NCAA volleyball: No. 11 BYU, No. 14 Colorado sweep, N. Colorado wins

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NCAA volleyball 11/1/2019-Annie Benbow-USD volleyball
USD libero Annie Benbow lunghes for a Pacific spike/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Just two ranked teams played NCAA Division I women’s volleyball on Thursday, and No. 11 BYU and No. 14 Colorado State avoided spooky Halloween upsets, instead coming away with sweeps.

Around the nation, defense was the theme as matches finished with dig totals in the 200s and players set new personal and program records.

More on those matches and stat lines to come, but first a look at Friday’s busy schedule.

Start with the Pac-12 where there’s no telling when the next big upset will happen. The only head-to-head meeting between the conference’s six top-25 ranked teams is No. 25 UCLA at No. 22 Washington State. No. 5 Stanford has Oregon State, No. 12 Washington faces USC, No. 17 Utah takes on Arizona State, and No. 20 Cal hosts Oregon. Then, rounding out the schedule, Arizona and Colorado play in Boulder.

In the SEC, Texas A&M versus No. 15 Kentucky tops the list of must-see matches. Last weekend, A&M made a big statement with a sweep of Georgia, and remember, Georgia beat Kentucky in five in the second week of October.

Only Miami has the night off in the ACC. Undefeated conference leader Pitt plays second-from-the-bottom Wake Forest, but Louisville versus Boston College should be a competitive matchup as the two teams sit second and fifth in the standings, respectively.

The Big Ten schedule is headlined by Michigan at No. 19 Illinois. There’s also Rutgers at Nebraska, Michigan State at Northwestern, and Penn State at Iowa.

Big West standings leader UCSB and its star player Lindsey Ruddins get a second crack at No. 21 Hawai’i after losing the season’s first meeting in straight sets. No. 9 Creighton plays St. Johns, and No. 10 Marquette has Xavier on deck. Northern Colorado and Montana play in the Big Sky’s only Friday-night matchup.

No. 23 Western Kentucky plays UTEP, while its fellow top-25 ranked Conference-USA squad Rice had Charlotte.

The ASUN’s Stetson will put its eight-match win streak to the test versus conference leader Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.

Saint Louis travels to Dayton to challenge the A10’s top team, the 9-0 Flyers. The league’s other undefeated-in-conference team, VCU, has league-winless George Mason.

The most significant of three CAA matches is preseason favorite James Madison versus conference-undefeated Towson, and the top two teams in the NEC — Robert Morris and Bryant — face off in in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

Santa Clara goes to San Francisco in the WCC’s only match of the night.

Want to watch a match? We’ve got you covered. Click here for the complete NCAA.com scoreboard and to watch any match that is being broadcast, go to the VolleyballMag.com daily TV and streaming listings.

BYU, Colorado State Sweep: BYU (19-3, 10-1 West Coast Conference) held Saint Mary’s (8-13, 4-7) to 15 points or fewer in all three sets Thursday (25-15, 25-11, 25-13). The Cougars hit .377, while forcing the Gaels to hit negative (-.068), and reigning WCC player of the week McKenna Miller led all players with 13 kills and zero errors to hit .619.

“We came out really focused tonight, especially from the service line,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. The Cougars recorded 10 aces to the Gaels’ one.

Colorado State (22-1, 12-0 Mountain West) stretched its win streak to 21 in a row with a 25-21, 25-15, 25-15 defeat of Air Force (8-15, 5-6). Head coach Tom Hilbert credited good passing.

“I think if we continue to pass like that, we take that same service receive on the road, it’s going to really help us,” Hilbert said. “If we pass that well, we can balance a lot of people out.”

Air Force’s Denise Ssozi led all players with 17 kills, and even hit .432 with just one error, but Colorado State had three players — Kirstie Hillyer, Jessica Jackson, and Sasha Colombo — in double-digit kills.

Scary good defense: The Big Sky’s top team Northern Colorado (16-7, 10-1), barely escaped with a five-set victory over Montana State (10-11, 6-6). The defensive battle saw two UNC players scoop more than 20 digs — setter Daisy Schulz with 24 and libero Taylor Els with 25. On the Montana State side of the net, libero Allyssa Rizzo had 32 digs. Offensively, UNC’s Taylor Muff led with 21 kills …

Speaking of defensive matches, Northern Arizona (14-9, 7-4) and Idaho State (6-17, 3-8) combined for 221 digs in a four-set match Thursday night that went NAU’s way. The Lumberjacks’ 115 digs is the second-most in a four-set match in program history. Freshman Lillian Thomas collected a match-high 37 digs in her collegiate debut, enough to tie the third-highest single-match total in program history.

“We didn’t pass or dig very accurately and that didn’t allow us to take many good swings,” NAU coach Ken Murphy said. “But to our team’s credit, they fought and played defense. There were a lot of long rallies and it was a long, exhausting match.”

Idaho State was led by outside hitter Haylie Keck with 29 digs and libero Mahala Bradburn with 28 …

Twenty kills and 16 digs from Corin Evans led the Southland’s Stephen F. Austin (23-1, 11-0) to a win in four over Sam Houston State, the team’s 16th victory in a row. SFA setter/opposite Ann Hollas also had a big night with six kills, 22 assists, 25 digs and five blocks. SHSU’s Ashley Lewis led her team with 20 kills and 18 digs, and libero Addison Miller topped all players with 40 digs. Miller is just the fourth player in SHSU program history to reach 40 digs in a match …

Thursday night in a four-set loss to Utah Valley (9-14, 6-5), CSU Bakersfield (8-14, 3-8) as middle Brooke Boiseau collected six blocks (and led the match with 16 kills) to move into 10th all-time in CSUB history with 195 career block assists, and she’s still just a redshirt sophomore …

NCAA volleyball 11/1/2019-Alexis Warren-NSU volleyball-Northwestern State
Senior Alexis Warren records her 1,000th career dig at NSU, becoming the 10th player in program history to reach the milestone/Chris Reich, NSU

Around the nation: Lipscomb (11-11, 7-4) libero Alyssa Zwolensky had 21 digs, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a four-set ASUN loss to Liberty (15-9, 8-4). Liberty’s Amelia Johnson and Rajini Fitzmaurice led with 13 kills apiece …

Hartford (12-11, 3-3) swept its out-of-conference match with Merrimack (1-18, 0-11), with Jenna Bridges putting away 18 kills on just 23 swings with no errors to hit .783 …

Also in the Big Sky, Sacramento State (12-12, 7-4) came back from down 0-2 to defeat Idaho (11-12, 7-4) in five. Idaho’s Kennedy Warren led the match with 25 kills (four errors, hitting .488), while on the Sac State side, senior Sarah Davis contributed 22 kills, enough to push her over the 1,000 career kills mark …

Freshman outside hitter Natalie Risi had 27 kills to lead Ball State (12-11, 6-5) to a five-set MAC victory over Toledo (7-16, 0-11), preventing the visiting team from earning its first conference win of the season …

In a sweep of Utah State (2-21, 2-9), Nevada (15-8, 5-6) hit .319 as a team and got a match-high 16 kills from middle Brianna Souza, who also contributed six blocks …

Pepperdine (12-10, 8-3) escaped with a five-set win WCC over Gonzaga (6-16, 0-10), garnering double-digit kills from four players: Tarah Wylie (18), Rachel Ahrens (16), and Hannah Frohling and Shannon Scully (13 apiece). Gonzaga’s Kennedy Croft led the match with 19 kills …

Savannah Slattery tallied 25 kills with just five errors to hit .357 as her Loyola Marymount (12-10, 7-4) squad defeated Portland (11-10, 3-7) in four. The senior outside hitter scored a double-double with 14 digs …

Middle Megan Jacobsen didn’t make a single hitting error in San Diego’s (17-5, 10-1) sweep of Pacific (12-11, 4-7). The 6-2 senior scored 10 kills on 14 swings to hit .714.

 

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