NCAA volleyball: Badgers win, BYU takes thriller from Utah, busy Friday ahead

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Wisconsin finally lost a set. But not a match.

BYU won a thriller at Utah on a Thursday where there were 12 matches on the NCAA Division I volleyball scoreboard.

There are 197 on Friday’s slate, including No. 1 Minnesota playing Oregon State and Boise State at Boise, No. 2 Penn State at home for Yale, No. 3 Florida finally at home as the Gators take on Florida A&M and Northern Kentucky and No. 4 Stanford home for Pacific.

Click here for the full NCAA schedule.

Badgers win: No. 5 Wisconsin is 8-0 after beating in-state rival Marquette 9-25, 25-13, 25-21, 26-24. Senior outside Kelli Bates led the Badgers with 17 kills and 10 digs. Senior Lauryn Gillis was back after missing five matches with an ankle injury and had 12 kills, two blocks, two digs and an assist.

“That’s a really good team we played. They present a lot of challenges, and I think these two (Bates and Gillis) were really big for us tonight,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “They’re our seniors and that’s what you do in big matches. I think our young kids played a little young tonight and I think these two carried us tonight.

“I thought Kelli, especially offensively, was fantastic all night and her passing got better as the match went on. (Gilly) was getting her first start, and I thought that she started playing really, really well the last three sets and hit a lot of high hands.

“Neither of them forced it too much, having a low error night for both of them, and just going up there with confidence and taking good swings. They did what seniors are supposed to do.”

Allie Barber had 21 kills and hit .340 for Marquette. She also had six blocks and two digs.

BYU beats Utah: Veronica Jones-Perry had 25 kills as No. 14 BYU won at No. 16 Utah 16-25, 25-13, 25-17, 20-25, 18-16.

BYU improved to 9-1 as Jones-Perry had a whopping 71 swings and hit .268. McKenna Miller added 15 kills, hit .310 and had two aces and four digs.

“I thought we played great,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “I thought we were doing exactly what we wanted. That’s volleyball. It’s going to go either way. I’m so proud of our girls. We did a good job of distributing the ball tonight and getting our hitters in rhythm.”

Utah, 8-2, got 15 kills from Dani Burton, who hit .370 and had seven blocks before a crowd of 4,736. Adora Anae had 13 kills and 12 digs, while Carly Trueman had 12 kills and hit .333. Berkeley Oblad added 10 kills and hit .409 to go with three digs and six blocks, two solo.

“I liked our effort a lot and I liked that we were able to come back,” Utah coach Beth Launiere. “I thought we started out playing great volleyball. Everything was clicking obviously. I liked how we came back in sets four and five a lot. I thought it showed a lot about our team and different people were able to come up for us, which is something that I think is a sign of our team as we are continuing to grow.

“We have different players that can come up in different situations for us. Dani got hot and played huge for us when Adora was struggling there for a little bit. Berkeley really made a change when we adjusted our block a little to stop their outside hitter. Both Berkeley and Tawnee (Luafalemana) both did a nice job on that. We made some nice adjustments but sets two and three were rough, but we responded.”

Also Thursday: In matches involving power-five conference teams, Georgia improved to 9-3 by beating visiting Texas Tech in four, Kansas State beat Omaha in four and Boston College lost in five to Harvard …

UC Davis beat Texas-Arlington in four, Missouri State swept Chattanooga and UC Irvine improved to 9-1 with a sweep of Fresno State. UCI  won its home opener 25-22, 25-21, 25-22 as junior Harlee Kekauoha led all players with 14 kills and a season-high four aces and 12 digs. Junior Haley DeSales added 11 kills and nine digs, while senior Luna Tsujimoto had a match-high 15 digs. It represents quite a turnaround for the Anteaters, who were 13-18 last season.

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