NCAA Volleyball Update: Nov. 17, 2014

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The Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears are seven-time national champs

Two of the three undefeated DI teams left fell last Thursday night when Florida State lost to Duke and Colorado got the best of Washington. Both former undefeated squads then suffered second losses in their weekend matchups, with Florida State dropping a four-set match to North Carolina and Washington failing to rebound in time for its match with Utah, which it lost in five. No. 1 Stanford is now the only undefeated team in the nation with two weeks left in the regular season.

In another big Pac-12 upset, Cal earned its first conference win of the season with a five-set victory over USC (7-9) on Friday night. Lillian Schonewise, Lara Vukasovic, and Christina Higgins led the attack for the Bears while Nikki Gombar’s 20 digs helped the team out-dig the Trojans 80-66.

Harvard and Yale will compete in a playoff match this Friday night in Harvard’s Malkin Athletic Center to determine which team will claim the Ivy League’s automatic qualifier bid in the NCAA tournament. Both teams finished the season with 12-2 conference records; however, Harvard has come out on top in both of the rivals meetings this season.

LSU’s 11-match win streak came to an end Sunday with a five-set loss to Mississippi State, despite sophomore middle Briana Holman’s 25 kills and .512 hitting percentage. Mississippi State put down 10 aces and recorded 10 total blocks in the match; however, neither team was able to keep the hitting errors at bay with LSU hitting only .180 and MSU .153.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Florida took down Kentucky 3-1, thus earning a share of the SEC crown. For Kentucky, the current SEC No. 2, to share in that distinction, it would have to win its final three matches and Florida would have to lose all three of its remaining conference matches.

The NCAA released the Division II women’s volleyball tournament bracket Sunday. Competition begins Thursday, and a champion will be crowned Dec. 6 in Louisville, Kentucky. The 64-team bracket includes 22 automatic qualifiers and 32 at-large selections. Concordia St. Paul (26-5), which has won seven consecutive national championships, did not get the No. 1 seed in the central region, however, that distinction went to the 31-1 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. The Bulldogs will also host the Central Region play.

Meanwhile, the DIII tournament is well underway, with the action picking back up Friday in Newport News, Virginia, for the quarterfinals. Southern powerhouse Emory will face New England’s Williams, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will battle Wisconsin Stevens-Point, Hope takes the court against Clarkson, and host Christopher Newport will face defending champion Calvin. Play continues with the semifinals Saturday and the final Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

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