UCF, Rice, UCSB get big wins as NCAA tourney begins, 28 matches Friday

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Micaya White of Texas hits against the Albany block of Danielle Tedesco, left, and Akuabata Okenwa/Angela Wang, Texas Athletics

All four NCAA Tournament seeds — Texas, Florida, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky –won in sweeps Thursday, UCF got past Florida State in five to get to the second round for the first time in 16 years, Rice won its first NCAA match ever as the Owls beat Oklahoma, UCSB is into the second round for the first time in 15 years, and now four teams will advance into the round of 16 on Friday.

The rest of the NCAA field gets under way Friday.

Tulsa is the first team into the NIVC’s round of eight as the Golden Hurricanes ousted Santa Clara.

In all, there will be 32 NCAA matches Friday between the two tournaments and if you want to watch one, we’ve got you covered.

We have all the NCAA broadcast and streaming links. Go to VolleyballMag.com’s TV listings page for easy one-stop clicks that will take you right to the match you want to see.

At Texas: The second-seeded Longhorns (22-3) made short work of UAlbany (16-11), sweeping the America East champions 25-9, 25-16, 25-15. The Longhorns of the Big 12 will now play the Big West’s UC Santa Barbara (23-5), which opened with a 25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 25-14 victory over Sun Belt-champion Texas State (24-9).

Micaya White had 13 kills with one error in 21 attacks and hit .571 for Texas. She had two assists, a block and six digs. Skylar Fields had 10 kills and hit .692 to go with two blocks and a dig, and Logan Eggleston had 10 kills, hit .438, and had an ace, four blocks and five digs. Brionne Butler had seven kills with no errors in 12 swings and hit .583 and had five blocks, one solo. Asjia O’Neal had two kills and also five blocks, one solo. UAlbany hit minus .028.

UCSB, in the tourney for the first time since 2013, got an NCAA victory for the first time since 2004, the last time it also won 23 matches. 

Lindsey Ruddins and Tallulah Frohley led UCSB with 18 kills each. Ruddins had an ace, 13 digs and two blocks. Frohley hit .394 and had a dig and three blocks. Deni Wilson had nine kills, hit .467, and had a dig and five blocks, one solo.

Janell Fitzgerald led Texas State with 12 kills, three digs and two blocks. Cheyenne Huskey had nine kills, an assist, three aces, five digs and a block.

At Western Kentucky: 15th-seeded WKU (32-1) of Conference USA won its 28th match in a row, a 25-23, 25-20, 25-23 sweep of ASUN-champion Kennesaw State (22-9) before a record crowd of 4,514. The Hilltoppers will play the ACC’s Louisville (20-9), which swept Big South-champion Samford (24-6) 25-21, 25-12, 25-22.

WKU hit .357. Paige Briggs led a balanced attack with 11 kills and hit .379. She had an ace, two solo blocks and six digs. Lauren Matthews had nine kills, hit .316, and Kayland Jackson had nine kills with no errors in 12 attacks to hit .750. Sophia Cerino had seven kills, hit .385, and had an ace and six blocks. Katie Isenbarger had eight blocks, one solo.

Lauren Chastang had 19 kills for Kennesaw State and hit .630. She had a block and 12 digs. Dani Ballou had nine kills, two blocks and three digs.

Aiko Jones led Louisville with 17 kills and hit .382. She had two aces and three digs. Anna Stevenson had 12 kills with no errors in 14 attacks and hit .857 to go with three digs and four blocks, one solo. Claire Chaussee had eight kills, an ace, two blocks and 10 digs. Tori Dilfer had 41 assists, three aces, two blocks and four digs.

Lauren Deaton led Samford with 11 kills and hit .370. She had a solo block and seven digs. Kelsi Hobbs had 10 kills, an ace, two blocks and seven digs.

At Florida: The 10th-seeded Gators (26-4), who tied for the SEC lead, overpowered SWAC-champion Alabama State (17-22) 25-10, 25-16, 25-20 and will play American Athletic Conference-champion UCF (24-7). The Knights came away with a 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-8 victory over the ACC’s Florida State (19-10) in a match with some astounding stats.

Florida hit .412 as Paige Hammons and Mia Sokolowski led with 10 kills each. Hammons hit .304 and had two aces, two blocks and eight digs. Sokolowski hit .421 and had a solo block and two digs. Rachael Kramer had eight kills, hit .583 after having one error in 12 attacks, and had three blocks. Marlie Monserez had four kills in 10 errorless attempts, and had 35 assists, an ace, a block and four digs.

Taira Cottingham led Alabama State with 11 kills and hit .321. ASU, which hit .126, got eight kills from Bayle’ Bennett, who had an assist, an ace, four digs and two blocks, one solo.

UCF is in the second round for the first time since 2003 after a five-set match in which Florida State had 123 digs and the Knights had 118.

McKenna Melville led UCF with 20 kills — in 90 attacks — and had two assists, an ace, three blocks and 27 digs. Libero Makenzie Kuchmaner also had 27 digs to go with eight assists. Kristina Fisher had 19 kills and 19 digs, Anne-Marie Watson had 12 kills, six blocks and four digs, and Allie Sabol had 11 kills, three blocks and three digs. Setters Erin Olson and Amber Olson combined for 52 assists, an ace and 34 digs.

It was the first NCAA win for Todd Dagenais, who got his 237th UCF victory to become the school’s all-time winningest coach.

Payton Caffrey had 25 kills to lead FSU after taking 80 swings. She had an assist, an ace, three blocks and 14 digs. Taryn Knuth had 11 kills, hit .370, and had a dig and six blocks, one solo. Emma Clothier had 10 kills, hit .429, and had a dig and five blocks. Setters Lily Tessier and Adrian Eli combined for 42 assists, an ace and 39 digs.

At Texas A&M: The Aggies (22-7), seeded 13th, got all they could handle from the Big East’s St. John’s (22-12) for two sets before coming away with a 27-25, 25-21, 25-12 sweep. Texas A&M of the SEC is into the second round for the first time since 2015 and will play Rice of Conference USA (27-3), which overpowered the Big 12’s Oklahoma (19-9) 25-18, 25-22, 25-19.

Texas A&M hit .400 as Hollann Hans led with 15 kills and hit .400 herself. She had an assist, an ace, a block and 10 digs. Treyaunna Rush had nine kills, hit .357, and had five blocks and two digs. Mallory Talbert had six kills with no errors in seven swings and added an assist, two blocks and a dig, and Lauren Davis had six kills, an assist, a block and a dig. Camille Conner was perfect on four attempts for four kills, had 36 assists and four digs.

Efrosini Alexakou led St. John’s with 13 kills and had an ace and four digs. Klara Mikelova had 11 kills, an assist, three aces, two blocks and eight digs. St. John’s was in the tournament for the first time in 12 years.

Rice hit .229, while Oklahoma hit .119. Nicole Lennon led Rice with 16 kills and had two aces, two blocks and nine digs. Tori Woogk had eight kills and four digs, Anota Adekunle had seven kills and hit .333 to go with two blocks, and Grace Morgan had six kills, hit .455, and had an assist, an ace, six blocks and three digs.

Brianna Kadiku led Oklahoma with 10 kills and added an ace, two block and a dig. The Sooners were in the tourney for the first time since 2014.

Friday’s schedule: Top-seeded Baylor (25-1), which tied for the Big 12 title, opens with the Northeast Conference’s Sacred Heart (20-11), while the other match in Waco pits Stephen F. Austin of the Southland Conference (31-1), which has won 24 in a row, against the Pac-12’s USC (17-13).

Third-seeded Stanford (24-4) plays host to the Summit League’s Denver (23-8), while the other match has The Big West’s Cal Poly (20-8) playing Georgia of the Southeastern Conference (20-9).

Fourth-seeded Wisconsin (22-6) faces surprise Missouri Valley Conference-winner Illinois State (22-11), while the other match has the Pac-12’s UCLA (18-11) playing the ACC’s Notre Dame (19-9).

Surprise MAC-winner Ball State (20-11) has the unenviable task at playing at No. 5-seeded Nebraska (25-4), where the Bob Devaney center is always sold out. The other match has the SEC’s Missouri (21-7) playing the Missouri Valley’s Northern Iowa (24-10). 

Sixth-seeded Pittsburgh (29-1), playing the first two rounds at home and then hoping to get back to the Iron City for the national semifinals, opens against the MEAC’s Howard (20-12).

The No. 7 seed, Minnesota of the Big Ten (23-5) plays the Metro Atlantic champion, Fairfield (24-5). The other match in Minneapolis has the Big 12’s Iowa State (17-11) facing the Big East’s Creighton (24-5) in what promises to be one of the showcase battles of the first round.

Eighth-seeded Washington of the Pac-12 (24-6) is home for Winthrop (24-4), which won the Big South. The other match has Mountain West-champion Colorado State (29-1), riding a 28-match winning streak, playing the SEC’s South Carolina (19-11).

Kentucky, the No. 9 seed (23-6), which tied for the SEC title, is home for Southeast Missouri of the Ohio Valley Conference (23-10). Also in Lexington, the Northern Kentucky Norse (19-12), the upset winner in the Horizon League, plays Michigan of the Big Ten (20-10).

At Penn State, the 11th-seeded Nittany Lions of the Big Ten (24-5) plays Ivy League-champion Princeton (17-7). The other match pits two of the hottest teams in the country. The Patriot League’s American (24-7), on a 17-match winning streak, takes on Towson (28-2), which won the Colonial Athletic Association and has won 22 in a row.

No. 12 Hawai’i (24-3), which won the Big West, is an NCAA host for the first time since 2013 as the Rainbow Wahine play Northern Colorado (26-7), which won the Big Sky. In the other match, WCC champion San Diego (24-5), plays the Pac-12’s Washington State (23-9).

The West Coast Conference’s BYU (25-4), the No. 14 seed, plays NM State (27-3), which captured the WAC and is on a 19-match winning streak. In another highly anticipated first-round match, the Pac-12’s Utah (22-9) faces the Big Ten’s Illinois (16-13).

And 16th-seeded Purdue (22-7) of the Big Ten opens with Wright State of the Horizon League (24-5). In the other match in West Lafayette, Indiana, the Big East’s Marquette (27-5), with a lot to prove after many observers thought the team deserved a top-16 seed, plays Dayton of the Atlantic 10 (22-8).

NIVC: Tulsa of Conference USA (17-15) is into the round of 16 after following up its victory over UC Davis with another four-set win, this time over Santa Clara of the West Coast Conference (21-12).  The 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22 victory marked the first time in Tulsa’s history that it has won two postseason matches. Callie Cook led with 12 kills and had no errors in 16 swings to hit .750. She also had six blocks. Julia Sangiacomo led Santa Clara with 18 kills, 15 digs and four blocks, one solo … 

There were eight first-round winners.

TCU of the Big 12 (10-17) beat Bowling Green of Mid-American (17-12) in five as Katie Clark had 12 kills and 12 blocks, four solo. Margaret Payne had 20 kills and five blocks for Bowling Green … UNLV (20-10) of the Mountain West beat the WAC’s Kansas City (17-11) in four as Alison French had 14 kills, hit .423 and had three blocks. Mariena Hayden had 12 kills, seven aces, three blocks and 16 digs … 

The Southland’s Sam Houston State (19-13) won in four over Houston of the American Athletic (16-17) as Samantha Rodgers had 17 kills and hit .448 … Weber State of the Big Sky (25-8) beat the Mountain West’s Boise State (18-11) in four behind 19 kills by Dani Nay, who hit .319 and had five blocks …

Bowling Green of the MAC (20-12) beat Purdue Fort Wayne of the Summit League (18-15) in four as Katelyn Meyer had 18 kills, three digs and five blocks … Things went better for another Summit League team as South Dakota (28-2) beat the MAC’s Central Michigan (21-9). Elizabeth Juhnke led with 16 kills, an assist, an ace, nine digs and five blocks, one solo … 

UT Arlington of the Sun Belt (19-13) rallied for a five-set win over visiting UTSA of Conference USA (16-14). Kylie Jedlicka led with 15 kills and had an assist, an ace, three blocks and 16 digs. Brianna McCulloch had 17 kills and hit .375 for UTSA … 

And Wyoming of the Mountain West (22-8) swept Northwestern State of the Southland Conference  (20-13) as KC McMahon had 17 kills and hit .500. 

Click here for the NIVC bracket.

 

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