NCAA volleyball tourneys begin; Florida wins; UCF’s Melville goes off; MACtion; USM needs a coach

0
641
From left, Florida's Marlie Monserez, Lauren Forte, and T'Ara Caesar are all over this attack by Auburn's Rebekah Rath/Courtney Culbreath photo

It’s tournament time!

For most, it’s one and done as conference tournaments begin in earnest Thursday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. Teams are playing for their respective automatic bids into the NCAA Tournament.

Only Brown has claimed one of the 64 bids because it won the Ivy League, which does not have a tournament. But tourneys starting Thursday include those in the ASUN, Big Sky, CAA, Ohio Valley, Southland, Sun Belt, WAC. By all accounts, there are very few teams in those leagues that would get an at-large bid if they don’t win, so it all comes down to this.

There are plenty of regular-season matches on Thursday’s schedule, too.

No. 2 Texas plays a Big 12 match against visiting Kansas State, and Texas Tech goes to West Virginia. 

In the PAC-12, No. 16 Oregon plays at No. 22 Washington State, No. 19 Stanford goes to Colorado, and Cal is at No. 17 Utah.

Both ranked teams in the West Coast Conference are in action — No. 4 BYU is at Pacific and trying to win its 19th in a row, and No. 23 San Diego goes to Saint Mary’s. Also Pepperdine is home for San Francisco, and Santa Clara goes to Loyola Marymount.

The SEC has Alabama at Tennessee and Georgia at Ole Miss.

The three teams bunched at the top of the Mountain West are in action. League-leading Colorado State, with a one-game lead, is at second-place Utah State, which is a game back. The other team in second, San Jose State, is at UNLV.

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.

The Big Ten is off but has seven matches Friday, including No. 15 Penn State at No. 11 Nebraska.

The ACC is off, too, but Friday’s four-match slate includes No. 3 Pittsburgh at No. 13 Georgia Tech. 

There were a handful of matches Wednesday, including No. 20 Florida winning in the SEC and UCF’s McKenna Melville getting 21 kills without an error in 35 attacks.

Also, Southern Miss and Idaho are looking for coaches.

MACTION — Few teams are hotter than Ball State, which finished the Mid-American regular season by winning its 17th in a row. The Cardinals (27-3, 17-1) won 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 at Toledo (19-11, 10-8). Natalie Risi had nine kills, two assists, an ace, two blocks, and five digs for Ball State. Taylor Alt had 16 kills, two aces, two blocks, and seven digs for Toledo … 

Bowling Green (20-8, 16-2), the MAC’s other division winner, won in four over visiting Miami (7-21, 5-13) to finish unbeaten at home for the first time since 1997. The Falcons, 10-0 at home, won 27-25, 26-28, 25-21, 25-22 as Petra Indrova and Kat Mandly had 16 kills each. Indrova added two assists, five blocks, and nine digs … 

Kent State (12-18, 7-11) ended its season with a four-set win over Ohio (11-18, 11-7), which will play in the MAC Tournament. Kent State’s Melissa Kolurbasi and Danie Tyson had 14 kills each, and Jacqlyn Caspers had 11 kills with no errors in 17 attacks and seven blocks, one solo. Ohio’s Maggie Nedoma had 17 kills … 

NIU (16-12, 10-8) won its fifth in a row, a four-set victory over visiting Western Michigan (18-11, 11-7), behind six players with six kills or more. Charli Atiemo had 13 kills, hit .385 and added four blocks. Angie Gromos had eight kills in 14 errorless attempts and four blocks … 

The season ended for four teams as Central Michigan (13-17, 7-11) swept visiting Eastern Michigan (9-20, 4-14), and Buffalo (13-17, 6-12) got 21 kills from Emma Gielas and beat Akron (10-20, 4-14) in four.

The MAC Championship starts Sunday at Ball State.

AROUND THE NATION — Florida won its seventh SEC match in a row to improve to 18-6 overall (12-2 SEC). The Gators hit .305 and thumped visiting Auburn (13-12, 5-10) 25-11, 25-15, 25-19 to stay tied with Mississippi State in the loss column, a game behind first-place Kentucky. 

T’Ara Ceasar led Florida with 12 kills and 12 digs, Thayer Hall had 11 kills with one error in 22 attacks, a block, and five digs, and Lauren Forte had 10 kills in 15 errorless attacks and a solo block. Auburn, which hit .089, got 10 kills from Rebekah Rath … 

Also in the SEC, Arkansas (18-8, 9-6, No. 46 in the NCAA RPI) swept Texas A&M (12-13, 5-10, 37 RPI). Maggie Cartwright had 14 kills and hit .478 for the visiting Razorbacks in the 25-18, 25-20, 25-20 victory. Cartwright added two blocks and two digs. Jillian Gillan had 12 kills, two aces, a block, and 14 digs, and Taylor Head had 12 kills, three assists, a block, and six digs. Gracie Ryan had three kills in seven errorless attempts, 37 assists, an ace, and 12 digs.

Morgan Christon had 14 kills to lead A&M and added a block and eight digs. Camille Connor had two kills, 25 assists, 12 digs, and two blocks, one solo …  

UCF (23-6, 16-1) hit .419 and won its 12th in a row, cruising to a 25-16, 25-16, 25-16 American Athletic Conference victory over visiting South Florida (7-21, 1-16). McKenna Melville had 21 kills and hit .600 after having no errors in 35 swings to go with an assist, an ace, four blocks, and six digs. She had half of her team’s kills. Tali Marmen had seven kills with one error in 15 attacks. Amber Olson had a kill, 35 assists, an ace, two blocks, and five digs. South Florida, which hit .071, got 13 kills from Marta Cvitkovic, who had an assist, four aces, two blocks, and five digs.

COACHING CAROUSEL — Coach Stephanie Radecki has resigned at Southern Miss after four seasons. The Golden Eagles finished 11-17 this season, 3-9 in Conference USA. In her time in Hattiesburg, Radecki was 40-68. Radecki, a former player at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, was previously the head coach at North Alabama and St. Leo …

Idaho coach Debbie Buchannan retired after 22 years at the school. She was 320-317 in her career, 5-20 this past season, 2-14 in the Big Sky. Buchannan previously was an assistant at Colorado State.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here