From Short People to kicking around the NCAA volleyball round of 16
December 5, 2023
November 20, 2023
From the foregone conclusions department, Nebraska clinched the Big Ten title and Stanford won the Pac-12 on Sunday.
Florida State took over sole possession of first in the ACC, but not before the Seminoles had to pull off a reverse sweep at North Carolina.
The SEC race stayed tight as all three leaders won.
Eleven teams won conference tournaments and the automatic NCAA Tournament bids that go with them, including Wofford, which won the SoCon and gave the school its first women’s tournament title in any sport.
Action continues Monday with the MAC Championship match between top-seeded Western Michigan, which has won 19 in a row, against sixth-seed Bowling Greeen; The Summit League semifinals; two Missouri Valley Conference quarterfinals; and four Ohio Valley Conference quarterfinals.
And in a rare but high-level late-season non-conference match, West Coast Conference winner Pepperdine plays at American Athletic Conference winner SMU.
For the complete schedule with viewing links to every match, go to the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.
BIG TEN: Nebraska (27-0, 18-0) won 25-21, 25-21, 25-15 at Iowa (8-22, 0-18) to clinch the conference title for the first time since 2017. The Huskers have a three-game lead with two to play, at Wisconsin on Friday and at Minnesota on Saturday. Against Iowa, Merritt Beason led with 12 kills and Ally Batenhorst and Bekka Allick, who had one error in 14 attacks, had nine each. Iowa, playing before a sold-out home crowd of 4,535, got nine kills from Caitlan Buettner. The Hawkeyes have two more chances to avoid finishing winless in the conference, at Northwestern on Friday and at Wisconsin on Saturday …
Wisconsin (24-3, 15-3), which had lost two in a row, swept at Indiana (19-12, 9-9), which couldn’t take advantage of its last chance to get back into the NCAA tourney at-large mix. Wisconsin was buoyed by the return of 6-foot-9 Anna Smrek, who sat out those two defeats, in the 25-19, 26-24, 25-14 victory. She had 10 kills with two errors in 12 attacks to hit .667 and had five blocks. Sarah Franklin had 11 kills, hit .243, and had three blocks and 13 digs. Candela Alonso-Corcelles had 15 kills for Indiana to go with an assist, an ace and 11 digs.
PAC-12: The surprise on a day that Stanford clinched the title was Cal knocking off UCLA and dealing the Bruins a likely fatal blow to their NCAA tourney at-large hopes. Maggie Li, who has had a spectacular freshman season, had 23 kills as Cal (16-13, 5-13) won 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23 at UCLA (16-12, 8-10). The Bears, winning at UCLA for the first time since 2018, hit only .187, but UCLA hit .169. Grayce Olson led UCLA with 19 kills …
Second-ranked Stanford (24-3, 17-1) clinched outright as the Cardinal won in a four four at USC (18-10, 12-6). Kendall Kipp had 18 kills and hit .340 in the 26-28, 25-14, 25-15, 32-30 victory. Kipps had an assist, five aces, 12 digs and four blocks. Sami Francis had nine kills, hit .438 and had seven blocks. London Wijay had 12 kills for USC, which played without leading attacker Skylar Fields … No. 5 Oregon (24-5, 14-4) sweot at Arizona (8-21, 3-15) … No. 12 Washington State (22-7, 12-6) swept at Utah (10-18, 5-13) behind 17 kills from Pia Timmer, who had an ace, 14 digs and a solo block … No. 16 Arizona State (25-5, 13-5) beat visiting Oregon State (11-17, 6-12) in four by hitting .382. Marta Levinska had 18 kills and Geli Cyr 12 in 19 errorless attacks … Colorado (15-14, 7-11) swept Washington (15-14, 6-12).
SEC: What a three-team race with two matches left.
No. 8 Kentucky (17-7, 15-1) won in four at Missouri (17-11, 9-8) and leads by a game over No. 9 Tennessee (23-3, 14-2), which swept at Texas A&M (15-11, 7-9), and No. 10 Arkansas (24-4, 14-2), which beat visiting AVCA No. 21 Florida (17-8, 9-7) in five.
Kentucky hit .386 against Mizzou as Brooklyn DeLeye led with 20 kills, an assist, an ace, six digs and a block. The Wildcats were without Reagan Rutherford, third on the team in both kills and blocks. Missouri’s Dilara Gedikoglu had 17 kills, hit .371 and had an assist and five digs … Tennessee got 17 kills from Jenaisya Moore in its rout at A&M. She hit .371 and had two assists and seven digs. Raeven Chase had five kills and seven blocks, two solo … Arkansas beat visiting Florida 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11 behind 26 kills — four without an error in 10 fifth-set swings — from Jillian Gillen, who hit .359 and had an assist, 11 digs and two blocks. Taylor Head had 19 kills, two assists, an ace, 14 digs and a block. Maggie Cartwright got five of her 13 kills in the fifth set. AC Fitzpatrick, who hit .357, and Kennedy Martin had 19 kills each for Florida, which lost at Arkansas for the first time since 2015 only the fifth time ever … Georgia swept visiting Alabama, Auburn swept visiting LSU and Ole Miss swept visiting Mississippi State.
ACC: Florida State (22-8, 15-2) pulled a half game ahead of idle Pittsburgh (23-4, 14-2) and a game ahead of Louisville (23-4, 14-3) with its 19-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-21, 15-12 win at North Carolina (12-14, 6-11). AVCA No. 25 FSU, winning for the seventh time in a row, got 15 kills from Maggie Snider, who hit .387 and had five blocks, an assist and two digs. Mabrey Shaffmaster had 24 kills for UNC, hitting .347, to go with a solo block and 13 digs … VBM No. 10 Georgia Tech (22-5, 13-4) swept visiting Syracuse (2-25, 0-17) … Virginia Tech (13-14, 3-13) dealt a tough blow to the NCAA hopes of Wake Forest (17-11, 8-9) by beating the Demon Deacons in four … Duke (19-9, 10-7) kepts its NCAA hopes alive as it swept Clemson (16-13, 7-10).
ATLANTIC 10: AVCA No. 19 Dayton (31-2) not only won its 26th match in a row, it beat Loyola Chicago (19-12) in four to claim the NCAA bid. Lexie Almodovar led with 20 kills, two aces, a block and 14 digs.
BIG SOUTH: High Point (23-5) beat Winthrop (14-3) in five to go back-to-back. Dylan Maberry led with 21 kills, an assist, two aces, three blocks nad 12 digs. Eve Wilson had 16 kills, hit .406, and had five digs and six blocks, one solo. Winthrop’s Avery Jolley had 16 kills, an assist, a block and 19 digs.
CONFERENCE USA: Western Kentucky (29-4) won its 24th in a row as the Toppers swept NM State (21-10). Paige Briggs had 14 kills, hit .333, and had a block and seven digs. Kaylee Cox added 13 kills, hit .324, and had four blocks and 17 digs. WKU has won 17 of a possible 20 CUSA championships, including eight of 10 tournament titles.
HORIZON: Wright State (21-10) made it back to back with a sweep of Green Bay (16-16). Wright State, which has won the HL three times in four seasons, got 12 kills from Callie Martin, who had one error in 29 attacks, an assist, an ace, three blocks and 16 digs.
MAAC: Fairfield (22-6) beat Quinnipiac (19-10) in four for its 13th MAAC title in program history. Mikayla Haut had 17 kills, four blocks and four digs to lead the Stags. Quinnipiac’s Aryanah Diaz had 20 kills.
MEAC: Coppin State (27-4) is going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time after the Eagles swept Howard (17-14). TaKenya Stafford led Coppin with 12 kills and had no errors in 25 attacks to hit .480. She had two assists, a solo block and six digs.
PATRIOT LEAGUE: Colgate (22-7) made it three in a row as the Raiders swept American (20-11). Milan Bayless had 13 kills and hit .323 in the 30-28, 25-12, 25-19 victory to go with two assists, three blocks and five digs. Frances Torres had 12 kills in 22 errorless swings, three blocks and a dig.
SOCON: Wofford (23-7) beat Samford (16-15) in four for the first tournament title in any women’s team sport at the school. Wofford, which has won eight in a row, also drew a record home crowd of 1,054 in Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. Five Terriers had seven or more kills, 12 each by Mary Emily Morgan, who had three solo blocks and six digs, and Sarah MacLean, who hit .526 and had seven blocks and four digs.
SOUTHLAND: Southeastern Louisiana (28-4) won its 22nd match in a row and went back-to-back by sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (22-10). Kailin Newsome had 21 kills, hit .474, and had nine digs and a solo block. Rachel Hartmann had 14 kills with one error in 30 attacks, an assist, 10 digs and five blocks, one solo.
SWAC: Fifth-seeded Jackson State (17-12) swept Florida A&M (18-14) and is the surprise conference NCAA tourney representative. Alexis Williams led with 15 kills and 11 digs and Hope Briggs had 14 kills and three blocks.
SUN BELT: Coastal Carolina, a team with an interim head coach who took over just three games into the season, is NCAA bound. The Chanticleers (22-9) beat East Division rival James Madison (21-9) for the third time this season as Jayln Stout went off for 22 kills without an error in 36 attacks in the 25-21, 19-25, 30-28, 25-19 victory. The freshman setter/right side, listed at 5-10, had 28 assists, two blocks and 16 digs. Sun Belt player of the year Jasmine Rivest had 21 kills, three blocks and 16 assists. Sydney Lewis had 23 digs, seven assists and an ace.
James Madison — with good reason to be optimistic — now has to wait and hope until Sunday and see if the NCAA committee gives it a bid. The Dukes, who are No. 24 in the NCAA RPI released Monday, got 24 kills from Miette Veldman, who had an assist, a block and nine digs.
No. 14 Creighton (25-4, 16-2) wrapped up the Big East regular season with its 13th win in a row, sweeping Butler. It left the Bluejays tied with Marquette for first heading into the conference tournament that begins Wednesday. Creighton got the top seed …
The MAC final Monday pits Western Michigan and Bowling Green. Top-seeded WMU swept fifth-seeded Toledo as the Broncos hit .471. Keona Salesman led with 15 kills, hitting .353.
Sixth-seeded Bowling Green swept second-seeded Buffalo behind 20 kills from Lauryn Hovey, who hit .571. WMU won both their regular-season meetings, sweeps in late September …
In the Missouri Valley, Missouri State beat Illinois State in four and Belmont, which got 23 kills from Brooke Gilleland, did the same to Valparaiso. Missouri State plays UIC and Belmont plays the Salukis of Southern Illinois as Northern Iowa and Drake await in Tuesday’s semifinal …
Denver knocked out South Dakota State in one Summit League quarterfinal and North Dakota State surprised South Dakota in the other. Denver plays Omaha on Monday and NDSU gets Kansas City. Denver, which swept SDSU, got 13 kills from Cassie Davis, who had three aces and four digs. NDSU’s Ali Hinze had 17 kills, an assist, 13 digs and three blocks, one solo.