Pitt upsets UNC, while Wisconsin, Florida, FSU, Oregon win

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Pittsburgh celebrates upsetting No. 8 North Carolina on Sunday/Pitt Media Relations, Pete Madia

There were just two left heading into this past weekend. Now there no unbeaten teams in power-five-conference league play.

That’s because Friday night Kansas knocked off Texas, giving the Longhorns their first Big 12 loss.

That left North Carolina, last week’s No. 8 team in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, looking at a great chance of moving into the top five. That was until the Tar Heels went to Pittsburgh on Sunday in the ACC.

Pitt won in five, Carolina dropped to 19-3, 11-1 in the ACC, and now you have to look to the mid-majors for teams still unbeaten in their leagues, including:

Dayton in the Atlantic 10, Creighton in the Big East, Western Kentucky in Conference USA, Miami in the MAC, Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the Southland, Fairfield in the Metro Atlantic, Alabama State in the SWAC, Howard in the MEAC and Cleveland State in the Horizon League.

Also Sunday, No. 4 Wisconsin beat Rutgers; No. 9 Florida swept LSU; No. 11 Florida State got out of Notre Dame with a four-set victory in another key ACC match; No. 20 Oregon beat Arizona State; No. 22 Kentucky spanked Alabama; speaking of WKU, the No. 23 Lady Toppers won at UAB; Duke won at Syracuse to stay in the ACC hunt, and the aforementioned Fairfield swept St. Peters.

There are a total of 17 matches on tap for Monday and Tuesday, none involving ranked teams.

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ACC: Huge wins for Pitt, ‘Noles as race tightens

FSU pulled into a first-place tie with North Carolina at 11-1 and they play next Sunday. Idle Georgia Tech is 10-2, tied with Duke. And Notre Dame is 9-3, a game ahead of Pittsburgh.

Start with the upset at Pitt as the Panthers beat the visiting Tar Heels 25-21, 19-25, 25-15, 23-25, 15-6.

“This win is huge for us,” Pitt coach Dan Fisher said. “We needed another top 25 win and we got one. It was a strange game emotionally but we were good when it mattered.”

His team improved to 17-7, 8-4, as Nika Markovic, who was back at full strength after an injury earlier this month, had a career-high 19 kills and hit .268. The freshman also had 10 digs.

“You can see what we have been missing in Nika the last month and it is great to have her back at full strength,” Fisher said.

Junior Mariah Bell had 18 kills, five blocks and 10 digs, while freshman Stephanie Williams had 14 kills and 11 digs.

Sophomore Taylor Leath led UNC with 17 kills. Taylor Borup had 13 kills, five blocks and nine digs. Junior Taylor Fricano had a career-high 10 blocks and senior Taylor Treacy tied her career high with seven blocks.

Florida State’s Milica Kubura (19 kills), Christina Ambrose (18 kills), Cecilie Woie (29 digs) and Katie Horton (23 digs) enjoyed career-best outings in the victory 17-25, 26-24, 25-14, 25-20 victory at Notre Dame.

“It was a tough match today,” FSU coach Chris Poole said. “Notre Dame came out very determined and did a good job of keeping us out of sync. We definitely improved as the match progressed and realize that we need to do a better job of coming out stronger in the first set. However, I am pleased with how we hold our composure under adversity and keep fighting.”

Duke improved to 16-6, 10-2, with its 25-15, 23-25, 25-21, 25-21 win at Syracuse. Sophomore middle blocker Leah Meyer led with 19 kills and eight blocks and hit .424. The other middle, Jordan Tucker, had 11 kills and two aces.

“We did a great job getting the ball to our middles,” Duke coach Jolene Nagel said. “Leah and Jordan were getting available and working hard on the defensive end blocking. Leah had a great day. She stayed pressed on the block and hustled to get the ball when she could. She was really efficient with her attempts. Jordan came up with kills at key moments today. She was her usual steady, smart self.”

Also in the ACC on Sunday, Miami won at Louisville in five, visiting NC State swept Virginia Tech, and Boston College beat visiting Wake Forest in four for its first league win after 11 losses.

Big Ten: Badgers bounce Rutgers

Wisconsin is 18-3, 10-2 in the B1G after beating Rutgers 25-14, 25-18, 25-23 as senior setter Lauren Carlini got her 5,000th assist and senior middle Haleigh Nelson got her 1,000th kill.

“Congratulations to the old ladies for their milestones,” UW coach Kelly Sheffield said, “it’s good stuff.”

Carlini is now No. 3 on the all-time UW assists list.

“It’s pretty cool just to be within the top of the assist leaders at Wisconsin,” Carlini said. “I can’t believe I’ve already gotten here but it’s just cool to be in that type of company and I wasn’t really excited about it in the moment because it was a close game at that time but now just looking back, that’s good company.”

Pac-12: Oregon, Oregon State win

The Ducks stayed a game off the league lead with their 25-21, 25-18, 27-29, 25-20 win over visiting Arizona State.

Oregon is 15-6, 8-4, while ASU dropped to 9-15, 2-10.

Lindsey Vander Weide had 19 kills on .471 hitting and had seven digs.

“We definitely needed that,” Vander Weide said. “We lost our last three at home. Everybody wants to win in front of their home crowd. Everyone’s been losing at home and everyone is winning on the road so we knew we needed to get this match today after Friday (loss to Arizona). We had to win one at home.”

Jolie Rasmussen added 12 kills while hitting .294 and tied her season-high with three aces. Freshman Willow Johnson had 10 kills, and  hit .500 and Ronika Stone had seven kills, hit .312 and added three blocks.

“Everybody’s got eight matches to go,” Oregon coach Jim Moore said. “The team that wins the most matches out of the stretch is going to get it. I hope it’s us.”

Oregon State put away visiting Arizona 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20, to improve to 9-14, 2-10, while Arizona continued it’s up-and-down ride and dropped to 14-10, 6-6.

Mary-Kate Marshall had 17 kills and 17 digs for the winners, while Arizona was led by Kalei Mau, who had 23 kills and 16 digs.

SEC: Florida, Kentucky roll on

Florida, Kentucky and Missouri are all tied at 10-1 atop the SEC.

Florida held LSU to .022 hitting in a 25-11, 25-13, 25-19 victory that left the Gators 20-2, 10-1 in the SEC, while LSU dropped to 7-15, 2-9.

Rhamat Alhassan had 10 kills with no errors. Freshman middle Darrielle King had six kills in eight swings and four blocks.

Kentucky beat Alabama 25-19, 25-15, 25-17 to improve to 17-5, 10-1. Alabama, which hit just .071, dropped to 15-9, 4-7.

Junior Kaz Brown and junior Darian Mack had 10 kills each and they and junior Emily Franklin had three blocks each for Kentucky.

Missouri swept Mississippi State 25-11, 25-20, 25-19 to get to 19-4, 10-1, while State dropped to 12-13, 4-7.

Junior Melanie Crow, who missed two matches, returned to lead the Tigers with 13 kills, five digs and four blocks. Senior Carly Kan had 12 kills.

Also in the SEC on Sunday, Texas A&M won in three at South Carolina, Arkansas held off visiting Georgia in five, and Tennessee swept visiting Auburn.

WKU wins 15th in row, ASUN leaders keep pace

Alyssa Cavanaugh had 17 kills and Rachel Anderson 12 while hitting .526 as Western Kentucky won at UAB 25-21, 25-11, 25-16 to improve to 24-2, 11-0 in Conference USA. UAB is 11-16, 3-8.

“We’re excited about our weekend,” WKU coach Travis Hudson said. “That’s a stretch of four-straight wins on the road. UAB played really well in set one and we withstood that and controlled the match from that point forward.”

It took five for Kennesaw State to beat USC Upstate 25-19, 16-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-8 as KSU improved to 15-9 and 9-1 in the ASUN.

Anaiah Boyer had 22 kills, hit .333 and had 19 digs, while Kelly Marcinek added 19 kills and hit .429.

Lipscomb couldn’t afford to stumble after also winning at USC Upstate in five and the Bison won at NJIT 25-17, 25-17, 25-18 to improve to 16-7, 8-2.

American Athletic league-leader SMU got past visiting Tulane 25-18, 28-26, 22-25, 22-25, 16-14.The Mustangs are 18-6, 11-1.

Janelle Giordano became the all-time blocks leader at SMU with 10 block assists, one solo, and a season-high 19 kills. Katie Hegarty led with 22 kills and added 12 digs.

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Jamie Bredahl of Northeastern attacks against UNCW on Sunday

Also:

Fairfield won its 16th in a row by beating Saint Peters 25-9, 25-13, 25-11 and locked up the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title for the 16th time. It means the Stags move into the semifinals of the league tournament as they improved to 22-5 and 15-0 in the MAAC.

Dayton rules the A-10, but Rhode Island improved to 14-9, 9-2 in the league with a five-set win at VCU as Audrey Castro had 21 kills and 13 digs …

Colonial Athletic Association league-leader Northeastern is 20-7, 10-3 in the CAA as it beat visiting UNCW 25-21, 25-23, 25-17. Brigitte Burcescu had 10 kills without an error.

Also in the CAA, College of Charleston took a tough loss by losing in four at Hofstra. It left Charleston 15-9, 8-4, while Hofstra is 19-7, 9-4 …

In the Northeast Conference, league leader Sacred Heart won in at Robert Morris 29-27, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 to improve to 17-7, 10-1 …

And Albany’s Laini Leindecker got her 1,000th kill as her team improved to 14-7, 8-1 in the America East.

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