What a comeback by San Diego.
The No. 6 team in the AVCA coaches poll and No. 1 in the VBM Mid-Major Poll, fell behind 2-0 at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, but rallied for a five-set victory. It sets up a tantalizing early season West Coast Conference match Friday at San Diego when BYU visits the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
BYU, No. 11 in the AVCA and No. 2 in the VBM, won at Pepperdine in four on Tuesday night.
Like Tuesday, there are 19 more matches on tap for Wednesday, including:
— No. 9 Stanford at No. 7 Washington, where something’s got to give in the only Pac-12 match of the night. The Cardinal are 8-2 overall, 2-0 in the Pac-12, while Washington is 11-1, 1-1. The Huskies had won 19 in a row at home before getting shocked by Washington State last week.
— No. 1 Nebraska at No. 24 Illinois. Unbeaten Nebraska is coming off its five-set thriller at Michigan State, while Illinois has quietly won seven in a row, including winning at Purdue last week. That match will feature an Illinois-produced broadcast in Mandarin. More than 4,500 Chinese students attend Illinois, according to the university. Previously, Illinois broadcast football and basketball games in Mandarin.
— Also in the Big Ten, Northwestern is at No. 19 Ohio State and Maryland goes to Iowa.
— In the only ACC match of the night Pitt plays at Virginia Tech.
— Kentucky is at No. 5 Florida. Kentucky, 9-4 and 2-0 in the SEC, has won six in a row and might be the only team that can challenge the Gators (12-1, 2-0) in that league this year. Also in the SEC, Tennessee goes to South Carolina.
— No. 4 Texas goes to Oklahoma in a busy night for the Big 12, which also sees Texas Tech at Baylor and TCU at West Virginia. TCU has won five of six.
— Fairfield at Marist in a battle of two teams that are unbeaten in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. Fairfield, 11-5 overall, is 4-0 in the MAAC, while Marist is 3-10, 3-0.
— Connecticut, 11-2, 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference, plays host to Temple (8-4, 1-1).
Back to San Diego, where the Toreros came away with a 20-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-11 victory.
It left USD 11-2 overall and 3-0 in the WCC, while LMU fell to 10-4, 1-1.
Lisa Kramer led all players with 21 kills, while hitting .366 with three blocks and one dig. Lauren Schad had 12 kills, hit .455 and had six blocks, two solo. Hunter Jennings recorded a match-best 13 digs.
Savannah Slattery led LMU with 16 kills, Sascha Dominique had 15, Sarah Sponcil 13 and Erin Williams 10. Sponcil added 13 digs.
The Lions looked unfazed in the first and second sets, as the Lions hit .444 in the opener behind five kills from Slattery and three apiece from Sponcil and Williams. In the second set, Slattery and Dominique had four kills apiece as LMU took what looked to be a commanding 2-0 lead into the locker room.
But their first five-set match of the season proved too much for the Lions as USD won for the 11th time in a row.
At Pepperdine, BYU lost the first set and then came away with a 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 victory.
“I’m really happy with the total team effort tonight,” said BYU coach Heather Olmstead, whose team is 14-1, 3-0 in WCC. “Everybody contributed and played well down the stretch for us.”
McKenna Miller led BYU with 16 kills. Amy Boswell had 12 kills, hit .455 and added a match-high seven blocks. Alohi Robins-Hardy had 23 assists while Mary Lake had 15 digs. Hannah Robison added a season-high 13 digs.
Heidi Dyer led Pepperdine with 14 kills while hitting a career-high .480 and added 19 assists, 11 digs and two blocks.
Also Tuesday, visiting Pacific won wild one at Santa Clara 25-22, 21-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13. leaving Pacific 3-0 in the WCC while SC dropped to 0-3, and Radford improved to 13-2 overall, 3-0 in the Big South with a five-set victory over visiting Liberty 25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-9.
Ahiers out at Middle Tennessee
We did have our first Division I coaching casualty of the season.
Middle Tennessee State University first-year coach Dan Ahiers resigned Tuesday. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., newspaper The Daily News Journal had the story and reported that:
MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro told The Daily News Journal that Ahiers’ suspension on Sept. 13 was a result of “alcohol-related behaviors in a public setting” on Sept. 11.
The Blue Raiders are 4-11 overall, 1-1 in Conference USA. Assistant coach Jeff Huebner will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. MTSU’s next match is Friday at home against Rice.