansas of the Southland Conference (2-3) wrapped up its fall season with a 23-25, 25-10, 25-18, 25-9 victory over visiting Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt Conference (1-12). 

Madi Bowles had 15 kills, hit .400, and had five blocks and two digs for UCA. Lexi Miller had 13 kills and hit .333, Amanda Beaton had 10 kills, and Amari Mitchell had nine kills in 12 errorless swings and four blocks, two solo. 

Cali Assaley had 12 kills, eight digs, and two aces for ULM. Ina Gosen added 11 kills and two blocks, and Haley Coulter added nine kills, three aces, a block, and 20 digs.

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