The last unbeaten team in the Big Ten was Penn State. The key word there being was, because Saturday night the No. 9 Nittany Lions sustained their first league loss, falling at No. 16 Michigan 25-23, 17-25, 29-27, 23-25, 15-9, offering further proof that nothing this season can be taken for granted or assumed.
There were plenty of other big matches, from No. 19 Ohio State sweeping No. 11 Michigan State to No. 24 Purdue knocking off No. 22 Illinois to Creighton winning its 10th in a row — all in the Big East — to No. 16 BYU escaping Loyola Marymount to Long Beach getting to 9-0 in the Big West by beating Cal Poly.
But first a look at Sunday’s schedule and key matches and it starts again with another big one in the Big Ten as No. 3 Minnesota goes to No. 1 Nebraska. These are two teams that could well see each other in the NCAA Championship weekend in Columbus, Ohio, in December. Also in the league on Sunday, Indiana goes to Northwestern.
There are three matches in the Pac-12, including No. 7 Washington at Arizona, Cal at No. 15 UCLA, and No. 14 Stanford at No. 25 USC in a huge one for both teams.
The SEC has its usual busy Sunday, with five matches, starting with No. 10 Florida playing host to Georgia and No. 21 Kentucky going to Missouri in a battle of the league unbeatens. Kentucky is 9-0, Missouri is 8-0, and Florida is 7-1. Also, Auburn goes to Arkansas, Alabama is at Ole Miss and Tennessee plays at Mississippi State.
The ACC also has a full slate, including Syracuse at No. 8 North Carolina and Notre Dame at Virginia Tech. No. 12 Florida State is off, but two teams in the hunt face off when Georgia Tech plays at Duke. Also, Clemson goes to Wake Forest, Boston College is at NC State and Pittsburgh entertains Louisville.
The Big 12 has the day off.
Among the other matches Sunday, the teams with the best records in the country try to keep it going when Dayton (21-1, 8-0) plays host to Duquesne in the Atlantic 10 and Western Kentucky (21-2, 8-0) goes to second-place UTSA (15-4, 6-1) in Conference USA. Fairfield, 19-5 and 12-0 in the Metro Atlantic, is at Manhattan. SMU, 15-6 and 8-1 in the American Athletic, is at UCF.
Big Ten: Down goes Penn State, Maryland breaks through
Michigan had some players with gaudy numbers as Carly Skjodt had 27 kills, MacKenzi Welsh 67 assists and Tiffany Clark 20 digs) as the Wolverines had five players with double-figure digs for the first time since Michigan defeated Santa Clara in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
It left Michigan 18-4 overall, 7-4 in the Big Ten, while Penn State is 17-4, 9-1.
Kelly Murphy and Claire Kieffer-Wright had 13 kills apiece, while junior Katherine Mahlke added 12. Murphy also had 12 digs.
Michigan ended the match on an 8-3 run.
Penn State’s Simone Lee led with 27 kills while Ali Frantti had 17. It was only Penn State’s fifth loss to Michigan in 52 matches.
Maryland and Rutgers went into their match both winless in league play, but the Terps came away with a road sweep 25-20, 25-19, 26-24.
“I’m always happy to win a match,” said Maryland coach Steve Aird, whose team is 9-13, 1-9 B1G. “Rutgers played hard and there was no quit in them. We aren’t elite yet, but we’re a good, young ball club and we learn every time we play.”
Freshman outside hitter Gia Milana led Maryland with 18 kills and four blocks.
Rutgers is 4-19, 0-10 and has won just one set in league play this season.
No. 4 Wisconsin blasted Iowa 25-15, 25-20, 25-23. The Badgers are 16-3 and kept pace in the league at 8-2. Iowa is 15-7, 5-5.
Freshman Molly Haggerty led the Badger offense with 13 kills and only two errors for a .379 hitting percentage. Junior Lauryn Gillis and redshirt senior Romana Kriskova each added nine kills and two blocks.
Jess Janota led Iowa with 13 kills. Senior Lauren Brobst had 10 kills, which put her over 1,000 in her career.
Purdue continued its roller-coaster ride of a season by winning at Illinois 14-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 15-11.
The Boilermakers, 13-8, 3-7 B1G, were led by Danielle Cuttino, who had 16 kills and six digs. Faye Adelaja added 12 kills and seven blocks while hitting .429. Sherridan Atkinson and Blake Mohler had nine kills apiece.
Illinois, which dropped to 14-7, 7-3, got 12 kills apiece from Naya Crittenden and Katie Stadick and 10 from Michelle Strizak.
And Ohio State got a much-needed victory as the Buckeyes beat visiting Michigan State 25-21, 25-19, 25-19 to improve to 14-8, 4-6, while the Spartans dropped to 17-5, 6-4.
Luisa Schirmer led with 13 kills while hitting .417. Taylor Sandbothe had 12 kills and hit .450. Audra Appold added 10 kills and seven digs and setter Taylor Hughes had seven kills and 37 assists.
Autumn Bailey led the Spartans with nine kills and two blocks, while Allyssah Fitterer had six kills and two blocks.
Pac-12: Oregon, Utah notch victories
No. 23 Oregon beat Colorado 25-14, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21 behind big individual performances from Lauren Page and Lindsey Vander Weide. Paige had career-highs in both kills (12) and blocks (12), while tying her career-high with a .667 hitting percentage. Vander Wiede had 12 kills and 15 digs while setting a career-high with eight blocks.
It left their team 14-5, 7-3 in the Pac-12, while Colorado dropped to 12-8, 4-6.
No. 20 Utah beat Oregon State 25-15, 23-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-9.
Utah is 15-6, 6-4, while OSU dropped to 8-13, 1-9.
Adora Anae posted her ninth 20-kill effort of the season – 21st of her career – with a match-high 26 kills and a .365 hitting percentage. Tawnee Luafalemana notched 12 kills, while Berkeley Oblad and Eliza Katoa had 10 kills each.
Big 12: Baylor beats Oklahoma, Cyclones sweep TCU
Baylor (18-6, 6-2 Big 12) came back to beat Oklahoma (12-9, 3-5 Big 12), 22-25, 25-11, 28-26, 27-25, as Katie Steiger continued her offensive prowess with a match-high 19 kills. Aniah Philo had 15 kills and Camryn Freiberg added 14.
Iowa State rolled over TCU 25-23, 25-18, 25-19 to improve to 11-9, 3-5, while TCU dropped to 10-9, 3-6.
And Kansas State held off visiting West Virginia in five 25-12, 21-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-8.
The Wildcats are 16-5, 5-3 , while WVa dropped to 11-12, 2-7.
ACC: Hurricanes sweep Virginia Tech
In the league’s only match of the day, Miami rolled 25-19, 26-24, 25-18. The Hurricanes are 9-13, 3-7 ACC, while Virginia Tech dropped to 4-18, 1-9.
Olga Strantzali paced Miami with a team-high 14 kills and nine digs.
WCC: San Diego and BYU get victories
The headline on the USD website says “Toreros Ride Waves to 18th Straight Win.”
No. 5 USD is now a victory away from tying the school mark for consecutive victories after beating Pepperdine 25-14, 25-22, 28-30, 25-16. The Toreros are 19-2 overall and 10-0 in the West Coast Conference.
Kaity Edwards and Lauren Schad led USD with 12 kills apiece, while Edwards hit .429, and added two blocks, and Schad hit .579 with five blocks. Lisa Kramer had 11 kills. Addie Picha recorded a career-high 10 blocks, one solo, and Hunter Jennings had 17 digs.
Pepperdine is 8-14, 2-8.
BYU got all it could handle from LMU 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12.
“LMU is one of the best defensive teams in the conference, so we told our girls to keep swinging aggressively,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “LMU was going to get its digs, but we just had to hang in there and keep fighting. I thought our girls did that all the way through the fifth set. That fourth set was great in that we were able to fight after being down 2-1 to take it to a fifth set. I thought they did a good job.”
Her team improved to 19-3, 8-2 West Coast Conference as freshman McKenna Miller led with 20 kills and three blocks. Amy Boswell added eight blocks.
LMU dropped to 14-8, 5-5.
Beast of the East: Creighton wins again, Stag party continues
The Bluejays’ 23-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19 victory at Marquette gave Creighton a two-and-a-half game lead atop the Big East standings. Creighton improved to 16-6, 10-0, while second-place Marquette dropped to 18-5, 8-3.
“We’re thrilled to come out of such a tough road weekend with two great wins,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “Three of the sets could have gone either direction, so I’m pleased we handled end game pretty well. With that said, we made way too many unforced errors and weren’t as crisp as we wanted to be. In the long term this will be good, because for us to be able to do what we want to do this season, we need to be better. I’m encouraged we could win despite not playing at our highest level.”
Jaali Winters led Creighton with a season-high 22 kills and added 15 digs. Taryn Kloth added 15 kills. Lydia Dimke had 46 assists, nine digs and six kills on .364 hitting.
A handful of teams are on major rolls, including Fairfield. The Stags are now 19-5 and 12-0 in the MAAC after beating Iona 25-18, 25-20, 26-24 for their 13th win in a row.
Fairfield also officially locked up a berth in the MAAC Championship for the 21st consecutive season. This year’s tournament will be hosted by the Stags on George Bisacca Court at Alumni Hall from Nov. 18-20.
Megan O’Sullivan, the team’s only senior, led with 11 kills and hit .611.
Long Beach State got 20 kills from Nele Barber and won in four at Cal Poly to improve to 15-7, 9-0 in the Big West …
Cleveland State had to go five to win at Milwaukee, but is now 18-4, 9-1 in the Horizon … Talk about streaks, the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders improved to 15-7, 10-0 in the Southland with a sweep at Southeastern Louisiana … Alabama State is 11-0 in the SWAC after sweeping Grambling …
American University is 20-6, 10-0 in the Patriot League after sweeping Bucknell for its 11th win in a row. The Eagles had only seven attack errors in the match …
New Mexico State (19-5, 9-0 WAC) rolled past Seattle U 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 for their 23rd league win in a row … Texas State swept Georgia Southern to improve to 8-1 in the Sun Belt …
Boise State stunned UNLV and the sweep of the Rebels left Boise 17-6 overall and tied with UNLV at 8-2 for second place in the Mountain West. UNLV is 19-3 overall. They both trail Colorado State (14-6, 8-1 MW) by a half game after the Rams swept Fresno State to bounce back from its first league loss in two years …
North Dakota beat Weber State in four to get to 8-2 in the Big Sky … UNI beat SIU to put both teams at 8-3 in the Missouri Valley …
In the MAC, Northern Illinois had to go five to beat Kent State but stayed atop the standings at 18-4, 10-0. The Huskies won their third straight five-setter. It’s NIU’s best start since 1993 and best start ever as a member of the MAC.
On the other side of the league, Miami, Ohio, won its 17th in a row with a sweep of Ball State. The Redhawks are 18-4 and also 10-0. It’s the second longest winning streak in school history. Miami plays Bowling Green on Thursday while NIU is at Western Michigan and then Saturday plays host to NIU in what will be the MAC match of the year.