No. 1 Penn State beat No. 9 Wisconsin and opened up a half-game lead atop the standings in the Big Ten, where No. 5 Minnesota escaped with a five-set home win over Illinois.
No. 15 Oregon beating visiting No. 12 Utah in four, while Louisville got to a half-game back in the ACC by beating Notre Dame in five.
In the Big 12, No. 11 Kansas also had to go five to beat visiting Oklahoma, 15-13 in the fifth, while No. 22 Iowa State swept Kansas State and No. 24 Baylor did the same to Texas Tech.
The recaps follow, but first a look at Thursday’s schedule.
No. 20 Colorado State has a Mountain West match at Air Force.
There is one match in the Big 12 when West Virginia goes to TCU and one match in the ACC as Virginia goes to Boston College.
The West Coast Conference’s two ranked teams are off, but they play each other Friday when No. 8 BYU plays host to second-place No. 18 San Diego.
Remember that VolleyballMag.com has all the TV and streaming listings every day for every match that is being shown.
Nittany Lions top Wisconsin: Penn State won 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16 to improve to 20-1 and at 10-1 in the B1G moved a half game ahead of idle Nebraska. Visiting Wisconsin is 14-6, 5-6.
Haleigh Washington had 14 kills, hit .448 and had eight blocks, one solo, and four digs. Nia Reed had 11 kills and hit .421 while playing just two sets, and Simone Lee had eight kills and 18 digs.
Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke had 17 kills, hit .378, and had two digs and four blocks.
“I thought it was a typical Big Ten match,” Penn State coach Rose said. “These were two really good teams that were playing hard throughout the match.”
Illinois has been so close in its last two matches.
This past Saturday the Illini gave Nebraska everything it could handle on its home court before losing in four. And then on Wednesday, Minnesota got all it could handle before winning 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 15-11.
It left the Gophers 20-2, 9-2, while Illinois is 16-6, 7-4.
Alexis Hart led Minnesota with a career-high 28 kills and hit .303 while getting an assist to go with seven digs and three blocks. Regan Pittman had 13 kills and Stephanie Samedy had 12 kills and 17 digs.
Beth Prince led Illinois with 18 kills and Jacqueline Quade had 13 kills and 12 digs. Tyanna Omazic had 10 kills and nine blocks.
Also in the B1G, Northwestern (13-10, 3-8) swept Rutgers (5-18, 0-11) 25-16, 25-16, 25-14. Nia Robinson had 24 kills and hit .526 for Northwestern. Yana Kamshilinia led Rutgers with 11 kills while hitting. 364. She had seven digs and two blocks, one solo.
Oregon wins fourth in a row: The Ducks came away with a 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 win that dropped Utah (17-5, 8-3) even further back of idle Stanford (17-2, 10-0), while Oregon improved to 14-5, 7-4).
“This was a match I was looking forward to,” Oregon coach Matt Ulmer said. “We’re both healthy, we’re both full strength, and we’re both really good.
“For our confidence, this should do wonders, because that was a really good team that played well. And we played better.”
Jolie Rasmussen continued to sparkle since getting healthy and back into the lineup as she led with 15 kills while hitting .375. She also had 12 digs. Ronika Stone had 11 kills, hit .450 and had seven blocks, one solo. And Taylor Agost had 10 kills and Willow Johnson nine and four blocks.
Utah got 13 kills from Berkeley Oblad, who hit .550 to go with three blocks. Adora Anae had 12 kills but hit .040. She had 14 digs and two blocks. Tawnee Luafalemana, who hit .471, and Kenzie Koerber had 10 kills each.
Ranked Big 12 teams win: Oklahoma might have had its best match of the season as Kansas came away with 22-25, 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13 victory. KU is 19-3, 8-1 in the Big 12, while OU is 5-17, 2-7.
“We were fortunate to win this match. We had moments where we were a cohesive competitive unit but not very many,” Kansas coach Ray Bechard said. “Oklahoma played with a lot of pride and a tremendous amount of character. The Jayhawks made enough plays at the end to make that happen. We are very, very fortunate to get out of here with a win.”
A big reason why was the 14-kill, eight-block night by Kelsie Payne and 14 blocks, 13 digs and two blocks from Madison Rigdon, despite her hitting .045. Jada Burse added 13 kills.
Alyssa Enneking again led Oklahoma with 22 kills and 16 digs, but she hit .099 as her team hit .123.
Iowa State is 15-4, 6-3 after going to K-State (9-13, 2-7) and winning 25-18, 26-24, 25-23. Grace Lazard led with 12 kills and hit .524. Jess Schaben had 10 kills and 12 digs. K-State got 10 kills from Kylee Zumach.
Baylor won 25-23, 25-9, 25-16 without Katie Staiger, the Bears’ leading attacker. Baylor (17-5, 7-2) got 14 kills from Yossiana Pressley, who hit .346 and had nine digs and a block. Three players — Camryn Freiberg, Shelly Fanning and Aniah Philo — had nine kills kills. Freiberg hit .533, Fanning hit .692 and Philo, who hit .381, had 19 digs and two blocks.
Texas Tech (13-9, 2-7) got 10 kills from Emily Hill.
Louisville, Georgia, Mizzou get wins: Louisville is 15-6 overall, 9-2 in the ACC after beating Notre Dame (16-6, 6-5) 25-22, 25-17, 18-25, 18-25, 15-10. It left the Cardinals a half game back of idle Pittsburgh and NC State atop the league.
Louisville hit just .169, but Melanie McHenry had 20 kills and 15 digs. Tess Clark added 13 kills. Rebecca Nunge led Notre Dame with 16 kills.
Georgia won one SEC match last year and none the year before. Now the Bulldogs are 15-8 overall, 5-5 in the SEC after beating Arkansas 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21. Rachel Ritchie led with 18 kills as she hit .429 and had nine digs. T’ara Ceasar had 17 kills and four aces.
Arkansas (15-7, 5-5) lost despite hitting .336. NCAA kills leader Pilar Victoria led with 27 more while hitting .344. Hailey Dirrigi had 14 kills.
Missouri is 13-9, 6-3 after beating Ole Miss 25-18, 18-25, 27-25, 25-23. Leketor Member-Meneh led with 13 kills. Alyssa Munlyn and Kira Larson had nine each.
Ole Miss (14-10, 5-6) got 19 kills from Kate Gibson, who had 14 digs.