NCAA volleyball: UK, Washington, UNC win 5-setters, VCU wins A10 battle

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NCAA volleyball 11/18/2019-Brianna Doehrmann-Utah volleyball
Utah libero Brianna Doehrmann makes a pancake dig against Washington/Stephen Burns photo

And on the 81st day, they rested.

For the first time since the season started on August 30, there are no matches scheduled Monday. 

And that’s OK, because we got our money’s worth Sunday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball, with some remarkable matches, like No. 17 Kentucky winning at No. 11 Florida in five behind 30 kills by Leah Edmond, No. 13 Washington staving off seven match points and beating visiting No. 15 Utah in five, 21-19 in the fifth. It was the 11th time this season, ninth in the Pac-12, that Utah has gone five.

VCU won the Atlantic 10 with a five-set win over Dayton in an epic battle between the league leaders.

Streaks were extended. Not only did VCU win its 17th in a row and go 14-0 in the A10, South Dakota finished 16-0 in the Summit League, Towson did the same in the Colonial Athletic Conference. 

Of course there was an upset, as USC beat No. 20 Cal. And in case you wondering if Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer is all the way back, consider that she had 16 kills, hit .444, and had five digs and two blocks in the Cardinal’s sweep of UCLA.

And in the ACC, welcome back North Carolina. After a brutally tough few years, the Tar Heels have risen near the top of the league, moving into a three-way second-place tie with Notre Dame and Georgia Tech with a stunning fifth-set comeback at Florida State. 

Later this week quite a few conferences have their respective tournaments with automatic NCAA Tournament bids on the line. We’ll list them all here before they begin. But for now, Sunday’s recaps.

Pac-12: Start with No. 4 Stanford (20-4, 14-2), which made quick work of visiting UCLA (14-11, 9-7) 25-18, 25-18, 25-20 for its seventh win in a row. 

Plummer led a balanced attack that included Meghan McClure getting nine kills while hitting .421. She had an assist, two of her team’s seven aces, a block and 14 digs. Madeleine Gates had six kills with no errors in 12 swings to hit .500 and had five blocks. Holly Campbell had five kills and seven blocks, Audriana Fitzmorris had five kills and six blocks, and Jenna Gray had two kills in four errorless attempts, 38 assists, three blocks and four digs. While Stanford hit .368, UCLA hit .200. Lexi Hadrych led with 12 kills. Mac May had nine kills and three solo blocks, which were all the blocks the Bruins had …

Stanford holds a two-game lead over Washington (21-5, 12-4), which stands alone in second place after its 25-18, 20-25, 18-25, 25-14, 21-19 victory over Utah (19-8, 11-5), now tied with Washington State for third.

Kara Bajema not only had 26 kills — eight each in both the fourth and fifth sets — hitting .339, but two aces, 10 digs and seven blocks, three solo, including a big stuff of Berkeley Oblad that ended the match.

“Obviously a classic match, and a memory that I think our kids deserve for how much work they put in,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said. “Would have been fine, either way, in that fifth set, just playing hard and getting after it, but to have something like that happen is pretty special. A lot of plays that we’ll go back and watch for a while.”

Samantha Drechsel had 15 kills for the Huskies, hitting .314, and she had two aces, three digs and three blocks, two solo. Avie Niece had nine kills, two assists, a dig and eight blocks. Ella May Powell had a kill, 50 assists, four aces, four blocks and 11 digs. 

Dani Drews led Utah’s balanced attack with 19 kills but hit .133. She had an ace, two blocks and 10 digs. Oblad had 13 kills, hit .435, and had an ace, a dig and four blocks, two solo. Kenzie Koerber had 12 kills, an assist, two blocks and 11 digs, and Zoe Weatherington had nine kills, an assist, a block and three digs. Phoebe Grace had six kills and seven blocks, two solo. Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had two kills, 50 assists, two blocks and 10 digs.

“Proud of this team for being great competitors today,” Utah coach Beth Launiere said in a Tweet. “Tough one but better to be in the fight. Congrats to Washington on a well-fought battle.”

It was the 11th time this season Utah has played five. The Utes are 5-6 in those matches, 4-5 in the Pac-12 … 

No. 20 Cal (20-6, 10-6) is now alone in fifth, a game up on USC (15-11, 9-7) and UCLA. That’s because USC went into Berkeley and came away with 25-16, 25-22, 21-25, 25-20 victory as Khalia Lanier had 16 kills, hit .308, and had four digs and two blocks. Jasmine Gross had 11 kills, hit .391, and had five blocks. Emilia Weske, who had six aces and five blocks, and Kalen Owes had eight kills each. Raquel Lazaro had two kills in three errorless tries, 41 assists, eight digs and two blocks. Cal’s Maddie Haynes had a career-high 20 kills and hit .390 and had two digs and a solo block. Bailee Huizenga had 11 kills, an assist, two aces, six digs and three blocks, and Lauren Forte had 10 kills …

No. 22 Washington State (22-6, 11-5) beat Colorado 25-23, 24-26, 13-25, 25-15, 15-9 as Pia Timmer had 16 kills, Jocelyn Urias 15 and Magda Jehlarova 12. Urias hit .414 and had eight blocks, four solo. Jehlarova hit .550 and had five blocks, one solo. Justine Spann and Elissa Alcantara had 16 kills each for the Buffs, Meegan Hart had 11 and hit .435, and Sterling Parker had 10 and five blocks, one solo … 

Two other matches also went five as Arizona (14-14, 4-12) won at Oregon State (9-18, 3-13) and Arizona State (15-12, 7-9) did the same at Oregon (7-18, 3-13). 

Paige Whipple led Arizona with 22 kills, 20 digs and five blocks, and Katie Smoot had 19 kills, hitting .321. Setter Julia Patterson had five kills, 48 assists, two aces, 13 digs and four blocks. OSU’s Haylie Bennett had 25 kills, three digs and two blocks and Maddie Goings had 14 kills, 10 digs and two blocks. Setter Montana Gubrud had five kills in eight errorless tries, 523 assists, 25 digs and a block …

Arizona State’s Iman Isanovic had 10 kills and Ivana Jeremic 16, 14 digs and five blocks. Oregon’s Ronika Stone had 20 kills, a dig and four blocks, one solo. Willow Johnson had 14 kills, 16 digs and two blocks, and Brooke Nuneviller had 12 kills and 18 digs, and Karson Bacon had 12 kills, hit .571, and had seven blocks.

SEC: Kentucky (20-6, 13-2) took over sole possession of first place with its 25-21, 15-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-12 win at Florida (21-4, 12-2). 

Edmond’s 30 kills were the most by a Kentucky player since 2004. She had just four errors in 48 attacks and hit .542 and added two aces, 11 digs and two blocks. Allie Stumler had 27 kills, hit .333, and had 12 digs and a block. Setter Madison Lilley had four kills, hit .333, and had 63 assists, an ace, 13 digs and three blocks.

“Just really proud of the heart and guts of this team to fight back under pressure,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We’ve gone through a lot this week, and as a staff we are really proud of our team for showing so much resilience. 

“The team performance was great, but the point production from Alli Stumler and Leah Edmond is something that Kentucky may not have ever seen before.”

Thayer Hall led Florida with 22 kills and hit .367. She had an assist, two aces, 11 digs and five blocks, two solo. Rachael Kramer had 14 kills, hit .684 after having one error in 19 attacks, and had seven blocks. Paige Hammons had 12 kills, four aces, 14 digs and a solo block. Setter Marlie Monserez had two kills, 48 assists, 16 digs and three blocks …

Georgia (19-7, 11-4) stayed two games back alone in third with a sweep at Mississippi State (13-14, 2-13). Kacie Evans had 19 kills, an assist, seven digs and two blocks … Arkansas (9-17, 3-11) beat visiting Alabama (12-13, 4-10) in five as Jillian Gillen had 28 kills, four assists, 13 digs and a block … Missouri (18-6, 10-4) swept at South Carolina (16-10, 8-6) as Kylie Deberg had 16 kills and hit .394 to go with an assist, two aces, 12 digs and three blocks, one solo, and Leketor Member-Meneh had 14 kills, hit .379, and had an assist, an ace, seven digs and four blocks, one solo … And LSU swept at Auburn as Taylor Bannister had 26 kills, hit .478, and had an ace, 10 digs and two blocks.

ACC: How about North Carolina, 14-11 overall and now 11-4 in the ACC? The Tar Heels won at Florida State (17-8, 10-5) 25-23, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 15-13 after finishing the fifth set on an incredible 9-1 run.

Lauren Harrison led UNC with 18 kills. Carly Peck had 14, hit .414. Parker Austin had 10 kills, three blocks and 10 digs. Skyy Howard had nine kills, hit .429, and had five blocks. Skylar Wine had seven kills, hit .333, and had two blocks and two digs, and Aristea Tontai had five kills, three digs and eight blocks, one solo. 

“I’m just so amazed and impressed with this team today,” UNC coach Joe Sagula said. “The fact that we came back and played inspired. … This was a really great team win because different people stepped up to help us win at different times. 

“The kind of effort we made, the great defensive plays at the end, the great offensive swings, the big blocks, the clutch serving, everything came together for us to pull this out. It’s a testament to everyone’s hard work, staying the course and being great teammates.”

Jasmyn Martin had 18 kills and hit .484 for FSU and had five blocks and a dig. Morgan Chacon had 15 kills, hit .353, and had 19 digs, and Payton Caffrey had 14 kills, an assist, an ace, two blocks and 13 digs. Taryn Knuth had 12 kills and hit .632 after having no errors in 19 attacks. she had a dig and four blocks, two solo … 

Georgia Tech (18-8, 11-4) swept NC State as just seven Yellow Jackets took the court. Mariana Brambilla led with 14 kills as she hit .460 after having no errors in 25 swings. She had an ace, three digs and two blocks … Notre Dame (18-7, 11-4) beat Syracuse in four as Caroline Meuth had 21 kills and Charley Niego had 20. Polina Shemanova had 21 kills, 27 digs and five blocks for Syracuse … Clemson swept Virginia and Boston College won in five at Wake Forest.

Dayton’s Olivia Dubay reaches out to try to tip over VCU’s Vicky Giommarini/Dayton photo

Atlantic 10: VCU put an exclamation point on the end of the regular season as it improved to 23-5 overall, 14-0 in the league, and won its 17th in a row, a 21-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory at Dayton (20-8, 13-1). 

Vicky Giommarini had 15 kills, an ace and eight digs, and Jasmin Sneed had 14 kills, hit .619 after having one error in 21 attacks, and added two digs and eight blocks, one solo. Jaelyn Jackson had nine kills and eight blocks, one solo, and Gina Tuzzolo had nine kills and 10 blocks. 

Jamie Peterson had 26 kills for Dayton and had an assist, two blocks and 10 digs. Sierra Pla had a career-high 10 kills and hit .563 to go with two assists, four blocks and four digs. Amelia Moore had eight kills, an assist, two aces, four blocks and four digs … 

In the other A10 match of the day, third-place Saint Louis (16-11, 10-4) beat Davidson in five as Sien Gallop had 19 kills, 25 digs, an assist and an ace. Hattie Rodriguez had 19 kills for Davidson.

Colonial Athletic: Towson (26-2, 16-0) won the league by three games over James Madison (19-7, 13-3) as it won its 20th in a row, a 22-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-18 victory over visiting William & Mary (7-20, 3-13).

Silvia Grassini, Olivia Finckel and Annie Ertz had 11 kills each for Towson. Grassini hit .429, had an ace, two digs and six blocks; Finckel had five blocks; and Ertz had 12 digs and five blocks, one solo. Marrisa Wonders had three kills in five errorless attempts, 44 assists, two aces, three blocks and 19 digs.

Kate Dedrick had 21 kills and hit .362 for William & Mary and had two aces and nine digs.

Only two other CAA teams have gone unbeaten in regular-season play, Towson in 2003, when it went 14-0, and Towson in 2012, when it finished 12-0 …

JMU won in four at Northeastern as Sophia Davis had 12 kills, hit .423, and had two digs and five blocks, one solo … Maria Bellinger had 27 kills for Delaware in its five-set win at Hofstra, which got 23 kills from Laura Masciullo. Bellinger hit .368, had two assists, an ace eight digs and two blocks, while Masciullo hit .366 and had an assist, an ace, 10 digs and two blocks ..

Ilse Sinnige of Coastal Carolina gets the shot past the South Alabama block/Bob McCool photo

Around the nation: The lone Big Ten match of the day saw No. 8 Penn State (21-4, 14-2) hit .396 as the Nittany Lions swept Northwestern (11-17, 2-14) 25-15, 25-18, 25-15. Penn State, which moved into a three-way tie for second with Nebraska and Minnesota, had five players with eight or more kills and all hit .400 or better. Jonni Parker led with 13 kills, hit .400, and had an assist, an ace, a block and five digs … 

No. 14 Creighton (22-4, 15-1 Big East) won 25-21, 25-22, 25-17 at Butler (11-6, 8-7) as Keeley Davis had 16 kills, two aces, a block and five digs. The Bluejays won despite hitting .168 … Also in the Big East, Efrosini Alexakou had 15 kills and hit .393 for St. John’s in a sweep at Seton Hall … And Kelly Franxman had 15 kills and hit .480 for Xavier in a four-set win over Providence …

In the American Athletic Conference, SMU (18-8, 11-5) broke the tie atop the West Division with a sweep of visiting Houston (16-15, 10-6) as Jadyn Bauss and Hannah Jacobs had 12 kills each … Tulane (20-9, 10-6) finished the regular season tied for second after the Green Wave lost at Memphis … East leader Cincinnati (24-5, 15-1) swept Tulsa as Jordan Thompson had 18 kills, hit .326, and had three assists, an ace, nine digs and a block … 

Lauren Chastang had 21 kills, seven digs and three blocks for Kennesaw State in its four-set ASUN win at Liberty. Casey Goodwin had 20 kills and hit. 444 with six digs and four blocks for Liberty … North Florida won at North Alabama as Solimar Cestero had 21 kills, eight digs and four blocks … 

Sun Belt East leader Coastal Carolina (23-5, 13-3) kept second-place South Alabama (20-10, 11-5) at bay by winning the home match in four as Kyla Manning had 23 kills and Anett Nemeth had 22. Manning hit .452 and had an assist, two aces, seven digs and two blocks, one solo. Nemeth hit .528 and had three assists, an ace, six digs and five blocks, three solo … Also in the Sun Belt, Appalachian State beat Troy in five and Emma Longley had 22 kills, hit .326, and had an assist, eight digs, and two blocks … 

Hartford’s Jenna Bridges had 21 kills in an America East win over New Hampshire, which got 21 kills from Hannah Petke, who hit .528 … In a Conference USA match, North Texas beat UTSA in five as Valerie Valerian had 18 kills and hit .410 to go with two assists, three aces, two blocks and 10 digs. Brianna McCulloch had 17 kills and hit .419 for UTSA …

In the Metro Atlantic, Fairfield improved to 22-5 and finished the regular season 17-1 with a sweep of Niagara. Laura Seeger had 13 kills and Joelle Battles 12 … Also in the MAAC, Erin Hoener had 19 kills and hit .516 for Manhattan in a five-set win at Siena … Zoe McBride had 16 kills and hit .382 with 14 digs in a MEAC sweep for Morgan State over Delaware State. She also had three blocks, one solo … 

Lehigh won a Patriot League match at Holy Cross and Hannah Wright had 17 kills in the four-set win to go with three assists, two aces, eight digs and three blocks. Regan Wright had 18 kills for HC … Also in the Patriot, Navy beat Lafayette in five and Maddi Sgattoni had 24 kills go with an assist, two aces, 10 digs and a block. Carrera-Justiz Ellie had 21 kills and hit .364 for Lafayette and had an assist, an ace, 16 digs and two blocks, one solo … 

And the Summit League race was long over, but South Dakota (27-1, 16-0) finished with a flourish, sweeping Purdue Fort Wayne for its 24th win in a row. Elizabeth Juhnke led with 15 kills and hit .480 and had four assists, 10 digs and a block. Sami Slaughter had 14 kills, hit .333, and had two blocks.

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