Conference tourneys: WAC surprises, Portland St. survives in Big Sky, WKU opens C-USA play

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Louisiana-Monroe's Logan Jeffus blocks Georiga Southern's Robin Rosser in their Sun Belt match Thursday/Sun Belt photo

A handful of teams saw their seasons end Thursday as NCAA Division I women’s volleyball conference tournament play began in earnest around the country. While most seeds held form, there were a couple of surprises in the WAC.

The tournaments beginning Friday include America East, Atlantic 10, Conference USA — including No. 18 Western Kentucky — Horizon League, MAAC, MEAC, NEC, and SWAC. 

To read all about Thursday’s regular-season matches, go to our story here.

Want to watch a match? We have the links. Go to our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming listings to find any match that is being shown.

AMERICA EAST — The tournament begins with fourth-seeded Stony Brook playing league-winner UMBC and then UAlbany faces New Hampshire. The final is Saturday.

ASUN — In Friday’s semifinals, Jacksonville State, which won the West, plays Kennesaw State, the second seed from the East, and East winner FGCU plays North Florida, the No. 3 team from the East. 

North Florida (24-6) knocked out West No. 2 Lipscomb (14-13) in four as Bre Welp and Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana had 15 kills each … Jacksonville State (24-6) swept Stetson (13-16) behind 17 kills by Katie Montgomery, who hit .517 and had six blocks, one solo … Kennesaw State (20-8) swept Eastern Kentucky (10-21) and FGCU (24-5) swept Liberty (10-14).

ATLANTIC 10 — The six team tournament begins with Duquesne playing Davidson, with the winner getting Dayton in the semifinals Saturday. Fordham plays Saint Louis for the right to play VCU.

BIG SKY — Friday’s semifinals pit Portland State vs. Northern Colorado and Montana State vs. Weber State.

Portland State (19-9, 13-4) had to rally and win in five to get past Sacramento State (16-12) 25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 25-14, 15-13. Parker Webb led with 16 kills, two aces, and two digs, and Makayla Lewis had 13 kills, two aces, a block, and 20 digs. Bridgette Smith had 20 kills for Sacramento State … UNC (22-6, 13-3) swept Eastern Washington (11-14) … Weber State (19-8) swept Montana (11-16) behind 16 kills from Rylin Adams, who hit .324 and had 11 digs …Kira Thomsen had 26 kills as Montana State (15-13) beat Northern Arizona (12-14) in five. Thomsen hit .352 and had 11 digs. Hannah Scott had 15 kills, four assists, an ace, and 14 digs. Courtney Weatherby had 35 digs, four assists, and two aces. NAU’s Taylor Jacobsen had 20 kills, an assist, a solo block, and 11 digs.

CAA — In Friday’s semifinals, top-seeded Towson (24-4) faces Delaware (15-12), which swept Northeastern (12-15), and second-seeded Elon (16-10) takes on Hofstra (15-13), which had to go five to beat Charleston (16-12). 

Worth noting is third-place James Madison, which is moving to the Sun Belt, was kicked out of the tournament by the CAA.

CONFERENCE USA — Friday’s quarterfinals have top-seeded WKU facing UAB and second-seeded Rice playing Charlotte. Also, North Texas plays Middle Tennessee and FIU faces UTEP.  The semifinals are Saturday and the championship match Sunday. 

HORIZON LEAGUE — It’s a six-team tournament, so Wright State plays Oakland for the right to play top-seeded Milwaukee on Saturday and UIC faces Green Bay with the winner getting Northern Kentucky. The final is Sunday.

MAAC — Friday’s quarterfinals include No. 1 Fairfield playing Siena, No. 2 Rider facing Iona, Canisius vs. Niagara, and Marist playing Quinnipiac. The semifinals are Saturday and the championship is Sunday.

MEAC — Friday’s quarterfinals include top-seeded Howard playing South Carolina State and No. 2 Delaware State playing Morgan State. North Carolina Central plays UMES and Coppin State plays Norfolk State. The semifinals are Saturday, and Sunday’s 8 p.m. Eastern final will be shown on ESPNU.

NEC — Friday’s semifinals pit league-winner Bryant against Saint Francis and Sacred Heart against LIU. The winners play Saturday. 

OHIO VALLEY — In Friday’s semifinals, Austin Peay (21-11) plays Morehead State (19-11) and Murray State (18-11) plays Southeast Missouri State (24-7).

Austin Peay swept Tennessee Tech (16-14) as it hit .374. Mikayla Powell had 16 kills and hit .500 … Morehead State swept Belmont (9-20) behind 14 kills by Abby Hulsman … Murray State swept UT Martin (15-17) as Brooke Watts had 23 kills, hit .378 and had seven digs … SEMO hit .340 and swept Eastern Illinois (11-18). 

SOUTHLAND — Friday’s quarterfinals pit Nicholl State against McNeese, with the winner getting second-seeded HBU on Saturday, and UIW vs. Southeastern with the winner getting top-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. 

Nicholls beat Northwestern State in four and UIW beat New Orleans in five. 

SUN BELT — This four-day tournament continues with quarterfinals Friday when UT Arlington plays Georgia Southern, South Alabama plays Georgia State, Coastal Carolina plays Louisiana, and three-time defending-champion Texas State plays Troy.

Friday, Georgia Southern beat Louisiana-Monroe in four, Georgia State did the same to Arkansa State, Louisiana swept App State, and Troy beat Little Rock in four.

SWAC — Top-seeded Jackson State plays Texas Southern in the first quarterfinal, followed by Grambling State vs. Alabama State, Southern vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Florida A&M vs. b The semifinals are Saturday and championship match Sunday.

WAC — There were two surprises as seventh-seeded Utah Valley (14-12) ended the four-match day with a five-set upset of second-seeded NM State (19-9), while earlier sixth-seeded Stephen F. Austin (18-8) bounced third-seeded Chicago State (17-10), also in five.

Friday, top-seeded Sam Houston (18-8) plays fifth-seeded Grand Canyon (18-6), while Utah Valley plays SFA in the other semifinal.

Sam Houston swept Abilene Christian (9-15) despite hitting .186 … Grand Canyon hit .316 and ousted UT Rio Grande Valley (17-10) in four. Ashley Lifgren had 20 kills and hit .429 … In SFA’s win, Valerie Rosado had 18 kills, an assist, seven digs and two blocks, one solo … Utah Valley’s Kendra Nock had five kills, six digs, and seven blocks, one solo.

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