CU upsets USC, Utah beats UCLA, Florida, Penn State, Nebraska win

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Utah's Adora Anae attacks against UCLA/ Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah

In the Pac-12 surprise of the night, once-ranked Colorado, which has lost only to ranked teams, swept visiting No. 19 USC for its first win ever over the Trojans.

Rutgers came so close Friday night before falling in five at Indiana, but the Scarlet Knights won two sets in a Big Ten match for the first time since their only league victory two years ago.

Bradley didn’t win, either, but Erica Haslag had 30 kills in a loss at Missouri State.

Miami did win and Olga Strantzali set a Hurricanes single-match kills record with 33 in a win over Louisville.

Also in the ACC, Pittsburgh crushed visiting North Carolina to maintain its hold on first place.

All the recaps and notes follow, but first a look at a big Saturday in NCAA women’s college volleyball, with leagues reaching or passing the halfway points of their respective seasons.

In the Big Ten, the teams get to the halfway point of the conference season and No. 14 Wisconsin (14-4, 5-4) has a win-or-else match at No. 5 Minnesota (18-2, 7-2). That’s because league leader No. 2 Penn State (18-1, 8-1) goes to Indiana (12-9, 1-8) and No. 7 Nebraska (15-4, 8-1) plays host to Illinois (16-4, 7-2). A victory by either of them and a Wisconsin loss would leave the Badgers four games back with 10 to play. The other team tied for second, No. 10 Michigan State (14-4, 7-2) goes to Maryland (14-7, 3-6), so clearly the pressure is on Illinois, too, to hand in the top five. Also Saturday, No. 17 Purdue (15-5, 5-4) plays host to Rutgers (5-16, 0-9).

The plot continues to thicken in the Pac-12 after a busy Friday night. There are three matches Saturday, as No. 11 UCLA (12-6, 5-4), which lost in four Friday at No. 12 Utah (17-3, 8-1), goes to Colorado (15-5, 5-4) in a tough test for both teams. No. 2 Stanford (16-2, 9-0) plays host to Washington State (13-8, 2-7), while No. 15 Oregon (12-5, 5-4) has Arizona State (10-11, 0-9) at home. 

In the Big 12, there are three matches as No. 11 Kansas is home for Texas Tech, No. 22 Iowa State entertains TCU and Kansas State goes to West Virginia. No. 3 Texas plays Sunday at Oklahoma.

Both ranked teams in the West Coast Conference play, as No. 8 BYU goes to Loyola Marymount and No. 18 San Diego is at Pepperdine.

Colorado State, ranked No. 21, tries to stay unbeaten in the Mountain West at New Mexico.

No. 23 Cal Poly, which swept CSUN on Friday, plays host to Long Beach State on Saturday.

And No. 25 Northern Iowa has Valparaiso at home in the Missouri Valley.

The SEC and ACC don’t play volleyball on football Saturdays.

Remember that VolleyballMag.com has all the TV and streaming listings every day for every match that is being shown.

Buffs knock off USC, Utah downs UCLA in Pac-12: Colorado’s 25-23, 25-14, 25-21 win over USC was also its third in a row.

Frankie Shebby led with 12 kills despite hitting .121, and had five blocks and four digs. Alexa Smith had eight kills while hitting .150, three blocks and six digs. Joslyn Haynes had eight kills and hit .538, to go with three blocks and Naghede Abu had eight kills, hit .500, and had five blocks. And Anna Pfefferle had five kills, hit .500, and had six blocks.

Colorado’s five losses were to Penn State, Utah, Stanford, Washington State and Washington. Among the Buffs’ victories are wins over Rice, Illinois, Colorado State and Oregon.

“That was one of the more complete matches we’ve played all season,” CU coach Jesse Mahoney said. “Obviously USC is a very good opponent. They have a major player out, so they did some things differently, but we managed our side-out game as well as we have all season. We were very efficient from the middle and from the right. We followed our game plan really well. Our two middle blockers, Naghede and Anna (Pfefferle) did a fantastic job reading and closing.”

USC (14-6, 6-3) was without leading attacker Khalia Lanier, out with an injury. Brittany Abercrombie led with 12 kills but hit .167 on a night when her team team hit .067.

Utah (17-3, 8-1) beat UCLA 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19 to stay a game back of idle Stanford in the standings and is two games ahead of third-place USC.

Adora Anae led with 17 kills and 16 digs, Berkeley Oblad had 14 kills, hit .393 and had an ace and three blocks, and Kenzie Koerber had 12 kills and 14 digs to go with three blocks. Tawnee Luafalemana had five kills and six blocks, one solo and libero Briana Doehrmann had a career-high 30 digs as the Utes won their sixth consecutive Pac-12 match, its longest streak ever.

UCLA got 15 kills, two aces and six digs from Jenny Mosser, while Reily Buechler had 13 kills, 13 dig and four blocks, one solo.

Oregon had to go five to beat visiting Arizona  25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 25-9, 15-10.

The Ducks were led by Taylor Agost, who had 14 kills and 15 digs. Willow Johnson had 12 kills, hit .360 and four blocks, while Jolie Rasmussen and Ronika Stone had 10 kills each. Rasmussen, returning from injury, had three blocks and six digs, while Stone hit .444 and had 10 blocks, one solo. Sumeet Gill had eight kills, hit .467 and had five blocks.

“It was good and bad. Luckily it ended on good.,” Oregon coach Matt Ulmer said. “We have this thing about starting well and ending well, but in the middle of the match we’re pretty consistent on dropping our focus. We need to get much better in that regard.”

Arizona (8-11, 2-8) got 16 kills from Kendra Dahlke, who had 11 digs, while Paige Whipple had 15 kills and 13 digs.

Oregon State (15-7, 5-5) won its fourth in a row with a 27-29, 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 victory over visiting Arizona State (10-11, 0-9). Mary-Kate Marshall led again, this time with 22 kills and 11 digs. And Cal (12-8, 3-6) beat visiting Washington State (13-8, 2-7) 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21 as Mima Mirkovic had 11 kills and 16 digs and Carmen Annevelink had 10 kills. Taylor Mims led WSU with 20 kills, 10 digs and four blocks, one solo, and Casey Schoenlein had 16 kills, hitting .457.

Penn State beats Purdue, Nebraska, Illinois win in B1G: The Nittany Lions won at Purdue 25-22, 25-14, 21-25, 25-10 as Heidi Thelen had 14 kills, hit .542 and had five block and four digs.

Ali Frantti led with 15 kills, Simone Lee had 13 and 12 digs and Haleigh Washington had 10 kills, four digs and six blocks as Penn State hit .336. Purdue’s Danielle Cuttino had 15 kills and three blocks, and Sherridan Atkinson added 11 kills, four digs and two blocks.

Nebraska swept Northwestern (12-9, 2-7) 25-20, 25-15, 25-12 as Mikaela Foecke had 14 kills while hitting .500. Annika Albrecht had eight kills, hit .318, and had an ace, 10 digs and a block. The Huskers hit .378.

Symone Abbott led Northwestern with nine kills and six digs.

Illinois escaped Iowa with a 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 23-25, 16-14 victory after trailing 14-11 in the fifth.

Illinois got 16 kills apiece from Megan Cooney and Jacqueline Quade, who had four digs and four blocks, one solo. Ali Bastianelli had 14 kills, three digs and nine blocks and Beth Prince had 12 kills and three blocks.

Iowa (14-8, 3-6) was led by Taylor Louis, who had 18 kills, but had three attack errors in the final five points of the fifth set, including getting blocked by Bastianelli and Jordyn Poulter to end it.

And then there was Rutgers.

The only time the Scarlet Knights have won since joining the Big Ten was a five-set win over Maryland on October 21, 2015. Since then, well, it’s been tough. Rutgers was 0-20 in the league last season and was 0-8 this year heading into Friday, winning just one set.

Ultimately, Indiana pulled out a 25-17, 14-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-9 victory that left Rutgers alone in the basement and previously winless Indiana a game ahead.

“It’s disappointing,” Rutgers coach CJ Werneke said. “We played well enough to win, but didn’t finish the job. We played with grit and determination in sets two and three, but the moment got the better of us in the fourth and fifth. When that happens, your skills start to waver and you’re not the same team. You have to be the aggressor like we were earlier.”

Sahbria McLetchie led Rutgers with 16 kills. Elizabeth Asdell led Indiana with 13 while hitting .440 to go with four blocks.

Florida sweeps, Hogs, UGA win in SEC: The fourth-ranked Gators (15-1, 7-1 SEC) won at Alabama 25-17, 25-18, 25-17, as Carli Snyder had 15 kills, 11 digs and two blocks.

Rachael Kramer had 13 kills in 22 errorless swings to hit .591. She also had three blocks. Rhamat Alhassan had six kills and six blocks.

Alabama (14-8, 2-6)  got 12 kills from Ginger Perinar.

Arkansas (14-6, 4-4) got a sweep at Texas A&M 25-20, 25-17, 26-24 as Pilar Victoria had 15 kills and nine digs. The Aggies fell to 6-9, 3-5 after hitting .107. Kiara McGree had 13 kills and hit .310.

Georgia (14-8, 4-5) got a surprising 25-22, 25-18, 27-25 sweep at Missouri (12-9, 5-3). Georgia, which hit .340, got 15 kills from T’ara Ceasar, who hit .400. Kira Larson had 13 kills and hit .600 for Mizzou.

Gabriela Stavnetchel of Georgia Tech attacks against Syracuse en route to a career-high 28 kills while hitting .400/GT photo

Pittsburgh builds on ACC lead: The Panthers (16-4, 9-0 ACC), who took over sole possession of first on Wednesday when North Carolina gave NC State its first league loss, routing the visiting Tar Heels 25-18, 25-10, 25-21.

Nika Markovic had 16 kills, hit .500 and added three aces and four digs. Kayla Lund had nine kills and hit .333.

North Carolina (10-8, 7-3) was led by Taylor Leath, who had eight of her team’s 27 kills.

Idle NC State (13-7, 8-1) is in second place. Third still belongs to Louisville (13-6, 7-2), which lost to Miami (12-3, 6-3) 25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 25-14.

In that match, Miami’s Strantzali had her 33 kills and just four errors in 63 swings while hitting .460. The senior outside from Greece also had an ace, a solo block and seven digs. Kolby Bird added 13 kills while hitting .310. She also had an ace, four blocks and nine digs.

Louisville got 13 kills from Melanie McHenry and 12 from Amanda Green.

Georgia Tech (9-11, 4-5) beat Syracuse (14-8, 6-3) 24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 as Gabriela Stavnetchel had a career-high 28 kills while hitting .400 to go with an ace and 14 digs and three blocks.

Notre Dame (15-5, 5-4) won 25-18, 17-25, 25-18, 26-24 at Florida State (11-6, 5-4) as Jemma Yeadon had 24 kills and 14 digs.

Duke (12-8, 4-5) beat visiting Virginia (4-16, 0-9)  24-26, 25-21, 28-26, 25-12 as Payton Schwantz had 14 kills, hit .542 and had seven digs. Virginia Tech (8-12, 2-7) beat visiting Wake Forest (10-11, 2-7) 25-20, 25-21, 25-20 as Jaila Tolbert had 15 kills and hit .609. Caroline Kuhn had 14 kills and hit .636 for Wake.

And Clemson (6-15, 1-8) got its first league win with a 26-24, 25-16, 25-22 victory over visiting Boston College (5-14, 2-7). Kaylin Korte had 16 kills, hit .324 and had eight digs.

Creighton, Wichita State, Cal Poly, UNI get victories: No. 16 Creighton beat visiting St. John’s 25-23, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16 to improve to 15-5 overall, 8-1 in the Big East. Jaali Winters had 13 kills and 11 digs. Marquette (15-6, 9-1) swept Xavier 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 to maintain a half-game lead in the Big East as Allie Barber had 18 kills and hit .424 …

No. 21 Wichita State beat visiting Cincinnati 25-22, 30-28, 25-19 to stay atop the American Athletic Conference. The Shockers (17-3, 9-0) were led by Abbie Lehman, who had 18 kills while hitting .441. She also had four blocks. Mikaela Raudsepp had 13 kills …

No. 23 Cal Poly (18-2, 8-0) stayed atop the Big West with a 25-11, 25-22, 25-13 win over visiting CSUN. Torrey Van Winden had 14 kills, hit .591 and had nine digs, while Raeann Greisen had 11 kills and hit .562. The Mustangs hit .416. Their lead in the Big West is still just half a game over Hawai’i (14-6, 8-1) after the Rainbow Wahine beat UC Riverside. While Cal Poly plays Long Beach on Friday, Hawai’i entertains Cal State Fullerton. UC Irvine (17-2, 5-1) had Friday off and play UC Davis on Saturday …

No. 25 Northern Iowa (19-5, 9-1 Missouri Valley) rolled over visiting Loyola 25-9, 25-9, 25-18. UNI hit .379, while Loyola hit .000. Karlie Taylor led the Panthers with 12 kills and Piper Thomas had 11 kills and hit .733.

Around the nation: Missouri State (17-5, 9-0) stayed alone atop the Missouri Valley, but barely after a 25-17, 20-25, 19-25, 25-14, 19-17 win over visiting Bradley (8-16, 1-9).  Erica Haslag almost single-handedly pulled off the upset with 30 kills and 17 digs. But ultimately the Bears prevailed after being down 14-12 in the fifth and fighting off match point three times. Lily Johnson led Missouri State with 22 kills and 21 digs. Lynsey Wright had 16 kills and five blocks …

Dayton is 16-6 overall, 7-0 in the Atlantic 10 after sweeping George Mason as McKenzie Weaver had 13 kills and hit .440 … Kennesaw State beat Lipscomb in five and Jacksonville swept North Florida to leave both at 7-1, a half game ahead of idle FGCU in the ASUN. Liesl Englebrecht had 14 kills, hit .458 and had nine blocks for Kennesaw …

In Conference USA, Western Kentucky swept UTEP to improve to 22-2, 8-0 atop the league, but Rice (17-5, 7-1) stayed a game behind with a five-set win over UTSA. Alyssa Cavanaugh had 19 kills and hit .655 for WKU, while Grace Morgan had 13 kills, hit .440 and had 13 blocks, three solo for Rice …

Charleston swept Hofstra and is 19-4, 8-1 in the Colonial to stay tied with idle Northeastern stop the league …

The MAC is wide open. Miami and Bowling Green are tied atop the East Division of the Mid-American at 7-2 after Bowling Green lost in four at Ball State and Miami swept Toledo. Ball State and Western Michigan, which won in four against Kent State, are tied in the West at 6-3 …

The Govs stayed alone atop the Ohio Valley as Austin Peay improved to 21-4, 9-1 with a four-set win over Tennessee State and SIUE (17-4, 7-2) beat Jacksonville State in four. Cecily Gable led Austin Peay with 16 kills while hitting .379 …

American beat Navy in five to separate from the Patriot League pack. American is 18-7, 9-1 after its 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-9 comeback victory. Navy is 17-5 and tied with Army at 7-2. Army beat Lafayette in four … South Alabama (14-5, 9-0 Sun Belt)  stayed a game ahead of Louisiana (15-8, 8-1) after USA beat Little Rock in four and Louisiana swept Appalachian.

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