Of course there were upsets, two more in the Big Ten as Illinois beat No. 7 Minnesota and Michigan beat No. 15 Purdue for the first time in seven years.
But those were regular-season matches.
For many mid-majors, Saturday was an all-or-nothing day and a handful of teams won their conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, like upstart Stony Brook in the America East, Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun, CSU Bakersfield in the WAC, Austin Peay in the OVC and North Dakota in the Big Sky.
And Princeton beat Yale in a one-match playoff to take the Ivy League bid.
Stat of the day: Laura Milos of Oral Roberts had 32 kills, hit .338 and had 18 digs and three blocks in the Summit League semifinals.
Also, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the NCAA Division III title. That recap is at the end this article.
The recaps follow, but first a look at Sunday’s schedule, where more tickets to the NCAA Tournament will be punched.
There is one Big Ten match when No. 12 Wisconsin plays at Northwestern.
The Pac-12 has three matches, including No. 10 Washington at No. 20 Oregon. No. 18 UCLA goes to Cal and in a battle of two of the hottest teams in the league, both coming off big upsets, Washington State goes to Oregon State.
The SEC has a busy slate, including No. 6 Kentucky playing host to Ole Miss hoping to keep pace with idle No. 3 Florida, a half game up atop the standings. Third-place Missouri plays host to Arkansas while fourth-place LSU goes to Alabama. Also, South Carolina is at Texas A&M, Georgia goes to Tennessee and Mississippi State plays at Auburn.
There is one match in the Big 12 when No. 19 Baylor plays at West Virginia.
The ACC has a full schedule. Louisville, which plays host to North Carolina, and Pitt, which goes to Georgia Tech, are tied for the lead. NC State, which fell a game back by losing to Louisville on Wednesday, goes to Notre Dame. Also in the ACC, Miami is at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest goes to Boston College, Florida State plays at Virginia and Duke goes to Syracuse.
No. 21 Wichita State plays an American Athletic Conference match at SMU.
A conference-by-conference breakdown follows and remember that the complete schedule can be found on the VBM daily TV and streaming listings, with easy click-to-watch links.
Upsets for Illini, Wolverines in B1G: And top-ranked Penn State and No. 6 Nebraska stayed tied for the lead with sweeps, while No. 8 Michigan State and Iowa also won.
Illinois (19-10, 10-8 B1G) beat visiting Minnesota 27-29, 25-19, 25-18, 25-20, its first win over the Gophers in more than three years as it hit .333. Jacqueline Quade led with 21 kills while hitting. 400. She had 10 digs and two blocks. Beth Prince had 19 kills and Ali Bastianelli and Megan Cooney had eight each. Bastianelli had five blocks. And setter Jordyn Poulter not only had 50 assists, she had nine kills, hit .750 and had 17 digs and five blocks, one solo.
The Gophers (25-4, 14-4), who lost for the second time in five matches, were led by Stephanie Samedy’s 16 kills. She added 15 digs. Alexis Hart had 15 kills and Molly Lohman 12 as Minnesota hit .190.
Michigan, which had lost three of four, is now on a three-match winning streak after beating Michigan State last Wednesday and now Purdue 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22. The Wolverines (19-11, 9-9) got 16 kills and 16 digs from Carly Skjodt. Katherine Mahlke added 14 kills while hitting .500 and Sydney Wetterstrom had 12 kills, two blocks and four digs. Purdue (21-8, 11-7) was led by Sherridan Atkinson’s 20 kills. She hit .302 and had nine digs and four blocks. Danielle Cuttino had 12 kills and six blocks, one solo, and Caitlyn Newton had 10 kills.
In what has to be among the most lopsided matches in the NCAA this season, Penn State (27-1, 17-1) won at Rutgers 25-5, 25-9, 25-9 in an hour, 4 minutes. Simone Lee led with 17 kills with one error in 20 swings to hit .800. She added four digs and three blocks.
Rutgers (5-25, 0-18) hit minus .082.
Nebraska (24-4, 17-1) won at Maryland 25-23, 25-18, 25-13 as Mikaela Foecke and Annika Albrecht led a balanced attack with eight kills each. Maryland (17-13, 6-12), which has an RPI of 46 and holds hope of an at-large NCAA bid, got 10 kills from Erika Pritchard.
Michigan State (20-7, 13-5) rolled over visiting Indiana (12-18, 1-17) 25-15, 25-12, 25-18 as Autumn Bailey had 11 kills and Brooke Kranda 10. Indiana hit .048.
And Iowa (18-13, 7-11) swept Ohio State (14-15, 7-11) 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 as Jess Janota had 12 kills and hit .579 to go with seven blocks and Claire Sheehan had 10 kills, three blocks and 10 digs. Luisa Schirmer had 16 kills and seven digs for Ohio State.
Utah, Colorado win in Pac-12: The No. 17 Utes beat visiting Arizona 20-25, 25-15, 25-15, 25-15 to improve to 21-8, 12-6 in the Pac-12. Adora Anae led with 13 kills despite hitting .044. She had 19 digs. Berkeley Oblad had 10 kills and six blocks, one solo. Arizona (10-17, 4-14) hit .075.
Colorado (21-8, 11-7) held on to beat visiting Arizona State (10-20, 0-18) 28-26, 25-16, 26-24, 25-23, 15-11 as five Buffs had 10 or more kills. Alexa Smith led with 22, hitting .392, and she had three aces, 11 digs and three blocks. Frankie Shebby added 16 kills, 18 digs and three blocks, two solo. Oluoma Okaro led the Sun Devils with 25 kills, 15 digs, two aces and three blocks.
Arizona State again was coached by Carlos Moreno since head coach Sanja Tomasevic is not traveling after the recent birth of her daughter, Stella.
Iowa State tops TCU in Big 12: The No 23 Cyclones won at TCU 25-19, 25-16, 25-14 to improve to 20-6, 10-5 in the Big 12, while TCU dropped to 11-16, 3-12. Jess Schaben led with 12 kills and had seven digs.
Also in the Big 12, Kansas State (10-18, 3-12) swept visiting Oklahoma (7-20, 4-10) as Elle Sandbothe and Kylee Zumach had eight kills each.
BYU, San Diego take WCC wins: No. 9 BYU overpowered visiting Santa Clara 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 to improve to 27-2, 16-1, and stay in a tie with USD. Veronica Jones-Perry led with 14 kills, two blocks and five digs, while McKenna Miller had 11 kills, two digs and two blocks. Santa Clara is 15-14, 8-9.
No. 11 USD (23-4, 16-1) beat visiting San Francisco 25-17, 25-11, 25-20 as Jayden Kennedy, Kaity Edwards and Merve Tanyel had 10 kills each. USF is 3-27, 0-17.
Creighton, Cal Poly, CSU, Missouri State win: No. 13 Creighton had to go five at Georgetown, but the Bluejays prevailed 22-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-21, 15-13 and claimed their fourth consecutive Big East regular-season title. Creighton is 23-6 overall, 16-2 in the Big East.
“For us, particularly our seniors, to win four Big East championships is pretty amazing, and to do it in the fashion that we did tonight in some respects makes us appreciate it a little bit more,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “I thought Georgetown played a phenomenal match and it clearly could have gone either way.”
Creighton, 3-1 this season in five-setters, got 16 kills from Jaali Winters, who had 10 digs and three blocks. Taryn Kloth had 14 kills, Marysa Wilkinson added 13 and Megan Ballenger had 12, eight blocks and four digs. Georgetown is 8-22, 2-16.
No. 22 Cal Poly swept CSU Fullerton to finish the Big West unbeaten. Torrey Van Winden had 16 kills, hit .344 and had seven digs in the 25-18, 25-17, 25-9 win as the Mustangs improved to 26-2, 16-0.
Also in the Big West, Hawai’i improved to 20-7, 14-2 with a sweep of UC Irvine and her team was swept by UC Riverside, but UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins had 20 kills, 14 digs and two blocks, one solo. That followed a 26-kill, 15-dig effort Thursday in a win over Cal State Fullerton.
No. 24 Colorado State won at San Diego State 25-22, 25-20, 25-21 to improve to 27-3, 17-1 in the Mountain West. Breanna Runnels led with 13 kills and hit .458. San Diego State is 16-15, 10-8.
And No. 25 Missouri State completed a perfect Missouri Valley season with a 24-26, 25-23, 25-14, 25-10 win at Loyola. The Bears (26-5, 18-0) won their 19th match in a row, the school’s longest streak since 1975, and won their 34th consecutive MVC match. Junior libero Emily Butters had 27 digs, which put her into first place on the program’s all-time list. Lynsey Wright led with 21 kills while hitting .528. Lily Johnson hit .040 and had 11 kills and 11 digs. Aubrey Cheffey had 10 kills and three blocks, one solo. Loyola is 5-24, 4-14.
Stony Brook and first-year head coach Kristin Belzung are going to the NCAA Tournament after the Seawolves beat Binghamton 25-20, 25-18, 25-19.
“I could not be more proud of this group,” Belzung said. “They were locked in from the start defensively, both blocking and digging, and I thought that gave us a ton of confidence. On top of that, this group didn’t let anything get to them all weekend. They took care of each other and played for something bigger than themselves.”
Stony Brook (18-12), the fourth-seed, upset No. 1 Albany in the semifinals. The Seawolves were led by McKyla Brooks, who had 14 kills, hit .462 and had six blocks, one solo. Maria Poole had 10 kills and hit .529. Binghamton’s season ended 12-15.
The top teams will play for the title Sunday.
VCU (29-2) swept Rhode Island 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 for its 26th win in a row. Vicky Giommarini led with 11 kills and hit .444. Rhode Island’s season ended 12-16.
And Dayton (23-7) rolled over George Washington 25-7, 25-15, 25-17 as Jessica Sloan had 10 kills and hit .450. Mackenzie Weaver added nine kills, hit. 471 and had five digs and four blocks. George Washington’s season ended 11-21.
Kennesaw State is going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The Owls (21-4) beat FGCU 25-23, 25-22, 25-17 as Anaiah Boyer had 12 kills, 13 digs and four blocks, one solo, and Rachel Taylor had eight kills, hit .615 and had four blocks.
“This is a feeling that as a coach you imagine, but until you get here it’s hard to describe all the different emotions that are running through my mind,” KSU coach Keith Schunzel said. “From the incredible amount of hard work that our players and staff have put into this thing, to all of the support staff that has sacrificed so much time to make our program better. I think about all of the alumni that were here tonight because they are big part of this too and the many alums who worked so hard to get this program to this moment.”
FGCU’s season most likely is over at 22-10. Amanda Carroll had 15 kills and15 digs.
North Dakota beat the league winner on its home floor when it counted and now the Fighting Hawks are NCAA-bound for the second straight year. The 25-19, 24-26, 18-25, 25-15, 15-10 victory left UND 30-7 as Faith Dooley led with 19 kills — 11 in the final two sets — and 10 digs.
“We really gave away set two with our own errors and set three was just abysmal,” UND coach Mark Pryor said. “We were just bad, and our court demeanor just wasn’t acceptable. Even before I could address that before set four, I hear (senior) Julia Kaczorowska talking very sternly to the team. I listen in, and she is talking about who we are and who we want to be, and she personally was not going to allow our season to end due to us losing our identity, and being selfish in a big moment.
“That was it. She simply was not going to let any negativity get in our way. She stated it, it was addressed as a team, and they just rolled from there. We won because our team rediscovered their identity in a tough situation. They didn’t let the moment be too big. It was that type of leadership, and the fact that the team recognized that if we don’t self destruct, and follow the game plan, they couldn’t beat us.
“We talked about how much this team loves each other and how much they are willing to fight for each other. That was on display in sets four and five and it was my proudest moment as a coach.”
Sacramento State (26-9) was led by Mikaela Nocetti’s 17 kills. The Hornets, No. 57 in the NCAA RPI, are hoping their season continues in the NIVC.
The top teams play on Sunday for the NCAA bid as No. 1 High Point faces No. 2 Radford. High Point swept Liberty, while Radford did the same to Winthrop.
High Point (24-6) held Liberty (12-19) to .068 hitting in its 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 win. Haley Barnes led High Point with 12 kills, six digs and three solo blocks, while Katie Doering had 11 kills and two blocks.
Radford (24-4) won 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 as Valerie Gonzalez and Maddie Palmer had 10 kills each.
The two top teams go at it Sunday for the NCAA berth, although both Western Kentucky and North Texas would be in strong consideration for an at-large bid.
WKU (29-3) swept Southern Miss 25-21, 25-18, 25-20 as Alyssa Cavanaugh had 17 kills, five digs and two solo blocks. USM’s season ended 20-12.
North Texas (28-2) beat UTSA 19-25, 25-16, 25-18, 27-25 as Molly Milam and Jordyn Williams had 14 kills each and Valerie Valerian had 13 and 27 digs. UTSA’s season ended 12-16 as Marijeta Runjic had 16 kills, 15 digs and three blocks.
James Madison is NCAA-bound. The Dukes (23-5) swept regular-season winner Charleston 25-21, 25-22, 25-17 and is going back to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight time and fifth overall. Bryn Recker led with 19 kills as she hit .410 and had eight digs and two blocks. M’Kaela White had nine kills, hit .529 and had eight blocks.
“I could not be more proud of our team, they played so well and played together this afternoon. They all have worked so hard all year for this, so to see all the pieces come together this weekend really made it fun to watch,” JMU coach Lauren Steinbrecher said. “Tonight, we are just going to celebrate this win and hit the courts again tomorrow as we prepare for whomever we may face in the NCAA tournament in a few weeks.”
Charleston (27-5), which has an NCAA RPI of 52, got 14 kills from Rachel Devon, who had 11 digs. Kennedy Madison and Krissy Mummey had 10 kills each.
Top-seeded Cleveland State will play No. 4 Green Bay for the league’s NCAA bid.
Cleveland State (21-7) beat Northern Kentucky 25-23, 25-15, 19-25, 25-19 as Trinniti Hall had 16 kills, hit .520 and had four digs and eight blocks, one solo. NKU’s season ended 12-15.
Green Bay (15-14) upset Oakland 25-15, 25-23, 25-23. Taylor Wolf led with 10 kills and eight digs and Lydia DeWeese and Jessica Wolf had eight kills each.
Oakland’s season ended 17-12 as Darien Bandel and Sammy Condon had nine kills each.
The Ivy doesn’t have a tournament, so when Princeton and Yale tied at season’s end, they played a winner-take-all rubber match. And Princeton (18-7) won 25-23, 25-16, 25-23 after trailing 17-7 in the first set. Maggie O’Connell led with 12 kills. Nnenna Ibe and Natasha Skov had eight kills each as Princeton is going back for the second straight year seventh time overall.
Yale’s season ended 16-8. The Bulldogs got 12 kills from Tristin Kott.
Top-seeded and host Miami and sixth-seeded Western Michigan will play for the NCAA bid.
WMU (18-12) upset second-seeded Bowling Green 9-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 as Rachel Bontrager had 18 kills and Sydney LeMay added 14 while hitting .500. Bowling Green ended its season 17-11. Nicole Slimko led with 16 kills, two digs and three blocks, two solo.
Miami (22-8) swept Ohio 5-21, 25-21, 25-23 as the Redhawks got to their third MAC title tilt in four years. Olivia Rusek led with nine kills and 12 digs.
Ohio’s season ended 17-15.
Florida A&M will face Howard for the NCAA bid.
FAMU (15-11) upset Maryland Eastern Shore (27-8), while Howard (15-15) ousted Hampton (13-17.
FAMU’s Maria Yvette Garcia led the Rattlers with 13 kills and 10 digs. UMES, undefeated in league regular-season play, got 13 kills from Lucia Babic.
Howard was led by Jessica Young, who had 16 kills, hit .433 and had an ace, four digs and a solo block. Hampton’s Reeana Richardson led her team with 13 kills.
Top-seeded Fairfield and No. 3 Iona play for the NCAA bid.
Fairfield (24-6) which beat Iona (16-17) twice this season, beat Marist in the semifinals 25-22, 25-22, 25-15. It marked the Stags’ 50th win in a row over a MAAC foe, including the tournament semifinal. Skyler Day led with 12 kills and 12 digs and Megan Theiller and and Luci Albertson had 10 kills each.
Marist’s season ended 15-16.
Iona beat Niagara 25-23, 25-18, 26-24 as Mia Bonsignore had 17 kills, hit .536, and had five blocks and Claire Archibald had 16 kills, hit .417, and had 13 digs, a block and an ace. Niagara’s season ended 18-10. Rylee Hunt, the three-time MAAC libero of the year, had 18 digs and ended her career with 2,311 digs. She had 648 this season, most in program history.
LIU Brooklyn is going back to the NCAA Tournament. LIU beat Central Connecticut 25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 21-25, 15-12 as sophomore libero Natalia Rivera had 38 digs. LIU (20-9) got 19 kills from Filippa Hansson, who had seven digs and eight blocks, one solo. Victoria Fink added 15 kills and 18 digs.
Central Connecticut saw its season end at 19-18. Madelyn Kaprelyan had 18 kills, two digs and three blocks.
At Austin Peay, they chant, “Let’s go Peay!” And the Govs didn’t disppoint, beating Murray State for the OVC NCAA bid 21-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 15-10.
Austin Peay (30-5) won the OVC title for the third time as Christina White had 20 kills, hit .378, and had 18 digs. Brooke Moore added 15 kills, 17 digs and three blocks, and Kaylee Taff had 12 kills and four blocks.
Murray State’s season ended 22-9. Rachel Holthaus and Katirah Johnson had 14 kills apiece. Holthaus had 11 dig and four blocks, one solo. Rachel Giustino added 13 kills and had 22 digs.
American will play Navy for the league’s NCAA bid.
Top-seeded American (25-7) advanced in by sweeping No. 4 Lehigh (18-13), while No. 2 Navy (23-7) swept No. 3 Army West Point (18-12).The teams split their regular-season meetings.
American won 25-18, 25-18, 29-27 for its 17th victory in a row. Aleksandra Kazala led with 18 kills, hit .412, and had four digs and three blocks, one solo. Helena Elbaek added 10 kills. She had one error in 18 attacks and hit .500 to go with two blocks.
Navy, which has never won the Patriot League, beat Army 25-15, 25-15, 25-22 to get to its first tournament final since 1999. Six players had five or more kills, led by seven each from Maddie Sgattoni, Maggie Phillips and Sarena Seelbach.
Alabama State (28-10), which went unbeaten in regular-season play, faces Texas Southern for the league’s automatic bid.
ASU swept Jackson State (14-20) 26-24, 25-12, 25-13, beating a conference foe for the 41st consecutive time as Briana Dorsey led with 13 kills and hit .571. She had three blocks and two digs.
Texas Southern (16-12) beat Prairie View (9-18) 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-23. Six Tigers had five or more kills, led by Nicole Robinson, who had nine and four blocks, one solo. Kirby Anderson had five kills and 11 blocks, one solo.
Alabama State beat TSU twice this season, in four in Houston and in five at home.
Wofford upset league-winner Furman and plays ETSU for the league’s NCAA bid.
Furman (21-10) was stunned by fourth-seeded Wofford (22-10) 25-23, 25-19, 25-20. Catie Cronister led with 14 kills, eight digs and two blocks, one solo. Bijonae Jones added 13 kills, hit .440 and had seven digs. Furman, which went 14-2 in conference play, got 10 kills from Jamila Johnson, who had eight digs. Wofford is in the final for the first time.
ETSU (18-11) bounced UNCG (19-11) 25-19, 25-16, 25-22. Rylee Milhorn led with 13 kills and 11 digs. UNCG got 13 kills and 11 digs from Ashley Muench. This is ETSU’s sixth title tilt appearance but first since 1995.
Abilene Christian did it again.
The Wildcats, seeded eighth, upset top-seeded SFA to open the tournament. Then in Saturday’s semifinals they upset fourth-seeded Houston Baptist 26-24, 27-25, 19-25, 25-23.
ACU (13-17) faces Central Arkansas (26-4), which got past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 20-25, 15-9 in the other semi.
Abilene Christian’s Jacey Smith had 20 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. Katelyn Mueller added 11 kills and 15 digs.
HBU saw its season end 20-11. Bailey Banks led with 16 kills and 22 digs and Jessica Wooten had 15 kills and 30 digs.
Central Arkansas is back in the final for the third time in five years. Four players had 11 or mor kills, led by Haley Tippett, who had 16 despite hitting .047. She had 21 digs, an ace and two blocks.
TAMUCC ended its season 15-14.
Denver (22-5) is in the league’s title match for the fifth consecutive year and will play Oral Roberts (15-12) for the NCAA bid.
Denver beat North Dakota State 25-11, 25-20, 25-22 as Becca Latham had 20 kills, hit .444 and had two blocks. NDSU’s season ended 19-9.
Oral Roberts beat South Dakota 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9 behind the incredible effort of Milos, who had almost half her team’s 66 kills. Shelby Cox and Morgan Blomquist had 11 kills each. South Dakota’s season ended 17-11. Hayley Dotseth had another big match for SDSU with 14 kills and 18 digs.
Coastal Carolina plays Texas State for the NCAA bid.
Coastal (19-7) beat Arkansas State 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 as Leah Hardeman had 19 kills, hit .311 and had 13 digs and three blocks. Arkansas State’s season ended 20-11.
Texas State (24-8) ousted Louisiana 25-16, 18-25, 25-22, 25-14 as Amy Pflughaupt had 17 kills and 19 digs and Jaliyah Bolden had 13 kills. Megan Porter had 12 kills and 22 digs.
Louisiana, which ended its season 21-11, got 12 kills from Hali Wisnoskie.
CSU Bakersfield, the fourth seed, pulled another upset, this time of second-seeded Texas Rio Grande Valley, the ‘Runners are NCAA-bound.
CSU Bakersfield (19-13), which upset NM State on Friday, got 14 kills from Aleksandra Djordjevic, who had an ace, 12 digs and four blocks, two solo.
UTRGV (17-12) was led by Ragni Steen Knudsen’s 18 kills. She had 11 digs and a block.
Athenas win DIII title: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which had never made it past the quarterfinals, not only upset but swept Wittenburg. C-M-S, which advanced by beating Gustoph Adolphus and then Ithaca in the semifinals, beat Wittenburg 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
C-M-S, a combined program from Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College that play in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, earned the first national title in the athletic program’s history. Margaux Arntson led with 18 kills, hit .519 and had three blocks, and teammate Shelbi Stein had 10 kills and three blocks.
C-M-S finished 31-5, while Wittenburg of Ohio ended 27-3. Maddie Fisher led with 13 kills, five digs and two blocks, one solo.