NCAA volleyball: WKU rolls on; BYU, USD, Colorado St., K-State win; surprises in Big Sky, Horizon

No. 18 Western Kentucky not only won its 14th match in a row by sweeping Old Dominion but also clinched a share of the Conference USA East Division title. 

Both ranked West Coast teams that played, No. 7 BYU and No. 20 San Diego, swept.

Things got tighter in the Big Sky and Horizon as the respective league leaders, both previously unbeaten in conference play, were knocked off. The WAC has a bunch of teams at or near the lead in both divisions.

Also, two Southeast Missouri players combined for 51 kills in a victory against the conference leaders in the Ohio Valley.

Click here for a look at Friday’s schedule that includes matches for 13 ranked teams and some key battles in a handful of mid-major conferences.

WKU CLINCHES — Western Kentucky (21-9, 9-0) hit .472 in its 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 C-USA sweep of visiting Old Dominion (11-12, 3-6). WKU, which has won 42 conference matches in a row, had 42 kills in 72 attacks with eight errors. Lauren Matthews led with 13 kills and two errors in 19 attacks to hit .579 and added a dig and four blocks, two solo. That made her the all-time WKU leader in solo blocks. ODU hit .000.

WEST COAST — BYU (20-1, 10-0) rolled over visiting San Francisco (0-10, 0-11) and hit .381 in a 25-19, 25-15, 25-14 victory. Kenzie Koerber had 14 kills, hit .571, and had two assists, 10 digs, and seven blocks. Erin Livingston and Taylen Ballard-Nixon each had 11 kills and three errors in 22 attacks to hit .364 …

San Diego (15-4, 9-1) swept visiting Santa Clara (8-13, 4-7) 25-13, 25-20, 25-23 as Kaite Lukes had 15 kills, hit .300, and had an ace and three digs … Saint Mary’s beat visiting Portland in four as Chandler Cowell had 16 kills, hit .317, and had an assist, an ace, eight digs, and a solo block … Pacific swept visiting Gonzaga. Alexa Edwards had 17 kills, hit .324, and had an ace and five digs.

Bridgette Smith, who had 19 kills, attacks against Weber State/Sacramento State photo

BIG SKY — First-place Weber State (15-6, 10-1) got swept at Sacramento State, so second-place Portland State (15-7, 9-2) now trails by a game. And the top two play Saturday. 

Bridgette Smith had 19 kills as Sacramento State (12-10, 6-5) hit a season-best .400 with 54 kills in 105 attacks with 12 errors. Weber State, which had won 10 in a row, hit .186 and had 29 kills. Smith hit .444 and had an ace and nine digs … 

Portland State swept visiting Idaho State despite hitting .179. Makayla Lewis led with 11 kills, an assist, three blocks, and five digs … Maya McClellan had 20 kills for Eastern Washington in its Big Sky win over Northern Arizona. She also had an ace, 10 digs, and five blocks, one solo … Idaho swept Southern Utah as it hit .353. Nicole Ball had 11 kills, hit .429, and had an ace, a dig, and six blocks, one solo.

HORIZON LEAGUE — Northern Kentucky (13-7, 9-2) pulled to a game behind first-place Milwaukee (18-7, 12-1) with a 25-16, 26-24, 25-22 home sweep that ended Milwaukee’s 12-match winning streak. The win left UNK tied with UIC (13-10, 9-2), which won in five at Wright State (16-7. 8-3).

Milwaukee, incredibly, had no blocks, and UNK had 15. Reilly Briggs led the Norse, who hit .347, with 13 kills and hit .706 after having one error in 17 attacks. She also had three blocks. Anna Brinkmann had 11 kills, and Abby Kanakry 10. Milwaukee’s Ari Miller and Madi Malone had 12 kills each, and Carmen Heilemann had 10 … 

Paola Santiago had 26 kills in UIC’s 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 20-25, 18-16 victory. She hit .328 and had two assists, an ace, 19 digs, and five blocks, one solo. Mikala Henderson had 16 kills, four blocks, and 16 digs, and Martina Delucchi had 16 kills, five assists, an ace, 14 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Sohila Wafeek had 62 assists, an ace, and 14 digs. Wright State’s Sam Ott had 19 kills, Megan Alders had 15, and Callie Martin had 14 kills, two assists, five blocks, and 23 digs.

MOUNTAIN WEST — League-leader Colorado State swept at Air Force as Annie Sullivan had 12 kills, hit .400 and had a dig and block … Utah State stayed a game back with a five-set win at San Diego State despite 24 kills by SDSU’s Victoria O’Sullivan. Tatum Stall led Utah State with 12 kills. Corinne Larsen had nine kills, hit .350, and had an ace, six digs, and 10 blocks, two solo … New Mexico swept visiting Wyoming as five players had six or more kills … Boise State won in five at UNLV despite Mariena Hayden’s 24 kills, 12 digs, and three blocks. Jordan Miller led Boise with 13 kills, hit .371 and added three digs and three blocks, one solo. Alyssa Wissinger had nine kills with one error in 15 swings and nine blocks, three solo … Fresno State swept at Nevada. Grace Doyle had 10 kills, hit .421, and had an assist, an ace, two digs, and seven blocks, three solo. Kasey Purry had seven blocks, three solo.

WAC — Four teams are even in the loss column (three each) and a fifth is one game back in the West Division. Sam Houston is alone in first in the Southwest Division. 

Sam Houston beat visiting UT Rio Grande Valley in four despite UTRGV’s Sarah Cruz getting 23 kills, an ace and 16 digs. Ashley Lewis had 17 kills for Sam Houston to go with an assist, four aces, 11 digs and a block … Stephen F. Austin stayed a game behind Sam Houston with a sweep at Lamar. SFA hit 425. Valeria Rosado led with 15 kills and had one error in 25 attacks to hit .560. She added  an ace, four digs, and four blocks, three solo … In the Southwest, California Baptist and Grand Canyon won to stay tied for the lead.  CBU beat NM State in four and knocked the Aggies out of the tie for first. Christine Graf led CBU with 13 kills as she hit .464 and had two blocks. NM State’s Katie Birtcil had 22 kills, hit .364, and had seven digs and three blocks … GCU swept at Seattle, which hit .010. Ashley Lifgren led GCU with 14 kills … Chicago State stayed a game back with a sweep at Dixie State. Yanlis Feliz led with 20 kills, and Nailah Jones had 17 kills, no errors in 34 attacks, six digs, and a solo block.

AROUND THE NATION — Kansas State (14-7, 5-5), which lost in five to visiting Texas Tech (13-10, 3-7) on Wednesday, evened the score Thursday with a four-set Big 12 victory. Four Wildcats had 10 or more kills in the 21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-19 win, including 13 by Aliyah Carter, who added an ace, three blocks, and 12 digs. Sydney Bolling, Haley Warner, and Kadye Fernholz had five blocks each. TTU’s Kenna Sauer had 17 kills, an ace, two blocks, and 19 digs … 

In the only Ohio Valley match of the day, Southeast Missouri beat visiting Austin Peay by the incredible score line of 33-35, 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9 and created quite a logjam at the top. Austin Peay (17-8, 10-2) dropped into a first-place tie with idle Morehead State (14-9, 10-2), and Southeast Missouri (19-6, 10-3) is now a game back in the loss column. Laney Malloy had 26 kills for Southeast Missouri, five assists and 16 digs. Zoey Beasley had 25 kills, hit .306, and had an assist, four digs, and four blocks. Brooke Moore had 20 kills for Austin Peay to go with an assist, an ace, 20 digs, and a two blocks … 

All four Southland Conference matches ended in sweeps, including first-place Texas A&M Corpus Christi beating Nicholls as the Islanders hit .398. Rachel Young had 10 kills with no errors in 18 attacks, three assists, a dig, and a block … Houston Baptist stayed a game back with a sweep of Northwestern State behind 15 kills from Anna Gadway, who hit .452 and had an assist, nine digs, and three blocks … UIW beat New Orleans, and McNeese beat Southeastern Louisiana 

Summit League leaders Omaha and Denver were off, but third-place South Dakota stayed a game back in the loss column. South Dakota beat visiting Kansas City in four. South Dakota got 16 kills from Elizabeth Juhnke, who had an assist, 12 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Maddie Wiedenfeld and Sami Slaughter had 13 kills each … Oral Roberts dropped into fourth place when it lost in five at South Dakota State. SDSU’s Crystal Burk had 18 kills, 14 digs, and a block, and Chloe Stitt had 16 kills, three aces, 12 digs, and a block … Lexi Ahrens had 25 kills and hit .431 as Western Illinois won in five at North Dakota. Ahrens had an ace, four digs, and six blocks, two solo … Also in the Summit, North Dakota State swept St. Thomas 

In the Sun Belt, Louisiana won in five at Arkansas State as Kelsey Bennett had 23 kills, two assists, 21 digs, and a block. Macey Putt had 20 kills for Arkansas State …

Prairie View swept Texas Southern in the SWAC. Kiersten Atkinson had 13 kills, hit .407, and had two blocks … In the SoCon, Chattanooga swept FurmanNorth Texas of Conference USA swept Tarleton State of the WAC as Rhett Robinson had 22 kills, two aces, six digs, and three blocks, one solo.

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