NCAA volleyball: Arizona upsets Oregon, Nebraska, Florida, Kentucky all win

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Nebraska-Cornhuskers-Huskers-Husker volleyball-Nebraska volleyball-Briana Holman-Miikaela Foecke
Nebraska's Briana Holman and Mikaela Foecke block Stasa Miljevic of Rutgers/Nebraska photo

Updated with the latest NCAA RPI:

Maybe we can call it November Nutiness, but it does carry over into December. No matter, it’s the college-volleyball version of March Madness and it starts this week.

While the power-five conferences are still in their regular seasons and don’t have postseason tournaments, quite a few leagues do and many start this week.

We will have a conference-by-conference roundup here Wednesday, but we’ll start with Sunday’s results, that included another Pac-12 upset as Arizona beat visiting No. 16 Oregon in five.

No. 6 Nebraska beat Rutgers in an hour, 17 minutes in the only Big Ten match on Sunday.

Pittsburgh and Louisville won again and pulled back into a three-way tie with NC State atop the ACC.

The SEC’s top teams won as No. 4 Florida beat Missouri in four and No. 7 Kentucky swept Auburn.

Creighton won its fourth straight Big East title by winning at Butler in five with a score line that is something else. Wichita State, which had already clinched the American Athletic won its 16th in a row, and Missouri State finished the Missouri Valley regular season unbeaten.

The NCAA updated its RPI on Monday and Penn State remains No. 1, followed by Florida, Kentucky and Minnesota. The top four spots are important, because the top four seeded teams in the NCAA Tournament, if they survive the first two rounds, get to host the regionals. The rest of the top 10 is Texas, Nebraska, Stanford, Washington, and, tied for ninth, USC and Creighton.

Arizona wins in five over Ducks: Oregon went up by two sets but then lost 24-26, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-13 as it continued to ride a roller coaster, losing for the third time in five matches after having a four-match winning streak.

“Arizona played well the whole match,” Oregon coach Matt Ulmer said. “The crazy thing is I thought this was one of our better matches as well. We out-dug a team that’s pretty good defensively, but we didn’t do a very good job blocking. Ultimately, we have to execute better down the stretch.”

The Wildcats (10-15, 4-12) had lost four in a row and eight of nine, but on Sunday rode the 23 kills of Kendra Dahlke, who had 12 digs as well. Candice Denny had 12 kills and hit .500 to go with three digs and seven blocks. Elizabeth Shelton had 10 kills, a dig and four blocks. And setter Julia Patterson had 45 assists, three kills, 14 digs and two blocks.

The fifth set was tied 13-13 before Denny got a kill and it ended when Denny and Patterson blocked Jolie Rasmussen.

“It’s nice to win a match like that, especially being down 0-2 and getting clobbered in game two,” Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. “I am proud about how we responded to being down in the second set. It is a terrific win for us and it has been an internal battle this season. In our conference it is tough to win. You can still be really good and still lose matches; which is what we have done this season.”

Oregon’s Taylor Agost had 18 kills, hit .514 and had four digs and a block. Rasmussen had 15 kills, an ace, 10 digs and two blocks, one solo. Lindsey Vander Weide and Ronika Stone had 11 kills each. Stone hit .455 and had four digs and five blocks, while Vander Weide added six blocks, one solo, to go with 21 digs.

Nebraska routs Rutgers: Rutgers (5-23, 0-16) has won just three sets in Big Ten play this season — which included a 3-2 loss to Indiana — after falling at Nebraska 25-8, 25-11, 25-13. Nebraska (22-4, 15-1), which hit .482, pulled back into a tie atop the B1G with Penn State as Mikaela Foecke had 12 kills in 15 errorless swings and hit .800. She also had three aces, three digs and a block. Lauren Stivrins had seven kills and three blocks, one solo, and Annika Albrecht had eight kills, an ace, six digs and a block. Briana Holman added five kills and five blocks.

Nebraska had six errors in 75 swings, nine aces and just one serving error.

“That’s pretty clean volleyball,” Nebraska coach John Cook said.

Yana Kamshilinia led Rutgers, which hit .092, with eight kills.

Bunched up one more time in the ACC: Pittsburgh (21-6, 14-2) beat visiting Duke in four, while Louisville (20-6, 14-2) swept visiting Virginia Tech, so they are tied with idle NC State (19-8, 14-2).

Pittsburgh, which won 25-22, 25-20, 25-18, had four players with 11 or more kills. Layne Van Buskirk led with 13 while hitting .474. Stephanie Williams, who hit .417, and Kayla Lund had 12 each and Nika Markovic had 11, five digs and four blocks.

Duke (12-16, 4-12) got 13 kills from Samantha Amos, who hit .385, had two digs and eight blocks.

Louisville won 28-26, 25,18, 25-16 as Amanda Green had 13 kills, hit .345, and had an ace, eight digs and two blocks, one solo. Tess Clark had 10 kills, hit .450 and had two blocks. Melanie McHenry had seven kills, nine digs and a block, while Maggie DeJong had eight kills and hit .545 and Jasmine Bennett had eight kills and hit .429.

“Anytime you can have a weekend sweep in the ACC it’s a good weekend,” first-year Louisville coach Dani Busboom Kelly said. “I think we need to be able to play better, for two matches in a row and got to be a team on a mission. 

“Today was a little disappointing, I didn’t feel that from the point one, it was good to pick it up throughout the match and end on a really high note.”

Virginia Tech (9-18, 3-13) got 17 kills from Kaity Smith, who hit .324 and had nine digs and three blocks.

Also in the ACC on Sunday, Notre Dame (19-8, 9-7) swept Virginia (7-20, 3-13), Florida State (14-10, 8-8) did the same to Boston College (6-20, 3-13) and Miami (17-5, 11-5) beat Syracuse (17-12, 9-7) to pull into a tie with idle North Carolina (14-10, 11-5) for fourth place.

Gators, Wildcats keep pace in SEC: Missouri (17-10, 10-4) lost a chance to close the gap on the leaders as Florida (22-1, 14-1) won 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16.

Shainah Joseph led with 20 kills, hit .529 and had three blocks and four digs. Rachael Kramer had 14 kills, hit .417 and had four blocks, Carli Snyder had 13 kills despite hitting .095 and had an ace and 16 digs. Rhamat Alhassan had six kills, six blocks — one solo — and five digs.

Missouri’s Melanie Crow had 10 kills, three blocks and seven digs, and Alyssa Munlyn and Kayla Caffrey added eight kills each.

Kentucky (22-3, 13-1) beat Auburn 28-26, 25-21, 25-18 as Leah Edmond had 20 kills, hit .500 and had nine digs and a block. Kaz Brown had 12 kills, hit .550 and had three blocks.

“I was really pleased with how clean we played today,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “Our serving was very good which allowed us to get a lot of transition kills. It was good to get our offense firing on all cylinders and Kaz and Leah were big time today scoring points for us.”

Auburn (14-9, 7-7) got 12 kills from Shaina White, who hit .500, and 11 from Brenna McIlroy.

Also in the SEC on Sunday, Arkansas (18-9, 8-7) beat South Carolina (11-14, 4-9) in four, Alabama (17-11, 5-9) held off Tennessee (11-13, 4-11) in five and Ole Miss (16-12, 7-8) beat Texas A&M (7-14, 4-10) in four as Emily Stroup had 19 kills and 15 digs.

Creighton owns the Big East again: The Bluejays had to go a wild five to win but their 21-25, 38-36, 25-19, 25-27, 15-11 victory clinched a share of the title with two matches left. Creighton reports that its 124 points in the match are tied for sixth-most in NCAA history for a five-set match since the move to 25-point sets in 2008.

The second set had 29 ties and 13 lead changes.

“It was epic,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played or coached in one that long. It was awesome. Both teams were playing so clean. It wasn’t a matter of teams making errors. It was both teams stepping up, and that was impressive to see. Both teams had opportunities, but that was the difference in the match because if  we go down 0-2 we’re in a world of hurt.”

It’s Creighton’s fifth conference title in six seasons as the Bluejays had 76 kills and hit .283. Taryn Kloth had 19 kills, hit .395, had five blocks and five digs. Jaali Winters had 16 kills, an ace, three blocks — one solo — and 16 digs. Marysa Wilkinson had 14 kills, and Megan Ballenger had 13 kills, four blocks and five digs.

Butler (21-7, 11-5) got 17 kills and 17 digs from Anna Logan. Bri Lilly had 16 kills, hit .448 and had three blocks and two digs. Whitney Beck had 15 kills, 17 digs and four blocks, one solo.

Shockers cruise: Wichita State (24-3, 16-0) won an American Conference match at Cincinnati 25-10, 25-22, 25-20 as Abbie Lehman had 12 kills, hit .400 and had nine blocks, one solo. Tabitha Brown added nine kills and three blocks, one solo. Setter Emily Hiebert had 32 assists, an ace, five blocks and five digs.

Around the nation: Lily Johnson and Missouri State (24-5, 16-0) clinched the Missouri Valley regular-season title with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 win over Drake, its 17th victory in a row. Johnson, who entered the weekend sixth in the NCAA in total kills, had 20 while hitting. 360. She had two aces and nine digs. Aubrey Cheffey added nine kills. Drake (23-8, 12-5) got 14 kills from Cathryn Cheek, who had four blocks and nine digs …

College of Charleston (26-4, 15-1 Colonial Athletic Association) got past William & Mary 25-12, 13-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-6 to win its 14th in a row. Krissy Mummey led with 16 kills, hit .542, and had three blocks and three digs. Madison Kennedy added 13 kills, hitting .455.

Also in the CAA, Towson beat Delaware, highlighted by the serves of senior Payton Windell. Windell, who was lost for the season in September to a knee injury, served the first serve of the match and then actually ended the 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 victory with an ace …

Maryland Eastern Shore is 12-0 in the MEAC. UMES (26-7) swept Delaware State to end the regular season …

Fairfield completed a perfect regular season in the Metro Atlantic, finishing 23-6, 18-0 by sweeping Canisius as Megan Theiller had 19 kills, 17 digs and two blocks, one solo. Skyler Day had 14 kills and four aces … American (24-7, 15-1) swept Bucknell as Aleksandra Kazala had 17 kills, eight digs and a solo block …

Denver won its fourth consecutive Summit League title by beating Western Illinois. Denver (21-5, 12-2) finished a game ahead of Oral Roberts (14-12, 11-3). Becca Latham led Denver with 16 kills, four digs and three blocks.

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