Fridays have rarely lacked for excitement during this NCAA Division I women’s volleyball season.
Another Friday, and:
— No. 1 Louisville lost the first set and then beat Notre Dame in four to finish the regular season unbeaten;
— USC upset No. 13 UCLA and became eligible for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid;
— Boise State, the sixth seed, won the Mountain West tournament and the program’s first NCAA bid;
— No. 5 Wisconsin lost the first set and then beat Nebraska in four to break a tie with the Huskers and claim a share of the Big Ten title;
— No. 8 Kentucky swept Florida and clinched at least a share of the SEC title;
— No. 12 Washington didn’t play and clinched at least a share of the PAC-12 title;
— Hawai’i beat CSUN and won the Big West title;
— UCF, which had already won the American Athletic, went down 0-2 and pulled the reverse sweep at Houston.
All the recaps and highlights follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule as the regular season ends in anticipation of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament bracket announcement.
Three more automatic NCAA bids will be awarded Saturday:
— In the Big East, No. 22 Creighton plays Marquette.
— In the Missouri Valley, Loyola Chicago plays Illinois State.
— In the Summit League, Omaha plays South Dakota.
The Big Ten title will belong to Wisconsin if it beats visiting Indiana. Sixth-ranked Purdue, a game back and tied with Nebraska, plays host to to the Huskers. No. 10 Minnesota goes to Maryland, No. 15 Penn State is home for Iowa, and Northwestern goes to Michigan State.
Washington, now a game up on UCLA in the loss column, can win the PAC-12 title if it beats visiting No. 21 Washington State. No. 18 Stanford goes to Cal, No. 19 Utah is home for Colorado, and Arizona State is at Arizona.
In the SEC, No. 20 Florida gets another crack at Kentucky, which wins the title with another victory. Should UK lose, it will tie with Mississippi State. Also, LSU plays at Georgia, Ole Miss is at Alabama, and Missouri is at Texas A&M.
The Big 12 finishes with No. 2 Texas at Texas Tech, West Virginia at TCU, and Kansas at Kansas State.
In the ACC, Clemson plays at NC State.
There are five Big West matches, including league-leader Hawai’i playing host to UC Santa Barbara.
Want to watch a match? We have you covered. Get the viewing link from our VolleyballMag.com Volleyball TV & Streaming Listings.
PAC-12 — Earlier this week, USC won a match it added to the schedule, beating Ivy League-champion Brown. On Friday, the Trojans knocked off visiting UCLA 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10 to even their records at 15-15 overall and 10-10 in the PAC-12. The result might have knocked the Bruins (23-5, 16-4) out of contention for a top-16 seed. It also left USC eligible, but a long shot, for an NCAA bid. In the last NCAA RPI, UCLA was No. 10 and USC 63.
Paige Hammons, the Florida graduate transfer who had 48 kills this season entering the game, had 16 kills, two blocks, and 11 digs. Brooke Botkin had 16 kills, three of her team’s 14 aces, a block, and 11 digs. Emilia Weske had 13 kills, two assists, four aces, nine digs, and seven blocks. Sabrina Smith had eight blocks, one solo, and Shannon Scully had 21 digs, four assists, and two aces. Mia Tuaniga had a kill, 43 assists, two aces, a block, and 11 digs.
UCLA’s Mac May led with 21 kills, two assists, three aces, 19 digs, and four blocks, two solo …
No. 19 Oregon (22-8, 13-7) put an end to a dismal season for Oregon State (5-25, 3-17) as the Ducks hit .350 in a 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 road victory. Karson Bacon had 12 kills with one error in 17 attacks and four blocks, one solo. Brooke Nuneviller had 12 kills, an assist, an ace, 11 digs, and two blocks, one solo.
BIG TEN — Wisconsin (24-3, 14-4) bolstered its case for a top-four NCAA seed with its 14-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-18 win over visiting Nebraska (20-7, 14-4). Dana Rettke led with 18 kills, hit .484 and had seven blocks. Grace Loberg had 14 kills and three blocks, and Devyn Robinson had 10 kills, seven blocks, and two digs. Wisconsin had a 14-10 blocks advantage. Sydney Hilley had two kills in four errorless tries, 48 assists, an ace, four blocks, and 11 digs. Her team hit .225. Lauren Barnes had 22 digs and three assists. Giorgia Civita had three aces.
It marked the third B1G title in a row and eighth overall for Wisconsin
Nebraska, which hit .168, got 15 kills from Madi Kubik, who had an ace, two blocks, and eight digs. Lauren Stivrins had nine kills with one error in 19 attacks, an assist, four blocks, and two digs. Nicklin Hames had two kills, 36 assists, an ace, a block, and eight digs …
Purdue (23-5, 15-4) beat visiting Indiana (10-21, 4-15) 25-13, 21-25, 25-14, 25-20 as Grace Cleveland had 18 kills with no errors in 32 attacks, two assists, five blocks and seven digs. Caitlyn Newton had 17 kills, an ace, four blocks, and 10 digs. Jael Johnson had six kills, hit .400, and had nine blocks, one solo. Hayley Bush had two kills in five errorless tries, 45 assists, an ace, three blocks, and 10 digs …
No. 9 Ohio State (25-5, 15-5) swept at Maryland (19-12, 7-12), hitting .355 and winning 25-19, 25-23, 25-18. Gabby Gonzales had 16 kills …
No. 10 Minnesota (18-8, 13-5, 20 RPI) won 27-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18 at No. 15 Penn State (19-10, 12-7, 27 RPI), probably knocking the Nittany Lions out of top-16 consideration. Stephanie Samedy had 16 kills, an assist, an ace, two blocks, and 13 digs. Airi Miyabe and Jenna Wenaas had 12 kills apiece. Melani Shaffmaster had two kills, 49 assists, an ace, two blocks, and 15 digs. Her team hit .184. Kaitlyn Hord led Penn State, which hit .144, with 12 kills and one error in 28 attacks to hit .393, She added 11 digs, one solo. Adanna Rollins had seven kills, 16 digs, and six blocks against her old team. Gabby Blossom had a kill, 41 assists, two aces, a block, and 10 digs …
No. 23 Illinois (20-11, 12-8) won 25-18, 25-12, 25-16 at Michigan State (11-17, 4-15) as the Illini hit .333. Jessie Nunge led with 10 kills …
Michigan (18-11, 11-9, 37 RPI) beat visiting Northwestern (11-19, 6-13) 22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 and hopes to get a bid on Sunday. Paige Jones led with 18 kills, an assist, two aces, seven digs, and Jess Mruzik had 15 kills, hit .355, and had an assist, two aces, six digs, and three blocks, two solo. Temi Thomas-Ailara had 20 kills for Northwestern and hit .368 to go with two blocks and four assists … Courtney Buzzerio had 18 kills, an assist, five aces, four blocks, and eight digs as Iowa (6-23, 4-15) won in four at Rutgers (8-21, 0-20).
SEC — Kentucky (23-4, 16-1) overpowered visiting Florida (20-7, 14-3) as Alli Stumler had 18 kills in a 25-22, 25-22, 25-20 victory. The program’s fifth SEC title in a row also coincided with Coach Craig Skinner’s 400th victory.
Stumler hit .333 and had a block and six digs. Madi Skinner had 12 kills and a block, and Azhani Tealer had eight kills, hit .333 and had four blocks. Emma Grome had two kills in as many tries, 36 assists, two aces, a block, and eight digs.
T’Ara Ceasar had 14 kills for Florida while hitting .387 to go with an ace, three blocks, and five digs. Marlie Monserez had two kills, 30 assists, a block, and four digs …
Mississippi State (25-5, 16-2) can tie for the title if Florida beats UK, but State lost both its matches to Kentucky this season. The Bulldogs beat visiting Auburn (13-15, 5-13) 25-23, 25-23, 28-26, coming back from a 23-20 deficit in the third. Lauren Myrick led State with 18 kills while hitting .361 and had an assist and 11 digs. Gabby Waden had 10 kills, two blocks, and four digs. Auburn’s Rebekah Rath had 12 kills, three blocks, and four digs …
In a match of NCAA hopefuls, Arkansas (19-10, 10-8, 46 RPI) swept at South Carolina (14-14, 6-12, 38 RPI). Jillian Gillen had 15 kills, four aces, nine digs, and three blocks in the 32-30, 25-15, 26-24 victory. South Carolina’s Kyla Manning had 18 kills, 11 digs, and three blocks, one solo …
Taylor Bannister had 22 kills and hit .474 with an ace, a dig and four blocks as LSU (13-13, 9-8) won in four at Georgia (11-17, 7-10). Also, Ole Miss (20-8, 9-8) swept at Alabama (10-19, 2-15) , and Texas A&M (13-14, 6-11) beat visiting Missouri (5-25, 2-15) in four. Texas A&M (49 RPI) must beat Mizzou again to have any chance of being at-large eligible.
ACC — Louisville (28-0, 18-0) lost the first set, then came back in a big way to beat visiting Notre Dame 24-26, 25-13, 25-23, 25-13.
Anna DeBeer led the Cardinals with 16 kills, an assist, two aces, and 14 digs. Claire Chaussee had 13 kills, hit .400, and had an ace, a block, and a dig. Tori Dilfer had five kills in eight errorless tries, 42 assists, four digs, and four blocks, one solo.
Notre Dame (13-15, 10-8) needed the upset to finish .500. Caroline Meuth and Aubrey Hamilton had 12 kills each for Notre Dame, which again played without injured Charley Niego, its second-leading attacker.
Louisville will almost certainly be the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and trying to be the first team since 2009 to get through unscathed. The last team to finish unbeaten was Penn State, at 38-0 …
No 14 Georgia Tech (23-5, 14-4, 6 RPI) dealt Florida State (19-9, 11-7, 14 RPI) its third loss in a row, sweeping 25-22, 25-14, 25-11. GT, which hit .333, got 15 kills from Julia Bergmann, who hit .440, and 14 from Bianca Bertolino, who hit .480. Breland Morrissette had nine kills with no errors in 10 attacks. FSU hit .052 …
Mabrey Shaffmaster had 27 kills, hit .375, and had eight digs as North Carolina (21-8, 10-8, 29 RPI) did nothing to hurt its NCAA chances with a five-set win at Duke (16-13, 7-11). Meghan Neelon had a kill, 53 assists, an ace, two blocks, and 20 digs. Duke’s Gracie Johnson had 23 kills, an assist, two aces, two blocks, and 14 digs …
Virginia Tech (12-18, 3-15) beat visiting Wake Forest (15-14, 6-12) in four, and Boston College (16-16, 6-12) beat visiting Virginia (8-20, 1-17) in five.
BIG 12 — Texas (23-1, 14-1) hit .328 and won at Texas Tech (17-11, 7-8) 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 15-17. Logan Eggleston led with 19 kills, hit .395 and added an assist, two aces, nine digs, and four blocks, one solo …
In a match between NCAA hopefuls, Kansas (15-11, 7-8, 39 RPI) won at Kansas State (15-11, 6-9, 35 RPI). Caroline Bien had 14 kills in the 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 25-14 victory. Aliyah Carter had 16 kills for KSU … West Virginia (18-9, 7-8, 41 RPI) won 25-10, 25-23, 25-20 at TCU (8-17, 2-13). Adrian Ell led a balanced attack with 11 kills, three blocks, and 10 digs.
MOUNTAIN WEST — Boise State (24-10), the sixth seed, capped a three-day run of upsets with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-15 victory over host UNLV (23-9) for the first title — and NCAA bid — in program history. Paige Bartsch led with 14 kills, an ace, nine digs, and three blocks, one solo. Lauren Ohlinger had 12 kills, an assist, 11 digs, and three blocks, two solo. Danielle Boss had five kills in 18 errorless attempts, 40 assists, an ace, and 10 digs.
UNLV’s Mariena Hayden had 14 kills, a block, and 13 digs.
MISSOURI VALLEY — Loyola (22-9) will play Illinois State (18-13) for the title. They split their two matches this season.
Loyola got past Valparaiso (22-9) 23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 18-25, 15-13 as seven players had seven or more kills. Taylor Venuto had 13 kills, an assist, four digs, and six blocks, two solo. Grace Hinchman had 26 digs and four assists. Valpo’s Maddy Boyer had 15 kills, five blocks, and five digs …
Illinois State swept Indiana State (18-12) as Tamara Otene had 14 kills and hit .321 in the 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 victory. Otene added an assist, an ace, two blocks, and five digs. Nicole Lund had seven kills with one error in nine swings and 10 blocks.
SUMMIT LEAGUE — Omaha (20-9) will play South Dakota (19-9) for the title. In the regular season, each beat the other on the road — South Dakota won first in five; Omaha won the rematch in four.
Sadie Limback had 21 kills and Marriah Buss 20 as Omaha beat Oral Roberts (18-11) 25-15, 25-20, 27-29, 25-15. Omaha, which hit .348, saw Limback hit .459 and get two blocks and 18 digs. Sami Clarkson had two kills, 61 assists, two aces, two blocks, and three digs …
South Dakota got all it could handle from South Dakota State (19-12) in its 20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 24-26, 18-16 victory. Elizabeth Juhnke led with 23 kills, an assist, an ace, three solo blocks, and 19 digs. Madison Harms had 15 kills while hitting .481 and three blocks, one solo. Madison Jurgens had a kill, 59 assists, an ace, a block, and 11 digs.
SDSU’s Crystal Burk had 19 kills, an assist, two blocks, and 17 digs. Chloe Stitt had 16 kills, an ace, and 14 digs, and Tatum Pickar had 20 digs, four assists, and four aces.
BIG EAST — As expected, Creighton (29-3) plays Marquette (26-4), although the loser will get an at-large bid. Creighton won both previous meetings in four.
Creighton ousted DePaul (19-2) 25-16, 25-15, 25-18. Norah Sis had 15 kills, hit .448, and added three blocks and five digs. Kendra Wait had six kills with one error in 10 tries, 28 assists, an ace, five digs, and five blocks, one solo …
Marquette beat UConn (21-10) 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 as six players had five or more kills. Taylor Wolf had eight kills, 15 assists, three blocks, and 11 digs.
AROUND THE NATION — Hawai’i (21-6, 18-1) won the Big West title with a four-set win over visiting CSUN. Amber Igiede led with 16 kills, hit .382 and had an assist, six digs, and three blocks, one solo. Kate Lang had four kills, 43 assists, an ace, a block, and 11 digs … Also in the Big West, CSU Bakersfield beat UC San Diego in four, but UCSD’s Ava McInnes had 23 kills, four aces, a solo block and two digs …
McKenna Melville had 24 kills, an assist, 15 digs, and eight blocks, two solo, as UCF (26-6, 19-1) got out of Houston with an 18-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-8, 15-8 American Athletic victory. Teammate Nerissa Moravec had seven kills and a program-record 14 blocks, one solo. Houston (25-7, 15-5, 51 RPI) got 18 kills from Abbie Jackson … Also in the AAC, Cincinnati (19-9, 4-6, 48 RPI) kept its hopes alive with a sweep at Temple.