NCAA volleyball: Nebraska beats Penn State in five, Rutgers wins again

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NCAA volleyball 11/3/2019-Nia Robinson-Northwestern volleyball
Northwestern's Nia Robinson hits against the Michigan double block/Michael Gomez photography

As Benjamin Franklin wisely once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and that the Nebraska/Penn State volleyball match will go to five sets.”

Or something like that.

Saturday night’s match in Lincoln, which went Nebraska’s way (25-18, 18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13), marked the fourth consecutive meeting between the two teams that has gone five, and the seventh time in the last 10.

The win is No. 8 Nebraska’s first over a top-10 opponent this season, and No. 7 Penn State’s first loss since October 2. The two teams are now tied for third in the Big Ten standings.

Penn State was the only ranked team to lose Saturday night, as No. 19 Illinois downed Michigan State, No. 11 BYU got past Pacific in four, and No. 20 Cal ended a three-match losing streak with a defeat of Oregon State.

Also Saturday, red-hot Rutgers — relatively speaking — won its second Big Ten match of the season for the first time, downing Iowa in straight sets.

More on those results and other from every conference around the country, but first a look at the schedule for the first Sunday of the final month of the regular season.

No. 6 Minnesota at No. 16 Purdue headlines the Big Ten slate, which also includes Indiana hosting No. 4 Wisconsin.

A big day in the ACC has No. 2 Pittsburgh taking on Duke. Also, Louisville at Syracuse, Boston College hosting Notre Dame, Georgia Tech versus NC State, Miami at Virginia Tech, Clemson taking on North Carolina, and Wake Forest versus UVA.

The Big 12’s pair of ranked teams are both at home, as No. 1 Texas welcomes West Virginia to Gregory Gymnasium and No. 3 Baylor has Iowa State in Waco.

As always, there are plenty of big matches in the Pac-12, including No. 25 UCLA looking to extend its win streak versus No. 12 Washington. No. 17 Utah hosts Arizona, USC heads to No. 22 Washington State, and No. 5 Stanford plays Oregon, which upset Cal on Friday. Colorado will go for its second conference win of the season as it welcomes Arizona State to Boulder.

No. 13 Florida is off in the SEC, but No. 24 Missouri versus Texas A&M, fresh off an upset of Kentucky, will be a match worth watching. No. 15 Kentucky plays Arkansas, standings No. 2 Georgia travels to Tennessee, LSU hosts Mississippi State, and Ole Miss goes to Alabama.

No. 10 Marquette versus Butler makes for the biggest Big East match of the day, while the Big West has No. 21 Hawai’i looking to split the season series with Cal Poly, which beat the Wahine in straight sets back on October 11.

No. 18 Rice plays Alabama Birmingham in one of six Conference USA matches on Sunday.

America East’s top two teams play as UAlbany goes to New Hampshire, and in the Summit League, standings No. 1 South Dakota hosts second-place Denver.

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.

Nebraska defeats Penn State: A number of players finished Saturday’s match inside the Devaney Center with impressive stat lines. Start with Nebraska’s (18-3, 10-2) Lexi Sun, who led the match with 20 kills, adding seven digs and four blocks. Then consider Husker setter Nicklin Hames with 54 assists and 22 digs, libero Kenzie Knuckles’ match- and career-high 24 digs, and Callie Schwarzenbach’s eight block assists. The Huskers’ defensive efforts held Penn State to its lowest hitting percentage in a Big Ten match so far this season, .166.

On the Penn State (17-4, 10-2) side, Serena Gray recorded seven blocks, Jonni Parker led with 16 kills and 10 digs, and setter Gabby Blossom also scored a double-double with 49 assists and 13 digs, one of five Nittany Lions in double-digit digs.

Ranked teams win: No. 19 Illinois (11-10, 6-6) rebounded from its Friday-night loss to Michigan by beating Michigan State (13-9, 4-8) in straight sets. The Illini’s Jacqueline Quade and Megan Cooney led with 10 kills each …

No. 11 BYU (20-3, 11-1) lost the first set to Pacific (12-12, 4-8) but rebounded to win in four. McKenna Miller led with 18 kills, and the Cougars hit .395 as a team. With 14 team blocks, they held the Tigers to a .146 hitting percentage …

Bailee Huizenga led No. 20 Cal (18-4, 8-4) with 18 kills and 13 digs as the Bears downed Oregon State (9-14, 3-9) in four sets.

Rutgers wins again: The Scarlet Knights (8-15, 2-10) won their second Big Ten Match in a row, defeating Iowa (9-14, 3-9) in straight sets to mark the first time they have won more than one conference contest since joining the Big Ten in 2014.

In the sweep (25-23, 25-19, 25-19), Anastasiia Maksimova led the Knights with 10 kills, adding 13 digs. Jasmine Stackhouse championed the blocking effort, finishing with a match-high four blocks. On the Iowa said, Griere Hughes led the match with 18 kills, while Halle Johnston set the benchmark for digs with 23.

“I’m so proud of our players. I’m really excited for them,” Rutgers coach CJ Werneke said. “It was a total team effort with four kids with double digit digs and spreading it out among the kills. It’s exciting to see. We’re staying in the moment moving forward, making people beat us and taking control.”

ACC: Florida State (16-6, 9-3) played an out-of-conference match on the road against High Point (17-10, 9-1) of the Big South and won in five sets (25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 15-10) with four players setting new career-highs. Freshman Morgan Chacon set two personal bests with 21 kills and 20 digs, adding two aces and three blocks. Senior Seminole libero Madison Sullivan recorded a career-high with  26 digs, while setter Adrian Ell’s 30 assists and Jasmyn Martin’s eight blockers were also career bests.

Megan Kratzer led High Point with 16 kills but had 14 errors to hit .030. Libero Abby Bottomly scooped up 43 digs, which impressively is not a personal best.

ASUN: Lipscomb (12-11, 8-4) swept Kennesaw State (16-8, 9-3) in the only ASUN match of the night to split the season series. Junior outside hitter Megan Kuper hit a season-high .619 with 14 kills, adding four blocks, four digs, and two aces.

Atlantic 10: With 15 and 14 kills respectively, Morgan Kelly and Liz Wayne led Duquesne (10-14, 4-7) to a sweep of Rhode Island (6-16, 1-9). Wayne made just one hitting error to hit .722, while Kelly added 11 digs to her stat line. As a team, Duquesne hit .373.

Big 12: TCU (713, 2-8) scored 13 aces in a five-set loss to Kansas State (8-14, 3-7), five from Audrey Nalls. The Wildcats, however, held a 15 to seven advantage in blocks and hit .255 to TCU’s .199. TCU’s Katie Clark led the match with 17 kills, while Brynn Carlson led KSU with 13 … Oklahoma (15-6, 7-3) swept Kansas (6-13, 2-7), hitting .255 to the Jayhawks’ .076. Ashlynn Dunbar led the Sooners with 13 kills. No Kansas players made it to double-digit kills.

Big Sky: Two of Saturday’s four Big Sky matches went the distance. Sacramento State (12-13, 7-5) got its win over Eastern Washington (5-19, 3-9) thanks to 16 kills form Sarah Davis and 13 from Cianna Andrews. Davis added 15 digs, Andrews collected nine blocks (three solo), and libero Michelle Taynton led Sac State with 23 digs. EWU libero Catelyn Linke led the match, however, with 31 digs …

Stacey Hone’s 25 kills powered Southern Utah (12-12, 5-7) to victory in five over Idaho State (6-18, 3-9). Shannon Webb added 18 kills and 23, while SUU libero Sarah Gasper led all players with 34 digs … Weber State (17-7, 8-4) swept Northern Arizona (14-10, 7-5). Rylin Roberts had a match-high 13 kills and Hannah DeYoung topped the stat sheet with six blocks … Idaho (12-12, 8-4) also won, beating Portland State (9-14, 5-7) in four. Kennedy Warren led the way with 16 kills and just one error to hit .326. Idaho setter Donnee Janzen collected a double-double with 44 assists and 12 digs.

Big South: Winthrop (19-4, 11-0) maintained its undefeated league record with a five-set win over Campbell (13-10, 7-3). Campbell’s Sarah Colla had 28 kills, but Winthrop relied on a more balanced offense with double-digit kills from three players and nine each from two more … UNC Asheville (11-10, 5-5) also got a five-set victory, beating out Presbyterian (13-12, 7-4) with 23 kills and 19 digs from Julia Borges … USC Upstate (7-16, 3-7) out-blocked Charleston Southern (12-13, 4-7) 14 to six to score a win in four. Gardner-Webb (3-19, 1-10) also won in four sets, with Hannah Donaldson’s 18 kills leading her team to victory over Hampton (6-15, 1-9), its first conference win of the season.

Big Ten: A well-distributed offense helped Michigan (15-7, 8-4) sneak past Northwestern (10-14, 1-11) in five sets. Sydney Wetterstrom led the way with 16 kills, but Paige Jones (15), Cori Crocker (14), and Jess Robinson (11) also contributed double-digit kills. Jones added 14 digs for a double-double. Desiree Becker had 15 kills with zero errors to hit .536 for Northwestern. Nia Robinson tallied 14 kills. Charlotte Cronister led the match with nine blocks (two solo) …

It was only really close in the third set as Ohio State (12-12, 5-7) swept Maryland (12-12, 4-8) at home in Columbus (25-18, 25-18, 30-28). OSU’s Jenaisya Moore led the match with 19 kills, hitting .395.

Big West: UC Davis (13-11, 5-6) stayed tied for fourth in the Big West standings with a five-set victory over Long Beach State (8-15, 5-6). LBSU’s Kashauna Williams led the match with 22 kills, but Davis out-blocked the 49ers 20 to six …

Cal State Fullerton (11-9, 3-6) beat UC Irvine (4-17, 1-8) in four. UCI’s Abby Marjama led the match with 22 kills but had 14 errors. Julia Crawford’s 12 kills was the most on Fullerton’s side … CSUN (10-13, 5-6) swept UC Riverside (5-17, 1-10) with 16 of the 17 players on the roster seeing the court for the Matadors.

Colonial: Hofstra (15-9, 8-4) stayed in the conversation in the CAA, beating Northeastern (12-12, 6-6) in four. Preseason CAA player of the year Laura Masciullo led a strong Hofstra blocking effort with three block assists and one solo in addition to 12 kills and 12 digs …

James Madison (15-7, 9-3) rebounded from a loss to conference leader Towson with a sweep of Delaware (12-10, 4-7). Briley Brind’Amour had 12 kills, hitting .385 with six digs and three blocks. JMU out-blocked Delaware 16 to two.

Horizon League: Wright State (20-4, 9-3) beat Green Bay (17-7, 9-3) in four to secure a tie between the two teams for second in the league standings. Thirteen was the lucky number of the night as three Phoenix players (Anna Eaton, Ashley Sledge, and Taylor Wolf) and two Raiders (Nyssa Baker and Taylor Gibson) had that many kills …

Conference leader Milwaukee (23-3, 10-2) stayed on top with a four-setter over IUPUI (6-19, 2-10) in which Milwaukee setter Rylie Vaughn had a double-double with 29 assists and 15 digs… Cleveland State (7-16, 3-9) and Northern Kentucky (12-12, 5-7) both downed teams higher in the standings, as CSU swept Oakland (12-11, 5-6) and UIC (19-7, 8-4) suffered the same fate at the hands of NKU.

Ivy League: Harvard (5-14, 3-7) downed its rival Yale (12-7, 8-4) in four with 20 kills, 19 kills, and three blocks from Mindie Mabry …

Ivy League leader Princeton (13-6, 9-1) beat Columbia (11-9, 4-6). The match went to extra points in the deciding fourth set, and Columbia’s Chichi Ikwuazom led all players with 21 kills, adding seven blocks. Devon Peterkin had 19 kills and 10 digs for Princeton … Cornell (15-4, 8-2) swept Penn (9-10, 2-8) and Brown (12-8, 4-6) got a four-set victory over Dartmouth (7-13, 2-8)

Metro Atlantic: There were three matches including Rider beating Canisius in four behind 25 kills by Morgan Romano, Niagara doing the same to Saint Peters, and Quinnipiac winning in five at Manhattan. Niagara’s win left it alone in second place, but three games back of league-leading Fairfield.

Romano hit .304 and had two aces, 16 digs and two blocks. Caroline Leitch had 15 kills, 16 digs, an assist and an ace. Olga Zampati led Quinnipiac with 176 kills and had three aces with 19 digs. Julia Menocal had 19 kills for Manhattan to go with three digs and four blocks, one solo.

Mid-American: Miami and Central Michigan both won and stand 10-2 atop the respective divisions.

Miami swept Kent State as Sarah Wojick led with 10 kills and had no errors in 20 swings to hit .500. She had four digs and two blocks.

Central Michigan improved to 20-4 by sweeping NIU as Kalina Smith had 12 kills and Lisabeth Rosario-Martinez 11.

Bowling Green swept Ohio as Katelyn Meyer had 17 kills and seven digs, Akron beat Toledo in four as Alexis Adleta and Elya Karsner had 13 kills each, Ball State beat visiting Buffalo in five despite 26 kills by Paulina Prokudina, who had seven digs and two blocks. Kia Holder had 21 kills for Ball State. And Rachel Bontrager had 20 kills for Western Michigan in a four-set win over Eastern Michigan. EMU’s Cassie Haul had 19 kills and hit .457.

Missouri Valley: League-leading Northern Iowa swept Missouri State as Emily Holthaus and Inga Rotto had 10 kills each. Holthaus had no errors in 29 swings and Rotto one in 17 attempts. Loyola, a game back in the loss column, beat Indiana State in four behind 18 kills by Quin Spieker, who hit .371, had an assist, two aces, eight digs and two blocks. Nikkie White had 16 kills, 12 digs and six blocks for Indiana State. Valparaiso swept Evansville and Southern Illinois won in four at Drake as Hannah Becker had 18 kills and Laura Rojas had 32 digs.

Mountain West: League-leading and No. 14 Colorado State was idle, but second-place Wyoming stayed two games back with a sweep of Air Force as four players had six or more kills and Air Force hit .009. Kayla Afoa had 17 kills in Nevada’s four-set win over Boise State. Fresno State lost in five at New Mexico but Amaria Kelley and Amilya Thompson had 20 kills each. Kaitlynn Biassou and Lauren Twitty had 15 kills each for New Mexico. San Jose State swept Utah State behind 16 kills by Haylee Nelson, who hit .500, and San Diego State won in four at UNLV as Hannah Turnlund had 16 kills, two assists, an ace, 21 digs and two blocks.

Northeast Conference: Robert Morris won its 12th match in a row as it improved to 22-3 overall, 12-0 in the league with a 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23 win over visiting Sacred Heart. It gave coach Dale Starr his 100th career victory as Emma Granger led with 22 kills, hitting .455. She had an ace, four digs and three blocks, one solo. Liisel Nelis led Sacred Heart with 19 kills, an ace and nine digs. Central Connecticut beat Saint Francis (Brooklyn) in four as Madelyn Kaprelyan had 16 kills and Emma Henderson 15 to go with two assists, two aces, 20 digs and two blocks. St. Francis (Pa.) beat Bryant in four and LIU swept Fairleigh Dickinson.

Ohio Valley: Morehead State and Southeast Missouri are tied at the top at 10-2 and Jacksonville State and Murray State are a game back at 9-3.

Morehead State swept Belmont as Olivia Lohmeier had 16 kills and hit .500. while Southeast Missouri knocked Jacksonville State out of the tie for first by winning in four behind 14 kills by Mikayla Kuhlmann. Austin Peay beat SIUE in five as Jenna Panning had 21 kills, UT Martin beat Tennessee Tech in four, and Tennessee State swept Eastern Kentucky. And Rachel Holthaus had 20 kills for Murray State in its sweep of Eastern Illinois. She hit .514 with two aces and 11 digs.

Patriot League: American swept Lehigh and still leads idle Colgate by a half a game. Zeynep Uzen had 12 kills for American and Helena Elbaek 10. Bucknell beat Loyola Maryland in four as Sophie Bullard had 23 kills, four assists, 14 digs and three blocks. Ann Ernst had 21 kills for Loyola. Navy beat Lafayette in four and Army West Point did the same to Holy Cross.

Southern Conference: Lauren Hatch had 29 kills and ETSU had to go five to beat Chattanooga and stay tied with idle Samford atop the league. Hatch hit .411 and had an ace, eight digs, and four blocks, two solo. Western Carolina beat Mercer in four, Wofford did the same to Furman as Catie Cronister had 20 kills, hit .348, had two aces and 11 digs. Neci Harris had 21 kills for Furman. And The Citadel beat UNC Greensboro in four to improve to 10-15, 4-8 in the league, its best record perhaps ever. Sharlissa De Jesus had 20 kills, two assists, 14 digs and three blocks and three of her teammates had 10 or more kills. Emily Kellen had 20 kills for UNCG.

Southland: There’s no stopping Stephen F. Austin, which won in four at Houston Baptist to improve to 24-1 overall, 12-0 in the SLC with its 17th win in a row. Corin Evans led with 20 kills and had two assists, an ace, 16 digs and two blocks. Sam Houston State won in five at Abiliene Christian as Breanne Chausse had 20 kills and Ashley Lewis 19. McNeese beat Incarnate Word in five, and Central Arkansas did the same to Southeastern Louisiana despite 26 kills by Jodi Edo, who hit .489 and had five digs and four blocks, two solo. Texas A&M Corpus Christi beat Lamar in four, and Northwestern State won in four at Nicholls State as Hannah Brister had 26 kills, an assist and 14 digs. Emily Gautreaux had 20 kills for Nicholls.

Sun Belt: Troy dealt Coastal Carolina a five-set loss despite 33 kills by Anett Nemeth. Troy is tied with South Alabama atop the East, dropping Coastal a half-game back. Ashley Guenveur led Troy with 21 kills, while Nemeth also had seven digs and four blocks, two solo. South Alabama kept pace with its four-set win over Appalachian State despite 20 kills by Emma Longley. Georgia State swept Arkansas State and Little Rock did the same to Georgia Southern as Carol Barbosa had 19 kills.

Western Athletic: NM State maintained its two-game lead at the top with a sweep of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Savannah Davison led a balanced attack with 10 kills. Grand Canyon swept Utah Valley, Seattle U beat CSU Bakersfield in four as Eve Kerschenbaum had 21 kills and hit .356 to go with two aces and six digs, and California Baptist swept Chicago State.

WCC: Pepperdine’s (13-10, 9-3) Tarah Wylie set a new rally-scoring era program record for blocks in a three-set match with 11 in the Waves’ sweep of Portland (11-11, 3-8). Shannon Scully had 15 kills for Pepperdine …

San Diego (18-5, 11-1) got past Saint Mary’s (8-14, 4-8) in four, with four players in double-digit kills. Freshman Grace Frohling, a 6-5 opposite, had a huge match for the Toreros with 14 kills, hitting .478, six aces, and three blocks …Gonzaga (7-16, 1-10) also won Saturday, downing Loyola Marymount (13-11, 7-5) in four for its first WCC win of the season. Kennedy Croft led the Zags with 14 kills and six digs. As a team, Gonzaga tallied 10 aces to LMU’s two.

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