Ball St. wins MAC; Louisville tops Pitt; Michigan upsets Illini; 3 conferences have Thanksgiving Day play

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Ball State celebrates beating Bowling Green to win the MAC title/Ball State photo
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We have Thanksgiving volleyball in Las Vegas; Normal, Illinois; and Vermillion, South Dakota.

Wednesday’s schedule was light but significant as Ball State won the MAC and the NCAA bid that goes with it, No. 1 Louisville won in four at No. 3 Pittsburgh in their second ACC showdown of the year, and Michigan knocked off No. 23 Illinois.

There were no other upsets, and the winners included No. 7 Baylor, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 12 Washington, No. 13 UCLA, No. 14 Georgia Tech, No. 17 Utah, and No. 18 Stanford, which had three players combine for 40 kills with two errors in 74 attacks.

UCF, not ranked but No. 25 in the NCAA RPI, also won.

And there was yet another reverse sweep as Missouri came back against Tennessee to break an eight-match losing streak and all but ensure that the Vols won’t be top-16 hosts.

There is no regular-season play Thursday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball, but there are three tournaments. 

The Mountain West semifinals in Las Vegas have top-seeded Colorado State playing fourth-seeded UNLV and second-seeded Utah State playing sixth-seeded Boise State. The championship match is Friday.

The Missouri Valley Championship starts at Illinois State when No. 4 seed Valparaiso plays No. 5 Evansville and No. 3 Bradley plays No. 6 Indiana State. The semifinals are Friday, and the final Saturday.

And The Summit League Tournament begins at South Dakota, and if what happened during the regular season is any indication, this one will be something else. No. 3 seed Denver plays No. 6 South Dakota State with the winner getting host South Dakota on Friday. In the other quarterfinal, No. 4 Kansas City plays No. 5 Oral Roberts, with the winner getting top-seeded Omaha.

Friday’s schedule, as the season heads into the final two days before Sunday’s NCAA Tournament bracket announcement, is loaded with big matches.

In the ACC, Notre Dame makes a last-gasp NCAA effort when it goes to Louisville, and No. 14 Georgia Tech plays at Florida State in a big seeding match for both teams.

The Big Ten has two matches pairing ranked opponents — No. 11 Nebraska goes to No. 5 Wisconsin, and No. 10 Minnesota is at No. 15 Penn State. Also, No. 6 Purdue is home for Indiana, No. 9 Ohio State goes to Maryland, Illinois tries to bounce back at Michigan State, and Michigan plays host to Northwestern. And Rutgers gets one last chance at a conference victory when Iowa visits.

The Big 12 slate has No. 2 Texas going to Texas Tech for back-to-back matches, and key battles for NCAA hopefuls when Kansas goes to Kansas State.

In the SEC, where the races comes down to the end, No. 8 Kentucky is home for back-to-back matches with No. 20 Florida, and No. 24 Mississippi State is home for Auburn. South Carolina is home for Arkansas as both teams play for their NCAA tourney lives.

There are two PAC-12 matches as No. 13 UCLA, tied with Washington for the conference lead, goes to USC, and No. 19 Oregon goes to Oregon State. 

The Big East Tournament starts Friday when No. 22 Creighton plays DePaul, and Marquette faces Connecticut. 

Want to watch a match? We have you covered. Get the viewing link from our VolleyballMag. Volleyball TV & Streaming Listings.

BALL STATE WINS — Ball State (29-3) won its 19th match in a row, defeating defending-champion Bowling Green 25-23, 29-31, 25-16, 21-25, 15-7 for the Mid-American title and an NCAA bid. It’s the eighth MAC title for Ball State, which also won in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2002, and 2019.

“It’s such a great feeling,” Ball State coach Kelli Miller Phillips said. “You’re just working day in and day out, and you can taste it. It’s so close. To be able to play in the NCAA Tournament again is going to be an awesome feeling.

“This group has worked really, really hard to put themselves in that position. We’re excited, and we’re ready for it. We’re not done yet.”

Ball State, No. 32 in the NCAA RPI, got 19 kills from Natalie Risi, who had an assist, an ace, 13 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Jaclyn Buhlman had 17 kills, an assist, a solo block, and three digs. Marie Plitt had 16 kills with two errors in 34 attacks to hit .412 and added an assist, eight digs, and seven blocks, one solo. Megan Wielonski had five kills, 64 assists, four aces, a block, and 20 digs. Her team hit .282. Maggie Huber had 26 digs and four assists.

Petra Indrove had 22 kills, two assists, an ace, 15 digs, and two blocks, one solo for Bowling Green (21-9). Katelyn Meyer had 21 kills, a block, and a dig, and Kat Mandly had 19 kills, hit .390, and had two blocks and a dig. Katie Kidwell had 10 kills and six blocks. Hanna Laube had 67 assists, 16 digs, and four blocks, one solo, and Julia Walz had 33 digs and an ace. BGSU hit .269.

BGSU coach Danijela Tomic tweeted: “… Congratulations to @BallStateWVB on winning the MAC Championship! You made Dr. Shondell proud tonight. Good luck in the @NCAAVolleyball Tournament! We will be rooting for you.”

ACC — Louisville (27-0, 17-0) left no doubt about who rules the conference after its 25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21 victory at Pittsburgh. Pitt (26-3, 15-3) dropped into a second-place tie with Miami, which beat Wake Forest.

Louisville, No. 1 in the NCAA RPI, hit .312 and clinched the ACC title. Claire Chaussee led with 16 kills and hit .414 to go with seven digs. Anna DeBeer had 15 kills, hit .382, and had an ace, a block, and seven digs. Anna Stevenson had 12 kills, hit .391, and had a dig and seven blocks, five solo. Tori Dilfer had two kills, 45 assists, and nine digs. Elena Scott had nine digs, an ace, and five assists.

Pittsburgh, No. 2 in the RPI, played again without second-leading attacker Kayla Lund. Chinaza Ndee had 14 kills, hit .379, and had five blocks. Leketor Member-Meneh had 13 kills, four blocks, and nine digs …

Unranked Miami (24-4, 15-3, No. 11 RPI) closed its regular season by beating visiting Wake Forest (15-13, 6-11) in four. Janet Kalaniuvalu led with 19 kills as she hit .315 and had a block and five digs. Janice Leao had nine kills with one error in 20 attacks, an ace, three digs, and five blocks, one solo. Angela Grieve had 14 kills, three aces, three blocks, and four digs. Savannah Vack had 48 assists, an ace, three blocks, and 18 digs. Wake’s Kamryn Malloy had 19 kills, an assist, and 19 digs, and Kalani Whillock had 29 digs, six assists, and two aces … 

No. 14 Georgia Tech (22-5, 13-4) swept Clemson (12-17, 3-14) behind 19 kills from Mariana Brambilla, who also had 14 digs, and 10 kills each from Breland Morrissette and Bianca Bertolino … 

Notre Dame (13-14, 10-7, 36 RPI) gave itself a chance for an at-large bid with a surprising 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 sweep at Florida State (19-8, 11-6, 14 RPI). The Irish must win at Louisville on Friday, however, to finish at .500 and have a chance for a bid, and Florida State was almost assuredly knocked out of top-16 consideration. Aubrey Hamilton led Notre Dame with 13 kills, an assist, two aces, three blocks, and three digs. Caroline Meuth had 11 kills, hit .375, and had two assists and three digs. Khori Louis led FSU with nine kills in 13 errorless attacks and two blocks … Syracuse (17-13, 6-12) swept at NC State (15-13, 9-8) as Marina Markova had 21 kills, hit .354, and had two aces and eight digs. NC State’s Taylor Rowland had 19 kills and 15 digs, and Melissa Evans had 18 kills and 11 digs.

PAC-12 — UCLA and Washington remain tied for the lead, two games up on Utah and Washington State after Utah beat WSU.

UCLA (23-4, 16-3) swept Cal (7-23, 0-19) 25-17, 25-21, 25-20 to finish its home schedule 10-0 and unbeaten there for the first time since 1999. Mac May led with 17 kills as she hit .364 and had six of her team’s 13 aces. She had eight aces in UCLA’s previous match   

Washington (23-4, 16-3) won its seventh in a row, 25-17, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19 at Colorado (15-13, 6-13). The Huskies, who hit .301, got 17 kills from Claire Hoffman, 16 from Samantha Drechsel, and 13 from Emoni Bush, who hit .423 … 

Utah (20-18, 13-6) swept visiting No. 21 Washington State (19-10, 13-6) as Dani Drews had 21 kills in a 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 victory. Drews also had an ace, two blocks, and 15 digs. Vanessa Ramirez had 21 digs and three assist, and Stef Jankiewicz had two kills, 43 assists, two blocks, and eight digs. Injury-plagued WSU hit .111; Katy Ryan led with 11 kills … 

Kendall Kipp had 22 kills with one error in 35 attacks as Stanford (17-10, 12-7) hit .408 and swept at USC (14-15, 9-10). Kipp, who hit .600, had three aces and three digs. Caitie Baird had 14 kills with one error in 30 attacks to hit .433 and had two aces and six digs. Brooke Botkin had 14 kills and hit .478 for USC, which needs to win at UCLA on Friday to finish .500 …

Oregon State (5-24, 3-16) beat visiting Arizona State (14-6, 7-12) in four. Maddie Goings had 21 kills and hit .320 to go with an assist, two aces, two blocks, and 25 digs. Kateryna Tkachenko had 14 kills, an assist, three blocks, and five digs. Grace Massey had 24 digs and seven assists. ASU’s Iman Isanovic had 14 kills, and Marta Levinska had 13.

BIG TEN — Michigan (17-11, 10-9) beat visiting Illinois 25-17, 28-26, 23-25, 25-23. Michigan, which hit .342, got 20 kills from Jess Mruzik, who hit .378 and had an assist, two blocks, and 15 digs. Paige Jones had 16 kills, an assist, an ace, 10 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Hannah Grant had 19 digs, four assists, and an ace. Raina Terry led Illinois (19-11, 11-8) with 22 kills, an assist, a block, and nine digs. Megan Cooney had 16 kills, three assists, and eight digs …

Ohio State (24-5, 14-5) swept at Rutgers (8-20, 0-17) as the Buckeyes hit .405 in the 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 victory. Jenaisya Moore had 14 kills, hit .423, and had two blocks and five digs. Gabby Gonzales had 13 kills, also hit .423, and had an assist, an ace, and six digs. Rylee Rader had 12 kills, hit .435, and had three blocks, one solo.

MOUNTAIN WEST — Boise State (22-10) swept San Jose State (19-10) to advance to the semifinals, where it plays Utah State. Boise State, which lost both its regular-season matches to SJSU, lost its only meeting with Utah State.

On Wednesday, Alli O’Harra led a balanced Boise State attack with 10 kills in 12 errorless attacks to hit .833. She added an assist and five blocks. Alyssa Wagner had nine kills with one error in 15 attacks and two blocks, and Paige Bartsch had nine kills with two errors in 18 swings, three aces, seven blocks, and three digs. 

San Jose State’s Ryann Thomison, who had one error in 23 attacks, and Haylee Nelson, who had three errors in 23 attacks, had 11 kills each … 

UNLV (22-8) beat New Mexico (20-10) for the third time this season, winning 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13, and will now play top-seeded Colorado State in the semis.

Mariena Hayden had 13 kills, an assist, an ace, and a season-high 16 digs for UNLV, and Milica Tasic had 13 kills, an assist, three blocks, and eight digs.

Kaitlynn Biassou had 16 kills for New Mexico to go with two aces, 11 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Alena Moldan had 22 digs, a kill, four assists, and an ace. New Mexico had the most wins in program history.

AROUND THE NATION — No. 7 Baylor (20-5, 14-2) swept its Big 12 match at Oklahoma (10-17, 4-12) as Yossiana Pressley and Avery Skinner had 11 kills each in a 25-12, 25-19, 25-23 victory. Bri Coleman had five aces and five digs …

UCF (25-6, 18-1) swept its American Athletic Conference match at Tulane (17-14, 10-9) as the Knights hit .300, and McKenna Melville had 19 kills, an assist, an ace, 13 digs, and two blocks, one solo … Also in the AAC, Memphis won in five at Tulsa. Tulsa’s Kayley Cassaday had 24 kills, five digs, and a block … 

Missouri (5-24, 2-14) broke an eight-match SEC losing streak with its 19-25, 19-25, 25-21, 30-28, 15-11 victory over visiting Tennessee (19-9, 11-7). Kayla Burbage had 19 kills and hit .375 for the Tigers to go with three blocks and a dig. Anna Dixon had 16 kills, three assists, two aces, two block, and 10 digs. Setters Skylar Buckley and Nicole Alford combined for five kills, 51 assists, two aces, and 26 digs. Tennessee, ranked 21 in the RPI, took a big hit as it lost for the sixth time in nine matches. Breana Runnels led with 26 kills, an assist, an ace, 14 digs, and five blocks, two solo. Madison Bryant had 20 digs and six assists, and Natalie Hayward had six kills to hit .500 and added 57 assists, an ace, four blocks, and nine digs … 

Long Beach State beat UC Davis in four as the 49ers hit .379 in a Big West match. Erykah Lovett had 16 kills, hit .500, and had three aces, 13 digs, and a block.

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