Exciting NCAA volleyball Saturday looms as multiple tourney bids up for grabs

Louisville wins ACC title

NCAA bids are on the line in Division I volleyball conferences in league tournament all over the nation Saturday as the regular seasons conclude for others.

Teams that clinched NCAA Tournament bids on Friday:

UMBC, which won the America East and is playing in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1998; Weber State, which won the Big Sky and is going to the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1988; and Morehead State won the Ohio Valley and is in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2013.

There was a huge upset in the Southland Conference semifinals when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi knocked off top-seeded Stephen F. Austin, and Loyola Chicago, the sixth-seed, plays for the Missouri Valley tournament title.

In the Big Ten, Rutgers won in five at Michigan State for its precedent-setting fifth conference win and third in a row, and Wisconsin cruised to an undefeated regular-season finish. And Texas beat TCU to finish the season 23-1, 16-0 in the Big 12.

We break it all down, conference by conference, on what should be an exciting Saturday.

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ACC — Louisville (14-2, 12-2) swept North Carolina (10-7, 9-6) in a match played at Miami and with it won the league championship. Anna DeBeer led with 13 kills, an assist, three aces, three blocks, and six digs. Anna Stevenson had 11 kills with one error in 17 attacks to hit .588 and she had an ace, a dig, and four blocks, one solo. The title was Louisville’s third in six years. UNC hit .080 …

Pitt (16-4, 14-4) swept Virginia Tech (6-10, 5-10) to go 12-0 in the spring. Chinaza Ndee had 14 kills and hit .435 to go with two blocks and two digs as the Panthers hit .323. VT hit .063 … Notre Dame (14-3, 13-3) beat Duke (9-12, 7-9) in four at Georgia Tech as four players had eight or more kills, 15 by Charley Niego, who had two assists, three aces, three blocks, and 15 digs. Duke’s Ade Owokoniran had 19 kills, an ace, and two blocks, one solo … Florida State (13-5, 8-5) crushed Syracuse (7-9, 7-8) as the Seminoles hit .364 in the 25-13, 25-11, 25-13 victory. Taryn Knuth led with 12 kills in 18 errorless attacks and she had had an assist and a block. Emma Clothier had nine kills with one error in 15 attacks and six blocks, one solo. Syracuse hit .037 … 

There are three matches Saturday as North Carolina plays Miami, Duke is at Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech is at Clemson.

BIG TEN — Wisconsin won the Big Ten title on Friday and had no letdown Saturday as the top-ranked Badgers blasted Michigan (4-9) to finish the regular season 15-0. Dana Rettke and Grace Loberg had 11 kills each in the 25-20, 25-14, 25-18 victory, Rettke had one error in 22 attacks, an assist, four digs, and five blocks, one solo. Loberg had no errors in 26 attacks, five aces, and 10 digs. Lauren Barnes had 19 digs, five assists, and an ace, and Sydney Hilley had 34 assists, three aces, three blocks, and nine digs. May Pertofsky and Jess Robinson had eight kills each for Michigan …

Rutgers continued its best season since joining the league as the Scarlet Knights won their third in a row and improved to 5-14 with a 25-23, 18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 16-14 win at Michigan State (3-11). For that matter, Rutgers hadn’t won this many conference matches since it went 6-8 in the Big East in 2005. Beka Kojadinovic led with 15 kills, two aces, a block, and 12 digs. Kamila Cieslik and Anastasiia Maksimova had 12 kills each. Rutgers hit .206, while Michigan State hit .192. Alyssa Chronowski had 22 kills for the Spartans and Jayme Cox had 24 digs … 

Purdue (14-5) swept visiting Illinois (6-11) 25-10, 27-25, 25-20 for its fifth win in a row. Caitlyn Newton had 10 kills, two aces, five blocks, and five digs, and Taylor Trammell had 10 kills, hit .471, and had eight blocks. Grace Cleveland had nine kills and four blocks, and Jenna Otec had 23 digs, three assists, and three aces. Illinois, which had 11 kills from Raina Terry, hit .087 … 

Minnesota (14-2) beat visiting Iowa (4-15) 25-22, 25-11, 25-19 as Stephanie Samedy had 13 kills, Taylor Landfair 12, Adanna Rollins 11, and Regan Pittman 10 and four blocks, one solo … 

Maryland (5-14) beat visiting Northwestern (3-6) 16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 15-10. Erika Pritchard had 16 kills for Maryland while hitting .438 to go with an ace, five blocks, and eight digs. Northwestern’s Temi Thomas-Ailara had 20 kills, an assist, two aces, and 11 digs … 

There are four matches Saturday as Illinois is back at Purdue, Iowa returns to Minnesota, Rutgers is at Michigan State, and Northwestern is at Maryland.

BIG 12 — Texas (23-1, 16-0) swept TCU (4-17, 3-13) as Logan Eggleston ha 17 kills in the 25-23, 25-17, 25-21 victory. Eggleston had one error in 34 attacks to hit .471 with an assist, two aces, four blocks, and 11 digs. Skylar Fields had 11 kills and hit .348 and Brionne Butler had five kills with one error in nine swings and four blocks …

Kansas (11-10) beat visiting Arkansas State (8-9) of the Sun Belt 25-12, 25-20, 25-16. Caroline Crawford led with 12 kills with one error in 16 attacks and she had two aces, three digs, and five blocks, one solo. The same teams play again Saturday to end their regular seasons.

PAC-12 — Oregon is back at Arizona State after losing there Thursday, Washington State is home for Arizona, Washington is back to at Cal, and Colorado is at USC. Utah at Oregon State was canceled.

SEC — Kentucky won the league.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC — The top two teams from the East will play for the title in Cincinnati.

UCF (15-1) had to go five to get past Tulane (10-10) as McKenna Melville had 21 kills, an assist, an ace, 19 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Arianna Arjomand had 28 digs and three assists as UCF hit .154. Tulane had four players with 10 or more kills, 17 by Lexie Douglas, who had an assist, three blocks, and four digs. Mackenzie Martin had 24 digs and Sophia Ervanian 23 to go with two assists and two aces … 

Temple (11-5) beat Houston in four as Gem Grimshaw had 17 kills, hit .341, and had an assist, two aces, five blocks, and nine digs. Miray Bolukbasi had 14 kills and three blocks, one solo, and nine digs. 

UCF swept both their regular-season meetings.

ASUN — Lipscomb (16-2) is in the ASUN final for the 10th time after it beat North Florida (10-10) in four and plays Florida Gulf Coast (14-12), which swept Kennesaw State (11-3).

Three Lipscomb players had 14 or more kills, 16 by Samantjha Rubal, who hit .452. FGCU’s Erin Shomaker had 17 kills and hit .394.

FGCU, in the ASUN final for the fifth consecutive year, and Lipscomb have not played this season.

UMBC wins the America East

AMERICA EAST — UMBC (11-3) beat UAlbany on its home court to capture the league’s automatic NCAA bid and send the Retrievers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. 

Darina Kumanova had 22 kills in the 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory to go with two aces, 17 digs, and three blocks, one solo. Anouk Van Noord had 15 kills and Michela De Marzi had 14 kills, hit .480, and had two digs and three blocks, one solo. Loren Teter had 33 digs and four assists. Kamara Kelly led UAlbany with 14 kills, 12 digs, and three blocks.

Dayton’s Lexi Almodovar reaches behind her as she tries to attack against Fordham

ATLANTIC 10 — The league’s NCAA berth comes down to second-seeded VCU (13-4) vs. top-seeded Dayton (12-1), who will face each other in the final for the fourth year in a row.

VCU hit .378 and swept Rhode Island (7-8). Jasmine Knight had 11 kills, hit .381, and had seven blocks and a dig. Qairo Bentley had 11 kills with one error in 21 swings to hit .476 and had two blocks and seven digs … 

Dayton swept Fordham (5-5) as Jamie Peterson had 12 kills, two assists, three aces, a block, and seven digs, and Lexie Almodovar had 10 kills, three aces, and five digs. 

Dayton swept their only meeting this season.

BIG EAST — Round up the usual suspects: Creighton plays Marquette for the title. 

Creighton (11-3) swept UConn (4-7) as Keeley Davis and Annika Welty had 12 kills each. 

Marquette (10-3) swept St. John’s (10-4) as Hannnah Vanden Berg had 12 kills and hit .478 after having one error in 23 attacks. The incredible Savannah Rennie had nine kills, hit .375, and had an assist, two aces, three blocks, and three digs. 

Creighton and Marquette split their two matches this season.

BIG SKY — Weber State (18-1) beat Northern Colorado (15-4) in four on its home court as Rylin Adams had 19 kills, an ace, and 16 digs, and Dani Nay had 17 kills, three aces, a solo block, and nine digs. 

WSU, which won both the regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in program history, are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988.

Taylor Muff and Rachel Hickman had 13 kills each for UNC.

BIG SOUTH — High Point (16-0, 15-0) clinched the conference’s automatic bid last week, but on Friday the Panthers hit .374 and swept Gardner-Webb (4-12). Annie Sullivan led with 18 kills as she hit .500 after having one error in 34 attacks … Also, the Fighting Camels of Campbell finished with a sweep of Radford as Chloe Cook had 15 kills and Lailah Green had 15 … and Charleston Southern beat Presbyterian in five. Four CSU players had 11 or more kills, 16 by Peyton Thompson and 15 by Indigo Young, who had four blocks, one solo.

CONFERENCE USA — The top two teams, Western Kentucky and Rice, play for the title on Saturday, although the loser should get an NCAA at-large bid.

WKU (20-0) hit .488 and swept UTEP (10-7). The Toppers had 45 kills with six errors in 80 attacks. Paige Briggs had 11 kills and Lauren Matthews 10 and three blocks.

Rice (16-4) swept Charlotte (13-5) as Nicole Lennon had 13 kills and hit .462. She had 10 digs and four blocks, two solo. Sahara Maruska had 13 kills, hit .478, and had 12 digs and three blocks,  two solo, and Anota Adekunle had 10 kills with one error in 16 attacks, an ace, three blocks, and two digs.

These teams did not meet in the regular season.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC — Towson and Northeastern will play for the title.

Towson (5-0) swept College of Charleston (5-6) as Nina Cajic had 15 kills and hit .448 to go with an ace, two blocks, and five digs … Northeastern (8-2) beat James Madison (7-3) in four. Erica Staunton led with 19 kills and Defne Arliel had 16.

These teams did not meet in the regular season.

HORIZON — The conference is down to a one-match, winner-take-all Saturday final between Wright State (15-1, 14-0 Horizon) and UIC (14-2, 13-1). These teams did not meet in the regular season.

METRO ATLANTIC — Canisius (9-3) and Rider (6-4) play for the title after Canisius swept Niagara and Rider beat Siena in four. They split their two meetings this season.

MID-AMERICAN — Miami gave top-seeded Bowling Green all it could handle, but the Falcons moved on and play second-seeded Western Michigan for the title.

Bowling Green (21-1), playing on its home floor, beat Miami (13-9) 15-25, 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 15-12. Katelyn Meyer led with 19 kills, Jaqueline Askin had 17 and Petra Indrova 13. Four Miami players had 15 or more kills, 18 by Avarie Powell. Abigail Huser had 24 digs, two assists, and an ace …

Rachel Bontrager had 22 kills and Western Michigan (18-4) beat Ohio (12-8) in four. Bontrager, who hit .313, had three blocks and 26 digs. Kaley Smith had 24 digs, eight assists, and an ace. Ohio’s Emily Marolies had 13 kills and Sam Steele had 28 digs, three assists, and an ace.

BGSU swept their regular-season meetings.

MEAC — Coppin State (11-4) plays North Carolina A&T  (10-1) for the title.

Coppin State swept NC Central as Miajavon Coleman had 14 kills. NC A&T had to go five to get past Delaware State in a wild one, 28-26, 25-22, 34-36, 22-25, 15-13. Fatimah Shabazz led with 20 kills as she hit .313 and had five digs and seven blocks, one solo. Andrea Laboy-Rivera had 25 digs, six assists, and four aces. Delaware State’s Valeria Otero had 18 kills and Maria Caratini had 28 digs and five assists.

These teams did not meet in the regular season.

MISSOURI VALLEY — Top-seeded Illinois State plays sixth-seeded Loyola Chicago for the title. 

Kaylee Martin had 25 kills as Illinois State (15-5) beat Bradley (12-7) in four. Martin, who hit .449, had five blocks and 12 digs. Sarah Kushner had 14 kills, two blocks, and 20 digs, and Stef Jankiewicz had 26 digs, 47 assists, an ace and two blocks. Bradley’s Hannah Thompson had 17 kills … 

Loyola (11-8) beat Northern Iowa (9-13) in four as four players had 10 or more kills, 14 by Elle Van Grinsven, who had three blocks and a dig.

Both regular-season matches between Illinois State and Loyola were canceled.

MOUNTAIN WEST — UNLV won the regular-season title for the first time and the NCAA bid that goes with it. There are three matches Saturday.

NORTHEAST — Sacred Heart (11-3, 10-0 in the NEC) plays second-place LIU (8-5, 8-4) for the title. Sacred Heart won both their regular-season meetings. 

OHIO VALLEY — Morehead State (16-1) hit .356 and clobbered Jacksonville State (16-2) and is going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. Lauren Rokey had 13 kills and Olivia Lohmeier 11, an ace, two digs, and four blocks. 

PATRIOT — Top-seeded Colgate (8-1) plays Army West Point (4-2) after both won in five to make the final.

Colgate beat American (4-4) despite hitting .150. Alli Lowe led with 15 kills. American’s Helena Elbaek had 22 kills and her team hit .277 … Army beat Holy Cross (5-5) despite hitting .104. Cate Buckingham led with 12 kills and three blocks.

They split their two meetings to open the spring season last month at Army.

SWAC — Jackson State won the league.

SOUTHERN — Samford (14-3) plays Mercer (15-7) for the titie after both went five to advance.

Samford had to go five to beat Wofford, 16-14 in the fifth. Lauren Deaton, who had 22 digs, and Kenya McQuirter had 16 kills each … Mercer had four players with 11 or more kills, 16 by Annie Karle, who had three assists, an ace, a block, and 24 digs. Merry Gebel had 22 kills and 13 digs for WCU 11-8).

They split their two meetings to open the spring season last month at Mercer.

SOUTHLAND — Fourth-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the home team, not only upset top-seeded Stephen F. Austin but swept the Ladyjacks 25-20, 25-13, 25-20. TAMUCC will play second-seeded Sam Houston, which beat Central Arkansas in four.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (13-4) had only 38 kills, nine by Chloe Simon and eight by Rachel Young, who had no errors in 17 attacks and four blocks. SFA (23-6), which went 11-1 in SLC play, hit just .061 and had only 28 kills. Kennedy Wright had nine and hit .381 …

Sam Houston (11-2) had three players with 12 or more kills against UCA (12-8). Ashley Lewis led with 19 kills and 17 digs.

Sam Houston won the the only regular-season meeting with TAMUCC.

SUMMIT — South Dakota and Denver will play for it all.

Sami Slaughter and Elizabeth Juhnke had 21 kills each as South Dakota (14-6) had to go five to beat Kansas City (14-6) after losing both their regular-season matches. Lolo Weideman had 27 digs, four assists, and an ace. Kansas City’s Melanie Brecka had 26 kills, hit .323, and had an assist, an ace, four blocks, and nine digs. Alex Ratzlafff had 25 digs, two assists, and an ace …

Denver (14-2) swept Omaha (13-6). Lydia Bartalo led with 10 kills, an assist, two aces, two blocks, and 12 digs.

South Dakota won their only meeting this season.

SUN BELT — Texas State won the conference tournament in November and gets the NCAA bid.

WAC — NM State (16-1) hit .341 and swept Chicago State (1-9) to advance to the final against Utah Valley (13-5), which beat Grand Canyon (11-4) in four.

NM State got 10 kills each from Lia Mosher, who had nine blocks, one solo, Victoria Barrett, and Shaney Lipscomb … Utah Valley’s Kazna Tanuvasa had 16 kills, Kristen Bell 14, and Kendra Nock 12, and Seren Jardine had 33 digs, five assists, and an ace. GCU’s Yeny Murillo had 15 kills and Kaira Moss 14.

NM State and UVU split their only meetings this season, the Aggies’ only loss.

WEST COAST — BYU won the conference title. Pepperdine swept Santa Clara on Friday and they play again Saturday to close out the regular season.

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  1. Mind Blown! I had the UVU/GCU match on in the background (amongst several I was watching) and thought I imagined it, but another online writer confirmed. UVU had a 5′ 3″ player in the front row for the last 2 points of the match–and she got credited for a 1/2 block! Was that a brilliant strategy by the coach or did they run out of subs? Love it!


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