Huge ACC matches Sunday, Ohio State sliding, UCLA, Stanford win

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WKU's Georgia O'Connell digs against Middle Tennessee/Steve Roberts, WKU Athletics photo

It’s easy to do, with so much deserved focus on the Big Ten and Pac-12, to forget about the ACC.

But that league is heating up and has a round of early matches Sunday in a race that’s tight and interesting with a few teams that could be big factors in December.

Today’s schedule follows, but first a quick recap of Saturday’s bigger matches as No. 22 Ohio State’s slide continued with a loss at Indiana, No. 3 Wisconsin had to go five to win at Purdue, No. 9 UCLA bounced back and No. 13 Stanford is red-hot.

Arkansas State is now 14-1 in the Sun Belt, while American, which already clinched the conference title, took its first Patriot League loss.

Murray State won again and is 13-1 in the Ohio Valley, while Miami, Ohio, got knocked off by Kent and NIU won to put them back into a tie in the MAC at 13-1.

And a team that the higher seed simply is not going to want to play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State, won again and is 11-2 in the Missouri Valley, a half game ahead of another Valley team you don’t want to face in Wichita State.

All that and more, but first a look at Sunday’s action:

Start with the ACC, with first serves at noon Eastern.

The league’s two ranked teams play in Tallahassee with No. 12 North  Carolina (20-3, 12-1) at No. 10 Florida State (18-4, 11-2). FSU is coming off that stunning home upset of NC State. This is a potentially big seeding match, since UNC has an RPI of 13, while FSU is just 23.

All the top teams are bunched up Sunday, with Notre Dame (19-6, 10-3) at Duke (17-6, 11-2) and Pittsburgh (18-7, 9-4) at Georgia Tech (20-5, 11-2).

Also, Virginia Tech is at Clemson, Louisville goes to Wake Forest, and Boston College plays at Virginia.

There is only one match in the Big Ten when No. 2 Minnesota goes to Maryland.

All the SEC teams are in action, with No. 18 Kentucky playing host to Missouri in a battle not only to keep pace with No. 6 Florida atop the league, but because Kentucky is 15 in the RPI and unranked Missouri 18.

Florida, 7 in the RPI, plays at Mississippi State. Also, Georgia is at Kentucky, Arkansas goes to Alabama and national kills leader Krystal Rivers, Ole Miss plays at Auburn and Texas A&M, 29 in the RPI, tries to keep its postseason situation on the upswing when Tennessee visits.

There are three matches in the Pac-12, with No. 20 Oregon — sure to make a big jump in Monday’s new AVCA Poll — at No. 23 Washington State. WSU (17-8, 7-6 in the Pac-12) is likely to drop out if it doesn’t win, considering the Cougars have lost three in a row and six of eight after once being 15-2, 5-0 in the league.

Also, No. 8 Washington, trying to bounce back after getting beat at home by Oregon, plays host to Oregon State and Cal goes to Colorado.

The Big 12 is idle but No. 25 Creighton, which leads the Big East at 13-0, plays at Xavier.

No. 24 Dayton,with a nation-best record of 25-1, plays at La Salle on Sunday.

Click here for a list of all of Sunday’s 58 matches.

Big Ten: Big win for Indiana, Huskers, Badgers, Spartans, Wolverines all win

They were rejoicing in Indiana while Ohio State is looking for answers.

Indiana’s 25-22, 25-23, 17-25, 25-23 win over the Buckeyes was its first over Ohio State since Oct. 8, 2010, and the second win over a ranked opponent in the last week. The Hoosiers beat No. 13 Michigan last Saturday at University Gym.

“These are big wins for our program,” said IU coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan, whose team is 16-11, 5-9 in the Big Ten. “If we can keep learning and keep motivated that is going to be huge for us.”

Senior Jazzmine McDonald led IU with 13 kills and hit .687. Freshman Deyshia Lofton had 11 kills and senior Taylor Lebo had 15 digs. Sophomore Elizabeth Asdell added seven kills.

Ohio State, 15-10, 5-9, got 19 kills from Audra Appold and 18 from Taylor Sandbothe, who hit .483 and five blocks, one solo.

On one hand, Ohio State is ranked and has an RPI of 25, but on the other, since dealing Nebraska its only defeat, 25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, on Oct. 1 in Lincoln, the Buckeyes are 3-6. The Nebraska upset was stunning and made you take notice, but then they lost their next three, including a rematch at home two weeks later against Nebraska. The schedule seems to allow Ohio State a chance to get right, with four of the final six matches at home.

One thing you know is that Purdue is tough at home. The Boilermakers made Wisconsin earn a 25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 16-25, 15-10 victory as the winners improved to 20-3, 12-2, and Purdue dropped to 15-10, 5-9.

“It’s a really good win,” UW coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I told the team that not a whole lot of things were going well for us there at the end of the third and the fourth (sets).

“That had to be really, really hard what they did, just digging down that deep and playing the way that they did when you’re in a game five. That was a special performance there at the end. (I’m) really happy for them, it was tough to score points out there tonight, I can tell you that.”

Freshman Molly Haggerty led with 24 kills, while Romana Kriskova had 12 kills and Haleigh Nelson 11. Nelson also had five blocks, three solo.

“Even though we swept those wins in the first two sets, I wouldn’t say we were super proud of how we were playing,” Nelson said. “We were finishing better than Purdue but they were definitely beating us in fight and it really showed in the third and fourth set. We really didn’t have an answer for them, and it says a lot about our team that we were able to put those two sets behind us and perform in the fifth set the way that we did.

“That’s the team that we want to be every time we step on the floor and it was really difficult, definitely to bounce back, but we did it together and I think that we will really learn from that and we will come out a lot better next time right away.”

Senior Faye Adelaja had a career-best 21 kills, while hitting a season-high .690 clip and adding six blocks for Purdue. Junior Danielle Cuttino added 19 kills, four digs and four blocks. Sophomore Sherridan Atkinson had nine kills and three blocks, while junior Azariah Stahl chipped in seven kills, eight digs and six blocks. Redshirt freshman Blake Mohler had six blocks.

No. 1 Nebraska beat Rutgers 25-10, 25-14, 25-12 to improve to 22-1, 13-1. Rutgers, still looking to win a second set in the B1G this season, is 4-23, 0-14. Briana Holman had 12 kills and hit .688 in a match that took an hour, 19 minutes.

No. 11 Penn State broke its four-match losing streak by routing Iowa 25-11, 25-16, 25-17.

It left the Nittany Lions 18-7, 10-4, and Iowa 18-8, 8-6.

Haleigh Washington led Penn State with nine kills and 10 blocks. Setter Bryanna Wiskircher added six blocks.

Iowa’s Lauren Brobst led her team with nine kills but her team hit .030 as it was out-blocked 14-3.

The Michigans both won.

No. 16 Michigan State won its fourth in a row by dispatching visiting Illinois 25-16, 25-20, 25-22. MSU is 21-5, 10-4, while the Illini are 14-11, 7-7.

Chloe Reinig had 11 kills and tied her season best with six blocks, while Alyssa Garvelink had six kills, hit .375 and set a career best with 10 block assists. Senior Allyssah Fitterer had eight kills and hit .727.

Ali Bastianelli had eight kills and seven blocks for Illinois. Michelle Stizak added nine kills and three blocks.

And No. 17 Michigan got a good battle from Northwestern 25-17, 17-25, 25-19, 25-17 as the Wolverines improved to 20-6, 9-5 and the Wildcats dropped to 8-18, 1-13.

Abby Cole was big for Michigan with 17 kills as she hit .591. Carly Skjodt added 11 kills and 15 digs.

Pac-12: UCLA rebound, Stanford rolls

UCLA’s Reily Buechler had 13 kills, which got her 1,000 in her career, hit .423 and had five digs and three aces as the Bruins swept Arizona State 25-21, 25-22, 25-19.

UCLA is 19-5, 10-4 in the top-heavy Pac-12. ASU fell to 9-17, 2-12.

Torrey Van Winden added seven kills and 14 digs for UCLA.

Visiting Stanford put it on No. 19 Utah 25-22, 25-20, 25-16, leaving the Cardinal 16-6, 10-4, while Utah dropped to 17-8, 8-6.

Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, who began the season as an opposite, led all players with 19 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Senior Inky Ajanaku hit .500, with seven kills and four blocks, while freshman Audriana Fitzmorris hit .438 and and had seven kills and four blocks. Senior Ivana Vanjak had eight kills and three blocks.

Utah was led by junior outside hitter Adora Anae’s 12 kills and seven digs. Carly Trueman added 10 kills, while freshman libero Brianna Doehrmann had 12 digs.

TCU coaches Trent Kersten, Jill Kramer and Brian Wright enjoy a point against K-State/TCU photo
TCU coaches Trent Kersten, Jill Kramer and Brian Wright enjoy a point against K-State/TCU photo

Big 12: Big win for TCU, Jayhawks win

TCU, which had lost seven in a row, evened its overall record at 11-11 and got to 4-8 in the Big 12 with its biggest win of the season, 25-20, 25-12, 25-22 over visiting Kansas State.

“I was proud to see how well our team played together tonight,” TCU’s Jill Kramer said. “We have not done that in a while and you could tell that they were working together for a common purpose and enjoying their time on the court together. When they just stay focused on the process, get locked in and execute the game plan well, I think we are a great team. I am glad that they could get out there and feel that again today. It was a lot of fun to coach them.”

Her team hit a season-best .311 as Ashleigh Martin led with 13 kills and four blocks. Natalie Gower had seven kills and zero errors on 14 swings to hit .500 for the second straight match. She also had eight blocks.

Jillian Bergeson donned the libero jersey for the first time in her TCU career and finished with a team-best 19 digs.

Brooke Sassin had 13 kills to lead K-State, 17-8, 6-6.

No. 4 Kansas won at Oklahoma 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 27-25 to improve to 22-2, 11-1 and win for the 10th time in a row.

With six blocks, senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie became the third Jayhawk to reach 500 career blocks and the second Jayhawk to reach 100 blocks all four seasons of her career. She ended the match with those exact numbers – 500 career blocks and 100 blocks on the season.

Junior All-American right-side hitter Kelsie Payne also joined an elite group of Jayhawks, becoming the 15th to reach 1,000 career kills at KU. She led with 21 kills and hit .381, while picking up seven digs to go with six blocks and an ace.

Oklahoma is 13-12, 4-8.

Western Kentucky coach Travis Hudson talks with the team during a time out Saturday against Middle Tennessee /Steve Roberts, WKU Athletics photo
Western Kentucky coach Travis Hudson talks with the team during a time out Saturday against Middle Tennessee /Steve Roberts, WKU Athletics photo

USD, BYU, Hawai’i, WKU win

Kaity Edwards had 13 kills and hit .733 and No. 7 San Diego won at Pacific 25-21, 25-23, 25-9 to improve to 21-3 overall, 12-1 in the West Coast Conference. Lisa Kramer and Lauren Schad had nine kills each.

WCC foe No. 14 BYU swept St. Mary’s 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 as freshman outside hitter McKenna Miller led with 12 kills and three digs. Sophomore Lacey Haddock added 10 kills and sophomore Veronica Jones-Perry had nine kills and six blocks. BYU is 22-3, 11-2.

No. 15 Hawai’i is 18-5, 11-1 atop the Big West after sweeping visiting CSUN 25-9, 25-14, 25-16. Annie Mitchem had a match-high 12 kills while McKenna Granato and Emily Maglio added nine kills apiece.

No. 21 Western Kentucky, which clinched the Conference USA title Friday by beating Rice, won its 17th in a row by sweeping Middle Tennessee 25-10, 25-21, 25-13 for its 44th consecutive home conference victory. The Lady Toppers are 26-2, 13-0 in C-USA.

Alyssa Cavanaugh led WKU with 10 kills and hit .455. Taylor Dellinger had nine kills and hit .500, while setter Jessica Lucas  had eight kills and hit .727.

“It has always been about us getting better every time we step on the court,” WKU coach Travis Hudson said. “That’s been the focus. We’ve won a lot of matches even when we didn’t play great this year. I’m really excited, we are really starting to put things together and it’s going to make us an awfully tough out as we go into tournament time.”

North Dakota's Tamara Mersell gets one of her career-high 21 kills against Idaho/UND photo
North Dakota’s Tamara Mersell gets one of her career-high 21 kills against Idaho/UND photo

Around the nation:

Start with some MAC-tion, where the respective Mid-American division leaders are tied for the overall lead again after Kent stunned Miami, Ohio, in five to drop the Redhawks to 21-5, 13-1 MAC, while NIU was beating Central Michigan in four to improve to 21-5, 13-1. In their only meeting, Miami swept NIU …

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (19-7, 14-0 Southland) marked its final home match with a sweep of Nicholls State 25-16, 25-19, 25-23 and senior Morgan Carlson and junior Kate Klepetka, who is a senior academically made the most of their last appearance on their home court. Carlson had a match-high 13 kills and hit .308. Klepetka led with 24 kills.

“This was a nice finish to our home season,” said coach Steve Greene, whose team won its eighth in a row. “To put up another 3-0 win at home was great and it was really nice to get to honor Morgan Carlson and Kate Klepetka on senior day.”

American, just a day after clinching home-court advantage for the upcoming Patriot League tournament, was swept by Lehigh and dropped to 24-7, 14-1, and saw its 15-match winning streak broken …

Cleveland State continues to own the Horizon League. The Vikings improved to 21-4, 12-1, by winning at Oakland as Sara Skeens led with 10 kills and Sydney Mast had nine and six blocks. Grace Kauth had nine kills and seven digs. It was CSU’s 12th win in a row …

Radford beat visiting Presbyterian in four to improve to 22-5, 13-2 in the Big South and secured the top seed in that league’s tournament.

Maddie Palmer had 17 kills and 15 digs, and freshmen Mallory McKnight and Sydney Tekstra finished with nine kills each. Stephanie Neast scored four of her six kills in the fourth set and had six blocks, two solo …

Murray State improved to 18-8, 13-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference by beating Eastern Kentucky in four. Scottie Ingram was huge as she had 26 kills, hit .321, and had 16 digs and an ace …

Sacred Heart swept Fairleigh Dickinson to clinch the Northeast Conference title with two matches left before the league tournament. The Pioneers are 18-7, 11-1. Sara Krufka had 15 kills and hit .565 …

In the America East, Albany (9-1) was idle but New Hampshire beat Hartford to get to 8-2. Albany plays at UMBC Sunday and plays UNH on Friday …

Wichita State is 18-7, 11-1 in the Missouri Valley after sweeping Loyola to stay a half game behind Missouri State. Abbie Lehman and Tabitha Brown had 11 kills each for WSU. Missouri State is 20-7, 11-2, as the Bears won their 11th in a row as Cambree Villarreal  had a career high 17 kills and Lily Johnson led with 19 kills …

Kennesaw State lost to FGCU in five and Lipscomb beat Stetson in four, so KSU (16-10) and Lipscomb (18-7) are tied atop the Atlantic Sun at 10-2, while Florida Gulf Coast (23-5, 9-3) is a game back .

In the Big Sky, the leaders all won as Northern Colorado (12-3) beat Eastern Washington, North Dakota (12-2) stayed a half game ahead by beating Idaho, and Northern Arizona dropped a game back by losing in five at Idaho State, 18-16 in the fifth …

Princeton beat Brown to get to 11-1 in the Ivy League and stay a game ahead of Yale, which beat Princeton on Friday and swept Penn on Saturday …

Colorado State had to go five to beat visiting New Mexico and move into a tie for first at 11-2 with idle Boise State …

Fairfield is 23-5, 16-0 in the Metro Atlantic after sweeping Canisius for the Stags’ 17th consecutive win. Skyler Day had 18 kills and 16 digs …

IPFW dealt South Dakota a tough blow, sweeping the Coyotes to drop them to 11-3 in the Summit. Idle Denver leads the league at 11-2, while North Dakota State, which swept IUPUI, is right there at 10-4 …

Arkansas State clinched the Sun Belt Conference West Division by sweeping visiting Texas State. ASU is 22-7, 14-1, while Texas State dropped to 18-11, 11-3. Coastal Carolina, 21-4, 12-1, has clinched the East Division title …

And finally, Valparaiso lost in five to visiting Green Bay, but if you read the story about libero/setter Morganne Longoria, it’s worth noting that the remarkable tale continues as she had 25 assists and 29 digs.

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