No. 1 Nebraska made it clear Friday night that the Huskers are really No.1.
They swept visiting No. 4 Wisconsin 25-21, 25-22, 25-15 in a dominant performance in which Nebraska never trailed.
While No. 3 Minnesota got a scare at Iowa and got away, No. 24 Purdue did not as the Boilermakers were knocked off at Northwestern, which won its first Big Ten of the season under first-year coach Shane Davis.
In the Pac-12 things weren’t quite as simple because they never are. Not that No. 15 UCLA beating No. 14 Stanford would be considered an upset, but it was UCLA’s first victory over the Cardinal since 2011. And No. 23 Oregon beat No. 20 Utah.
Both ranked SEC teams won and so did the only ranked Big 12 team in action, No. 2 Texas, but barely.
The two ACC ranked teams, North Carolina and Florida State, won as well.
There were plenty of other non-power-five outcomes of significance, but first a look at Saturday’s slate that includes 101 NCAA Division I matches.
In the Big Ten, No. 9 Penn State goes to No. 16 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State goes to No. 19 Ohio State, No. 24 Purdue goes to No. 22 Illinois in a critical battle for both teams, Both teams have to bounce back quickly as Wisconsin plays at Iowa, and in a fight to stay out of the cellar, Maryland goes to Rutgers. Both teams are 0-9.
There are two matches in the Pac-12 as Oregon goes to Colorado and Oregon State plays at Utah.
The Big 12 has three matches on tap, Oklahoma at Baylor, West Virginia at Kansas State and Iowa State at TCU.
In the ACC, the only match features Miami at Virginia, while the SEC is off on football Saturday.
No. 5 San Diego is back in West Coast Conference action when it entertains Pepperdine, while No. 16 BYU is home for Loyola Marymount. The only other non-power-five ranked team, No. 13 Hawai’i, has the weekend off.
There’s a big one in the Big East as Creighton goes to Marquette. Creighton is 9-0 in the league, while Marquette is 8-2 after both teams won Friday.
In the Metro Atlantic, Fairfield goes for 12-0 in the league as the Stags travel to Iona. Read all about Fairfield in a VBM feature by clicking here.
In the Horizon, Cleveland State goes for its ninth in a row when it plays at Milwaukee. In the MAC, both division leaders are in action as Northern Illinois is at Kent State and Miami entertains Ball State. NIU won in five Friday at Ohio, while while Miami swept Toledo. Both teams are 9-0 in the league.
In the Mountain West, league leader UNLV plays at Boise State while Colorado State, coming off its first MW loss in two years, goes to Fresno State.
American is dominating the Patriot League at 9-0 and after beating Lafayette Friday goes to Bucknell Saturday seeking its 11th win in a row.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi ties to extend its Southland record to 10-0 at Southeastern Louisiana, while New Mexico State goes to Seattle in the WAC, where the Aggies stand 8-0 after winning their 22nd league match in a row.
Big Ten: Nebraska dominates, Minnesota escapes
The Huskers had their usual home-court advantage as 8,476 filled the Bob Devaney Sports Center Friday night and they saw Nebraska improved to 17-1, 8-1 Big Ten.
Nebraska never trailed and hit .330 against the Badgers (15-3, 7-2), who had been holding opponents to a .163 average this season. The Huskers limited Wisconsin to .179 hitting.
“Huskers did a really good job tonight of following the game plan,” Nebraska coach John Cook said. “I thought our serve and pass, we won that battle. And for the most part, the long rallies, we got the majority of those.”
The Huskers are 6-0 in their last six matches against top-five opponents dating to last season, the longest stretch in school history of consecutive wins against top-five teams. Nebraska also has swept its last three top-five opponents, which has never been done in NU history.
Amber Rolfzen’s career-high 16 kills came on .609 hitting, and fellow middle blocker Briana Holman had seven kills and six blocks on .400 hitting. The Husker middles combined for 23 kills on .526 hitting.
Kadie Rolfzen had nine kills and eight digs, and Mikaela Foecke had seven kills. Andie Malloy had six kills and three blocks.
“That was one of our best games of the season,” Nebraska setter Kelly Hunter said.
Tionna Williams led Wisconsin with 11 kills.
“(Nebraska) played well and kept their errors down, their hitting errors were pretty low,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We had a tough time, our points were really, really hard. Part of it was their defense, I thought their defense was really good. There wasn’t a whole lot of pass-set-hit. The first part of the first set I thought there was, and then we didn’t control the ball very well.”
Minnesota got out of Iowa with a 21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-13, 15-11 to improve to 15-3, 7-2. Sarah Wilhite had 22 kills and hit .308. Alexis Hart had 19 kills and hit .457, Hannah Tapp had 14 kills and Molly Lohman had 10 kills and eight blocks.
Iowa led 8-6 in the fifth before Minnesota closed with a 4-1 run.
Loxley Keala had a career-tying 64 assists and had 10 digs. Jess Janota paced Iowa with 18 kills, while Ashley Mariani had a personal-best 15 kills with just one error for a career-high .636 attack percentage.
“Tonight’s effort says a lot about our team, and that’s what we keep asking for,” Iowa coach Bond Shymansky said. “It’s what we keep demanding. It’s what we keep pushing and working so hard for. I just love the battle and the grit and the fight that our group showed. I definitely like the progress our team is showing.”
Purdue, 12-8, 2-7, could ill afford a loss at Northwestern, which improved to 8-13, 1-8, with the 25-19, 18-25, 25-19, 28-26 victory.
“It feels awesome,” Northwestern’s Davis said. “It’s a big weight off our shoulders. It was great to see the training block we had this week transition into tonight’s match. I am really proud of the group tonight.”
Symone Abbott led his team with 18 kills and had five digs. Sofia Lavin added nine kills and Maddie Slater seven.
Purdue’s Danielle Cuttino had a career and match-high 23 kills and hit .367, while Sherridan Atkinson added 12 kills and hit .350.
Illinois got its third Big Ten sweep in a row as the Illini defeated Indiana, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 to improve to 14-6, 7-2. Indiana is 13-9, 2-7.
Freshman Jacqueline Quade led with nine kills on 18 attacks and only one error for a .444 hitting percentage, while senior Naya Crittenden had eight kills on 16 swings and only three errors. Kadie Stadick had seven kills and four blocks.
“We passed the way we wanted to, and moved the way we wanted to,” Illinois coach Kevin Hambly said. “It allowed (setter Jordyn Poulter) to run the offense. We got her heavily involved, and you can see the balance that we were able to have.”
Pac-12 UCLA finally beats Stanford, Oregon tops Utah
Freshman Torrey Van Winden tied a career high with 19 kills, hit .417 and had nine digs, as UCLA snapped a seven-match losing streak, defeating Stanford 17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22.
The Bruins (15-4, 6-3 Pac-12) got 15 kills from Jordan Anderson and 11 more from Jennie Frager, who hit .409.
Stanford, 11-6, 5-4, was playing without its kills and blocks leader Inky Ajanaku, who sustained an injury during warmups.
Freshman setter Jenna Gray had a career-high 41 assists, a career-bests four kills and two blocks. Freshman libero Morgan Hentz matched her career-best with a match-high 27 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Plummer led the Cardinal with 16 kills, 11 digs and two aces and freshman middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris had 14 kills on .444 hitting and five blocks, Ivana Vanjak finished with nine kills and two blocks.
No. 7 Washington went to Arizona State and swept the Sun Devils 25-18, 25-21, 25-14 to improve to 17-2, 7-2, as Courtney Schwan and Carly DeHoog each had eight kills, and Kara Bajema, Tia Scambray, and Crissy Jones all had seven.
ASU is 8-14, 1-7.
No. 18 Washington State got back on track as Kyra Holt had 14 kills and 14 digs as the Cougars won at Arizona 27-25, 25-23, 25-16. WSU is 17-5, 7-3 after winning in Tucson for the first time since 2006 and swept the Wildcats in Tucson for the first time since 1995.
McKenna Woodford added nine kills.
Arizona, 13-8, 5-4, was led by Kalei Mau’s 14 kills. Kendra Dahlke added 10.
No. 23 Oregon to beat No. 20 Utah 25-27, 27-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11. The Ducks, 13-5, 6-3, got 20 kills from Lindsey Vander Weide, who hit .500. She also had 17 digs.
Jolie Rasmussen had 14 kills and 12 digs. Ronika Stone hit .360 and had 15 kills while adding five digs and five blocks. Taylor Agost added eight kills while Willow Johnson had seven, and Amanda Benson led all players with 24 digs.
Utah, 14-6, 5-4, got 16 kills and 13 digs from Adora Anae. Berkeley Oblad had 15 kills and hit .500.
No. 25 USC improved to 14-6, 6-3, after beating visiting California 25-22, 25-21, 25-18. Cal dropped to 8-11, 2-7.
Feshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led USC with 11 kills and had five digs. Sophomore outside hitter Alyse Ford had 10 kills, six digs and a solo block. Junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie added nine kills and hit .615.
Junior Joslyn Hayes returned to the Colorado lineup and had 13 kills and two blocks as the Buffs beat visiting Oregon State 25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23. Stephanie Shadley led with 14 kills and Alexa Smith had 11 as Colorado improved to 12-7, 4-5.
Oregon State is 8-12, 1-8.
ACC: North Carolina, Florida State score sweeps
UNC won for the ninth time in a row with a 25-19, 25-10, 25-14 sweep of Boston College.
The Tar Heels, 17-2, matched their best start in ACC play at 9-0. BC is 5-14, 0-9.
“I think it was important for our team to play really strong and play with fewer errors,” UNC coach Joe Sagula said. “And I think we did that in the second and third set. If we’re going to go far this year, we have to learn how to finish teams quickly, and I thought we did that tonight.
“We have the physical talent to dominate teams but at times have made unforced errors, and I think tonight we showed what we’re capable of doing.”
Senior Taylor Treacy had 15 kills on 23 errorless swings for a career-high .652 hitting percentage. Taylor Borup added six kills and Taylor Leath five.
Senior Katie Horton recorded her 17th career double-double and fifth of the season with 17 digs and 11 kills as Florida State beat Virginia 27-25, 25-22, 25-16 as the Seminoles moved to 16-3, 9-1.
Christina Ambrose added eight kills and Milica Kubura had seven.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win tonight,” FSU coach Chris Poole said. “The encouraging part is that we stepped up in the third set and played much better. We seemed flat in the first two sets and kept surrendering large leads. I am glad that we got another road victory because we have two huge road matches again next weekend and we need to have a great week of practice to be prepared.”
UVa is 4-17, 1-8.
Duke kept pace with a 25-10, 25-21, 25-19 win over Clemson. The Blue Devils are 14-5, 8-1, after getting 13 kills from Jordan Tucker, who hit .522. Jessi Bartholomew had 10 kills.
Clemson is 6-15, 1-8.
Notre Dame stayed right the leaders, too, after sweeping Pittsburgh 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 to improve to 17-4, 8-1. Rebecca Nunge led 10 kills and added three digs and three blocks.
Pitt needed that one as it fell to 14-7, 5-4. Stephanie Williams led the Panthers with 15 kills.
Georgia Tech also stayed in the mix as it won for the sixth straight time with a 17-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-19, 15-8 victory at Wake Forest behind a 30-kill performance from Teegan Van Gunst.
The Yellow Jackets are 16-5, 7-2, while Wake fell to 8-12, 4-5.
Van Gunst had six errors in 57 swing and hit .421. She also had 13 digs.
Also in the ACC on Friday, Louisville won at Virginia Tech in four and NC State beat Syracuse in five.
Big 12: Texas gets out of Lubbock in five
The second-ranked Longhorns won 21-25, 25-18, 25-16, 26-28, 15-7 to improve to 16-2 and 8-0 in the Big 12.
Senior Paulina Prieto Cerame led the Longhorns in kills with a career-high 24 on 52 swings, hitting .365. She also added six blocks and six digs.
Junior Ebony Nwanebu and freshman Micaya White also posted double-digit kills for Texas, both with 16. Nwanebu’s 16 kills came on a .395 hitting percentage, also adding five digs and one ace. White added nine digs and five block.
Senior Chloe Collins posted 61 assists for her sixth match with 50 or more assists. She also added 12 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.
Texas Tech, 10-13, 0-8, hasn’t beaten Texas since 2000.
SEC: Florida, Kentucky win
No. 10 Florida had five players with six or more kills as the Gators beat Mississippi State 25-12, 25-13, 25-17 to improve to 17-2, 7-1 in the SEC. State dropped to 11-11, 3-5.
Florida, leading the nation in hitting at .323, hit .412. Carli Snyder led with 11 kills. Rhamat Alhassan had nine kills and six blocks. Rachael Kramer added seven kills and hit .462.
No. 21 Kentucky got 17 kills in 20 attempts from Kaz Brown, who hit .800 as the Wildcats swept South Carolina 25-11, 25-20, 31-29. Kentucky, riding a 13-match winning streak, is 16-4, 9-0, while USC dropped to 14-6, 2-6.
Texas A&M came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Georgia 20-25, 25-17, 21-25, 26-24, 15-7 and give Laurie Corbelli the 600th victory of her collegiate career as well as her 500th win in her 24th season as head coach of the Aggies.
“This was pretty hard fought and a pretty incredible match,” Corbelli said. “We haven’t really been tested to our core like we were today. The Georgia team played unbelievably well. They just gave us everything we could handle and we started to back off for a little while we noticed, and we really made a choice to just take it one point at a time. We really had to fight back, and that’s one thing I am really proud about. I knew that they could do it and they knew that they could. They had to just stay patient.
“To be the 500th, I will never forget it, for it to be this exciting. I told myself today’s match I am going to enjoy every single bit of it. I am going to coach my tail off today, because this represents all of these matches I have been involved in. So I really did enjoy it. Every single bit I enjoyed. I smiled at the team every time they would look at me. I had a smile and encouragement, and it felt so good to not be stressed out. I just know that they needed me to be that way today, and so I am just really proud of my team.”
Sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake had a career-best 16 kills while also hitting a personal-best .538. Senior middle blocker Jazzmin Babers had 14 kills while hitting .500 and junior outside hitter Kiara McGee added 12 kills.
A&M is 12-7, 6-2, while Georgia is 13-8, 1-7.
Alabama beat Arkansas 25-22, 25-12, 25-19 as Krystal Rivers had 25 of her team’s 44 kills. The Tide is 15-6, 4-4, while the Hogs dropped to 3-17, 1-7.
Dayton, now 21-1, WKU 21-2, big win for Missouri State
Dayton swept La Salle behind 13 kills from Jessica Sloan to improve to 21-1, 8-0 in the Atlantic 10 … Conference USA leader Western Kentucky, 21-2, 8-0 in C-USA, swept UTEP to give coach Travis Hudson his 550th career victory. Setter Jessica Lucas had 30 assists, nine kills, nine digs, three block assists and a team-leading .571 hitting percentage …
In the Missouri Valley, Missouri State pulled into a tie for first by beating Wichita State in four, which left both teams 8-2 in the league …
Long Beach was down 2-0 but came back to win at UC Santa Barbara in five 21-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-13 win to remain unbeaten in Big West play. LBSU is now 6-1 in five-set matches this season and, perhaps more notably, now 1-6 when trailing 2-0 in a match. The Beach is 14-7, 8-0 Big West …
North Dakota lost in five at Idaho State, dropping UND to 15-9, 7-2 as its six-match win streak ended … Princeton swept Penn and won its 12th in a row as it went two matches up on the Ivy League field with six to play …
In the Ohio Valley, Belmont won in five to deal Austin Peay its second loss of the season. The Governors are 16-8, 7-2 OVC, while Belmont is 2-8, 6-3 …
New Mexico State is 18-5, 8-0 in the WAC after beating Utah Valley in five …
And in the Atlantic Sun, visiting Lipscomb swept Kennesaw State and gave the Owls their first league loss, breaking a 12-match win streak and avenging an earlier defeat this season. Things got tighter in the league as Kennesaw dropped to 13-9, 7-1, while Lipscomb is 4-7, 6-2.