Arkansas and Baylor both came away with impressive five-set road victories on a Thursday night when the Razorbacks’ Pilar Victoria had 34 kills — more than half her team’s.
And who has the most victories in the nation through Friday night? North Dakota.
Friday, there is a full slate of 215 matches in NCAA volleyball — some already under way as this is being posted — and none more anticipated than No. 1 Stanford against No. 5 Penn State at Texas A&M. Last year’s NCAA champion against a team many think can win it all this year.
The match, at 6:30 p.m. Central in College Station north of Houston, will not be televised or streamed. But it pits two teams that are 3-0.
Stanford of the Pac-12 opened last weekend with victories over Long Beach State, Iowa and Wright State.
Penn State beat Tennessee-Martin, Delaware and West Virginia and in those three matches the opponents hit a combined .004.
Penn State plays Texas A&M at 4:30 Saturday and Stanford plays the Aggies at 11 a.m. Sunday and both of those matches will be shown on the SEC Network and the Watch ESPN app.
Second-ranked Minnesota plays host to West Virginia at 7 p.m. Central. That match will be on BTNPlus.
No. 3 Florida is in Puerto Rico for the SEC-ACC Challenge Saturday and Sunday that also features No. 16 North Carolina, NC State and Auburn. The matches will be televised by FloVolleyball.tv.
Fourth-ranked Texas is at San Diego and plays Villanova at 3 p.m. Pacific. It will be streamed by the Big West.
The fun continues at K-State when No. 6 Wisconsin takes on Syracuse and Arkansas and the home team plays Syracuse. Wisconsin’s Friday match is not being streamed, but you watch Saturday when the Badgers play K-State.
There’s a good gathering at Creighton, where the seventh-ranked Bluejays play No. 13 Kentucky at 7 p.m. Central after the 4:30 p.m. matchup between No. 18 USC and Northern Iowa. Click here for the Creighton schedule and streaming links.
No. 8 Washington is home for Santa Clara and then Cal Poly and Seattle on Saturday, while No. 9 Kansas, coming a sweep Thursday night of host Utah Valley, plays Long Beach State. That tournament is also being carried by FloVolleyball.TV.
And No. 10 BYU, which had a tough sweep Thursday at Boise State (25-19, 26-24, 26-24 as Boise’s Sierra Nobley had 23 kills), plays Missouri at 5:30 p.m. Mountain, also on FloVolleyball.
The complete NCAA.com schedule/scoreboard of Friday’s matches can be seen here by clicking here.
Arkansas (4-0) beat K-State 21-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-25, 15-9 as Victoria, a senior who missed 2016 with an injury, had 34 kills, hit .382 and had 14 digs. And she had two blocks. Hailey Dirrigi had 11 kills and Reagan Robinson 10.
K-State (2-2) got 12 kills from Kylee Zumach, 11 from Bryna Vogel and 10 from Alyssa Schultejeans. Vogel had 14 digs and two blocks.
Host Washington State (3-1) opened the day with a sweep of Incarnate Word but then ran into Baylor, which came away with a 23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 19-25, 15-12 victory. Senior Katie Staiger led with 17 kills and 13 digs. Shelly Fanning had 17 kills, including three in a row to end the match as the Bears improved to 3-1.
Taylor Mims led WSU with 16 kills.
“Baylor is definitely a fantastic team and this is a team like we will see in the Pac-12 Conference,” WSU coach Jen Greeny said. “So a lot of experience was gained tonight. Some good things and of course a lot of things to work on. But I thought the overall experience of a tight match and going five will pay dividends later on in the season.”
Another Pac-12 team, No. 14 Oregon, had its way with Texas-Rio Grande Valley 25-16, 25-20, 25-17. Lindsey Vander Weide led the Ducks with 12 kills and seven digs.
The Pac-12’s Utah, ranked 22nd, swept South Dakota in Hawai’i. The Utes are 3-1 after getting 12 kills from Berkeley Oblad, who hit .360. She also had seven digs.
Speaking of Hawai’i, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos got her first win as the head coach. The former Rainbow Wahine star saw her team beat Western Carolina 25-15, 25-14, 25-13.
North Dakota is 5-1 after coming back yet again, this time at New Mexico State 22-25, 8-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-10. Their team hit .084.
Faith Dooley led with 15 kills while hitting .367. Tamara Merseli added 12 kills and 14 digs.
“While I am very pleased with a win against a quality team in their home opener, enough is enough,” said UND coach Mark Pryor, whose team played a five-set match for the third time this young season. “We have to be better at beginning matches
”We had 22 hitting errors in the first two sets. We can go weekends without having that many. The good news is that we are becoming aware of where our areas for growth are. One of them has been a consistent issue for some time, going back to last year. We really got lucky tonight. We are all grateful for that.
“At some point, we aren’t going to be able to flip it like we did tonight. We are playing with fire and at some point we will get burned. I’m truly hopeful that we can address this soon, because if we do, watch out for the Fighting Hawks, we could be scary.”
UND plays UNLV at noon Friday at New Mexico State and then, incredibly, goes to 46 miles to El Paso to play Youngstown State on Friday night.
Charleston is 4-1 after sweeping Quinnipiac 25-14, 25-23, 25-11 as Krissy Mummey had 12 kills.
And this was a suprise: Montana swept Long Beach State 25-22, 25-23, 26-24 in the Utah Valley tournament to improve to 3-1.
Montana got 10 kills apiece from Cassie Laramee and Maddy Marshall, who hit .429 and had nine digs.
“That’s a program that’s used to winning, so we’re taking that win to the bank,” first-year Montana coach Allison Lawrence said. Her team went 2-1 last weekend at North Texas.
“What last week did for us is that we didn’t go into this tournament feeling like so much of an underdog. I felt like we had a different confidence about us, that we’re starting to believe we’re a team to beat.”