The only ranked teams in action, No. 7 Nebraska and No. 21 Illinois, both swept Wednesday night.
For that matter, there were no big surprises in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball, although Patriot League leader American had to go five to get past Loyola Maryland, and Kansas broke a three-match skid by beating Texas Tech.
And Syracuse’s Polina Shemanova went off again, this time for 32 kills, an assist, three aces, 14 digs and three blocks as the Orange beat Boston College in five.
The focus now switches to the Pac-12, which, because of the start of basketball season, has a full Thursday schedule for the first time this year.
That starts with league-leading No. 5 Stanford (16-4, 10-2) at Arizona State (13-10, 5-7) and the five teams tied for second in action, including second No. 14 Washington (17-5, 8-4) at Oregon (7-14, 3-9), UCLA (13-8. 8-4) at home for Colorado (10-12, 2-10), Utah (16-7, 8-4) at USC, Cal (18-4, 8-4) at Arizona (12-12, 2-10) and Washington State (19-5, 8-4) at Oregon State.
There’s a full schedule in the West Coast Conference when the two leaders travel, as No. 11 BYU goes to Santa Clara and San Diego goes to San Francisco. Gonzaga plays at Pacific and Portland goes to Saint Mary’s.
In the Mountain West, No. 13 Colorado State goes to Fresno State. Wyoming, two games back, goes to San Diego State. Also, San Jose State is at Air Force, New Mexico is at Utah State and UNLV is at Boise State.
There is one match in the ACC when North Carolina plays at Duke.
In the Western Athletic Conference, NM State, holding a two-game lead in the standings, is at CSU Bakersfield, while second-place Grand Canyon is home for UTRGV. Seattle U goes to Chicago State and Utah Valley is at Kansas City.
There are four Big Sky matches, including Northern Colorado, which holds a three-game lead in the standings, at home for second-place Weber State. After this there are five regular-season matches left before the Big Sky tournament.
Central Michigan, the Mid-American West leader by three games, plays Eastern Michigan.
Southeast Missouri, tied for the Ohio Valley Conference lead with idle Morehead State, play host to Austin Peay.
There are six Southland Conference matches, highlighted by Stephen F. Austin going for victory No. 18 in a row as the 24-1 Ladyjacks play at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Second-place Northwestern State, two games back, goes to Sam Houston State, which is tied for third with TAMUCC.
And among the SWAC matches Thursday, a personal note, now that I’ve retired by girls club, Volleyball Baton Rouge after 20 years.
Southern University is home for the last time this season when it plays it plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff. That marks the end of the home career of senior Sameera Mohamed, the last VBR player still active in college volleyball.
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Nebraska, Illinois win: Nebraska (19-3, 11-2 Big Ten) crushed visiting Northwestern (10-15, 1-12) 25-18, 25-7, 25-18. Lexi Sun had 11 kills, hit .455, and had two blocks and six digs. Madi Kubik had 10 kills, four blocks and nine digs; Jazz Sweet also had 10 kills and hit .412 to go with six blocks and two digs; and Lauren Stivrins, too, had 10 kills, hit .353, and had eight blocks. Nicklin Hames had a kill, 40 assists, two blocks and nine digs. Northwestern hit minus .054 …
Illinois (12-10, 7-6) won 25-18, 25-23, 25-15 at Iowa (9-15, 3-10) as Megan Cooney had 17 kills with one error in 24 attacks to hit .667. Jacqueline Quade had 10 kills, four digs and a block, Mica Allison had nine kills and hit .571, and Diana Brown had 40 assists, two kills in four attempts, an ace, three digs and two blocks. Griere Hughes had 12 kills for Iowa …
Also in the B1G, Paige Jones had 26 kills as Michigan (16-7, 9-4) beat visiting Michigan State (13-10,4-9) 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16. Jones hit .328 and added an assist, an ace, two blocks and 14 digs. May Pertofsky had 10 kills, a block and five digs. Mackenzi Welsh had four kills in 10 errorless attempts to go with 53 assists, an ace, a block and 11 digs. Merdith Norris led Michigan State with nine kills.
Shemanova, Orange top BC: Syracuse (9-11, 6-7 ACC) won its fourth in a row as Polina Shemanova got her 32 kills. She had a school-record 36 in the Orange’s last match, a win at Louisville. Teammate Ella Saada had 16 kills and hit .316 and had three blocks and eight digs. Setter Elana Karakasi had seven kills, 50 assists, four blocks and five digs. Clare Naughton had 20 kills for BC (17-8, 8-4). Cat Balido had 13 kills in the only ACC match of the night.
Big 12: Iowa State (15-8, 6-5), ranked No. 36 in the NCAA RPI, swept visiting West Virginia (11-13, 2-9) 25-22, 25-23, 25-15). Annie Hatch had 16 kills and hit .375 and had two digs and three blocks, one solo. Eleanor Holthaus added 10 kills, hit .350, and had four assists, an ace, four blocks and four digs. Kristina Jordan led WVU, which had 27 total kills, with eight …
Kansas (7-13, 3-7) swept visiting Texas Tech (14-10, 4-6) 25-20, 25-18, 25-17. Morgan Christon had 11 kills, three digs and three blocks, and Zoe Hill had 10 kills with no errors in 14 attacks and hit .714 to go with a dig and seven blocks, two solo. Setter Sara Nielsen had three kills, 34 assists, seven digs and a block. Emily Hill had 12 kills for Texas Tech.
SEC: The lone match of the night saw LSU (12-10 6-6) sweep visiting Auburn (6-16, 0-11) 25-23, 28-26, 25-19. Taylor Bannister led with 22 kills as she hit .327 and had two assists, six digs and three blocks. Samarah Hill had 12 kills, hit .345, and had 14 digs. Setter Karli Rose had a kill, 41 assists, nine digs and five blocks. Tatum Shipes had 13 kills for Auburn to go with an assist, 11 digs and two blocks.
Horizon League: Conference leader Milwaukee was off, but second-place Wright State (21-4, 10-3) stayed a half game back with a five-set win at Cleveland State (7-17, 3-10). Nyssa Baker, Megan Alders and Taylor Gibson had 14 kills each in the 23-25, 25-11, 25-20, 24-26, 15-9 victory. Baker hit .387 and had eight blocks, one solo. Lainey Stephenson had five kills, 57 assists and 12 digs. Trinniti Hall led Cleveland State with 14 kills and 14 digs …
Also, Northern Kentucky swept Oakland and IUPUI won in five at Youngstown State behind 19 kills by Allie Pogue, who had two aces, five digs and two blocks, one solo.
Around the nation: American improved to 19-7, 12-1 in the Patriot League, with its 12th win in a row but had to go five to at Loyola Maryland (12-15, 5-8). Zeynep Uzen had 17 kills in the 21-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-12, 15-12 victory. Uzen hit .351 and had two aces and 12 digs. Helena Elbaek had 12 kills and six blocks. Abby Hamilton had 19 kills for Loyola and Ann Ernst had 18. Hamilton had two aces, three blocks and seven digs, while Ernst had a solo block and 20 digs …
Fairfield keeps rolling in the Metro Atlantic. The Stags (19-4, 14-0) won their 17th match in a row, a four-set victory over Marist as Marcia Gayden had 16 kills, an assist, three aces, three blocks and 12 digs. Joelle Battles had 3 kills and five blocks, and Laura Seeger had 11 kills and two assists. Setter Manuela Nicolini had a kill, 46 assists, five of Fairfield’s 15 aces, a solo block and 15 digs. Megan Fergus had 18 kills for Marist and had three digs and three blocks, one solo … Also in the MAAC, St. Peter’s won in four at Iona as Alanis Alvarado had 23 kills, an ace, 13 digs and a solo block …
There was one Ohio Valley match as SIUE swept Eastern Illinois. Rachel McDonald had 12 kills, an assist, 11 digs and a block for SIUE …
In the SoCon, Mercer swept Chattanooga as Annie Karle and Brittany Major had 12 kills apiece …
In a non-conference match, Troy of the Sun Belt swept Alabama State of the SWAC. Caitlin Cooper and Julia Brooks had 11 kills each for Troy.