Going on the road is tough and never was it more on display than Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas, where No. 4 Texas had to grind out a 25-22, 25-27, 25-17, 18-25, 15-12 Big 12 victory at Kansas State.
There were not a lot of ranked teams in action Saturday, but No. 8 Kansas beat Baylor, in a key Big Ten matchup, No. 16 Penn State swept No. 22 Michigan to stay unbeaten in league play, and No. 22 USC beat No. 25 Utah. Of course, No. 19 Ohio State beat No. 1 Nebraska, and you can read about it elsewhere on this site.
Accordingly, Sunday’s slate is a busy one.
— There are two matches in the Big Ten on Sunday, No. 2 Minnesota at No. 14 Purdue, and No. 24 Illinois at Maryland.
— There is a full schedule in the ACC on Sunday, including No. 15 Florida State playing host to Boston College and No. 10 North Carolina entertaining Clemson. Also, Syracuse is at Miami, Wake Forest goes to Notre Dame, NC State plays at Georgia Tech, Duke is at Louisville and Virginia is at Pitt.
— The Pac-12 has No. 12 UCLA at No. 20 Colorado, Cal at No. 17 but sure to move up Washington State, and Oregon State at Arizona State.
— The SEC also has a full plate with No. 5 Florida, the league’s only ranked team but one coming off a loss to Alabama, playing host to Tennessee. Also, Kentucky goes to South Carolina, Auburn is at Georgia, Missouri plays at LSU, Alabama goes to Mississippi State and Arkansas plays at Ole Miss.
— The Big 12 has the day off.
— Teams to watch include SMU at Houston, Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee, James Madison at Northeastern, Temple at Memphis and Hawai’i entertaining UC Riverside.
Back to K-State, where Texas snapped the Wildcats’ seven-match home winning streak and extended Texas’ winning streak over K-State to 26 matches, a streak started in 2003.
“We had opportunities to win that match,” said K-State coach Suzie Fritz, whose team dropped to 12-4, 1-2 in the Big 12. “I thought we played relatively well. I thought they made some nice adjustments. They can do some things at the pins and that is the majority of what they do. You’ve got to be able to find ways to slow them down.”
In the fifth set and the match level at 7-7, Texas (12-2, 4-0) rattled off four straight points, two from freshman Micaya White, to open an 11-7 lead.
White and senior Paulina Prieto Cerame each finished with a match-high 20 kills. White also had five block assists and so did teammate Morgan Johnson. Ebony Nwanebu had 17 kills.
“Defensively, we made tremendous effort,” Fritz added. “We got ourselves in good position, we gave ourselves some opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s a match we feel we could’ve won. In the end, the difference was probably they got bigger, better transition swings than we did.”
Kylee Zumach led K-State with 18 kills, while Brooke Sassin had 17 and Katie Reininger 16. Bryna Vogel had 20 digs.
Across the state, No. 8 Kansas held off Baylor 22-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-23 as junior Madison Rigdon led with 20 kills and 13 digs. Senior Tayler Soucie and junior Kelsie Payne combined for 11 blocks as the Jayhawks improved to 13-2, 2-1 in the Big 12.
Baylor (14-5, 2-1) got a career-high 14 kills from Camryn Freiberg, who hit .542.
“I thought the sets we were competing, we were holding or own offensively,” Baylor coach Ryan Mcguire said.
“We didn’t do a good enough job limiting them and slowing the attack. Kansas did a good job of staying in system and attacking the way they wanted. We would slow their attack at times, but not enough.”
KU coach Ray Bechard had nothing but praise for Baylor.
“The Bears are for real,” Bechard said. “Of all the teams we played this season, Baylor plays more for each other and plays as hard as anybody. They are legit. They beat (No. 17) Washington State a couple weeks ago at home. Baylor will be an NCAA tournament team —I don’t think there is a question.”
Penn State improved to 12-3, 4-0 in the Big Ten by whipping visiting Michigan 25-20, 25-19, 25-15.
Junior outside hitter Ali Frantti led with 11 kills on .391 hitting, while adding seven digs and two blocks. Redshirt freshman Tori Gorrell had nine kills and a team-best five blocks, while Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington had eight kills apiece. Washington also had five blocks.
Michigan, 13-3, 2-2, got 10 kills from Adeja Lambert.
No 18 Michigan State swept Rutgers 25-14, 25-18, 25-18, as the Spartans improved to 13-3, 2-2 Big Ten. Overmatched Rutgers is 4-13, 0-4. Autumn Bailey led MSU with 12 kills.
USC made the most of its mountain swing, beating Utah 25-14, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8 after winning at Colorado.
USC, 10-5, 2-2 Pac-12, got 19 kills from freshman Khalia Lanier and nine kills and seven blocks from senior Elise Ruddins. Junior Niki Withers had 13 kills and two blocks.
Utah fell to 11-4, 2-2, despite 25 kills from Adora Anae.
— Radford is 14-3, 5-0 in the Big South, after the Virginia school won at UNC Asheville in four on Saturday. Junior outside hitter Maddie Palmer led all players with a match-high 17 kills, while finishing with 11 digs.
— St. John’s beat visiting Seton Hall in four and check out the scores, especially after the Red Storm lost the first set: 22-25, 25-23, 26-24, 26-24. St. John’s is 11-7, 2-3 in the Big East.
— Long Beach State swept UC Santa Barbara 28-26, 25-22, 25-18 and its 10-7 record includes a 4-0 start in the Big West. Freshman middle blocker YiZhi Xue tied for the team-high with 12 kills — her career best — on .556 hitting.
— TCU beat visiting Oklahoma in five 25-18, 21-25, 26-24, 21-25, 15-4. In only the second time in program history that the Horned Frogs (10-4) have played three consecutive five-set matches a week, the team finished with a school-record 23.5 blocks, while also improving to 3-1 in Big 12 play for the first time in program history.
— New Mexico State swept Grand Canyon to improve to 13-4, 4-0 in the WAC.
— Iowa swept Northwestern and is 12-4, 2-2 in the Big Ten, for its best start since 1994.
— Creighton beat Butler in three to improve to 10-6 overall and 4-0 in the Big East.
— Northern Arizona and Sacramento State both won to get to 4-0 in the Big Sky.
— Northern Illinois swept Eastern Michigan and is 12-4, 3-0 in the MAC.
— Alabama State is 9-7, but more importantly after sweeping Jackson State 6-0 in the SWAC.
— And UNLV had to go five to beat San Jose State, but now is 15-1 overall and 4-0 in the Mountain West.