Since it’s Veterans Day, we honor all those who served.
In the case of volleyball, almost everyone serves and, of course, every play begins with a serve.
So we serve up for you a look at Thursday’s results and Friday’s schedule.
And what would a night in NCAA volleyball be without serving up an upset?
Start with the West Coast Conference where we had a big surprise as visiting Portland went to San Diego and knocked off the No. 7 Toreros in five. The other ranked WCC team, No. 12 BYU, beat Gonzaga.
In the Pac-12, No. 19 Utah went 2-0 on its Oregon trip by winning at Oregon State. No. 16 Oregon, a night after being upset by Utah, beat Colorado in four.
Also in the Pac-12, No. 11 Washington swept visiting No. 25 Arizona, No. 9 Stanford took four to beat USC and No. 13 UCLA swept Cal.
It was also a big night in the Big Sky and Mountain West conferences and No. 14 Hawai’i beat UC Irvine.
All that and more, but first a look at Friday’s schedule, starting with the Big Ten, where No. 10 Penn State goes to Maryland, No. 3 Wisconsin goes to Illinois and Rutgers plays at Ohio State.
There is one Pac-12 match, as Arizona State plays at Washington State.
In the SEC, No. 6 Florida entertains South Carolina. Tennessee goes to Ole Miss, Mississippi State plays at Texas A&M and Georgia goes to LSU in a battle to stay out of last place in the league.
The ACC is chock full with seven matches, starting with No. 8 North Carolina playing host to Clemson. No. 18 Florida State goes to Boston College. Duke, a game behind UNC and trying to maintain its one game lead over FSU, goes to Virginia Tech, while Georgia Tech goes to NC State. Pittsburgh plays host to Wake Forest. Also, Miami is at Syracuse and Virginia is at Louisville.
The Big 12 is idle.
No. 22 Creighton plays host to Providence as it defends the top spot in the Big East and No. 23 Dayton tries to close out a perfect Atlantic 10 season against visiting Davidson.
Among the mid-majors in action are the Missouri Valley leaders as Missouri State plays host to Indiana State and Wichita State entertains Illinois State and Albany has a key America East matchup at New Hampshire.
Lipscomb attempts to maintain first in the Atlantic Sun against visiting Jacksonville, Radford does the same against Charleston Southern in the Big South, Horizon leader Cleveland State tries to bounce back from its first loss when it plays host to Wright State, and in the MAC the respective division leaders are in action as NIU goes to Toledo and Miami is home for Akron.
WCC: Stunning loss for USD, BYU wins
San Diego was unbeaten at home this season, but for the second time this season Portland pulled off a big WCC upset. Earlier the Pilots dealt BYU, then No. 11, its first loss. Thursday night’s 25-27, 20-25, 25-16, 25-20, 13-15 result left USD 21-4, 12-2 in the WCC, while Portland improved to 15-11, 9-6.
Portland, beating its highest-ranked opponent ever, got 12 kills from Reghan Pukis and 11 from Hannah Troutman. The last time Portland won in San Diego was 1987.
Lisa Kramer, as always, was big for USD and led with 27 kills and hit .396. Jayden Kennedy had 15 kills and hit .314. Thana Fayad had 12 kills and 14 digs.
BYU’s 25-16, 25-17, 19-25, 25-14 win over Gonzaga left the Cougars 23-3 and back into a first-place tie with USD at 12-2.
Freshman McKenna Miller led BYU with 20 kills and hit .472. Middle blocker Amy Boswell had 14 kills while Lacy Haddock 11. Mary Lake had 28 digs.
“I thought we played a great match,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “I liked our energy and thought we were pretty focused for the match. We did lose our focus for a slight moment in the third set and it cost us, so we have to learn to play better overall. I liked the way we bounced back in the fourth set.”
Pac-12: No upsets on a busy night
Before the recaps, note that three teams are tied for first in the Pac-12 at 11-4, Washington, UCLA and Stanford. Oregon is a half game back at 11-5 and Utah right behind at 10-6 as the top five teams have begun to separate from the peloton.
Utah beat Oregon on Wednesday and then won at Oregon State on Thursday to improve to 19-8, 10-6 in the Pac-12. Junior Adora Anae had 16 kills and three blocks in the 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 victory. It’s the most wins for the Utes in league play since joining the Pac-12.
Tawnee Luafalemana and Carly Trueman added seven kills each for Utah, now 10-2 on the road this season.
Oregon State is 10-16, 3-12.
Oregon is 18-7, 11-5, after beating Colorado 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16.
Lindsey Vander Weide led with 20 kills and hit .381 and had a career-high four aces. Taylor Agost added 10 kills and Ronika Stone nine. Seniors Kacey Nady and Amanda Benson were big on their senior night, with Nady getting a season-high seven blocks and Benson tying her season high with her second straight 28-dig match.
Jolie Rasmussen, the freshman outside who has had a strong season for Oregon, continued to sit out with an ankle injury.
“We didn’t do very well last night, we did better tonight. I don’t know when she’ll be back,” Oregon coach Jim Moore said. “She’s walking around great, she’s still in a boot right now, but that is mostly just precautionary. She is making us hopeful, that’s for sure.”
Colorado is 13-12, 5-10. Alexa Smith led the Buffs with 15 kills.
Washington juniors Courtney Schwan and Tia Scambray combined for 27 kills and a .338 attack percentage the Huskies improved to 21-4, 11-4 with their 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 victory.
Arizona, 16-11, 8-7, got 11 kills from Kalei Mau.
Stanford is 17-6, 11-4, after holding off visiting USC 25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, which dropped the Women of Troy to 16-10, 8-7.
Senior Inky Ajanaku and freshman Kathryn Plummer had 13 kills each. Ajanaku hit .500 and had a match-high eight blocks, while Plummer had six digs, three blocks and two assists. Freshman middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris added 12 kills, hit .360, and had five blocks and three digs. Junior Ivana Vanjak added 10 kills and three blocks.
USC freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier had 8 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Alyse Ford added 14 kills and eight digs, while middle blocker Elise Ruddins had 10 kills while hitting .353 with three blocks.
UCLA blasted visiting Cal 25-15, 25-20, 25-6, and, no, that last set score is not a typo.
UCLA improved to 20-5, 11-4 as it got 12 blocks, including a career-high eight from senior Claire Felix, while senior Taylor Formico added 21 digs.
Freshman Torrey Van Winden led with nine kills, hit .389, and had nine digs and three blocks. Junior Reily Buechler had eight kills, eight digs and three blocks, sophomore Kyra Rogers had five kills and three blocks and senior Jordan Anderson added four kills and four digs. UCLA hit .275.
Cal is 9-16, 3-12. Junior Christine Alftin had 10 kills and seven digs for the Bears.
Streaking teams: WKU, TAMUCC, Hawai’i roll on
No. 20 Western Kentucky won its 18th in a row as Alyssa Cavanaugh had 12 of her 18 kills in the first set and the Lady Toppers beat visiting North Texas 29-27, 25-18, 25-22. WKU is 27-2, 14-0 in Conference USA. Sydney Engle added 12 kills.
“It has been a struggle, it’s been a fight every night,” said WKU coach Travis Hudson, whose team won its 45th consecutive match at home. “We may have had more talented teams in the past but we will never have a group that fights as hard as this.
“To win a conference tournament you have to be good for three days, but to win a regular season conference title you have to be good for two months.”
Texas A&M Corpus Christi won its ninth in a row and improved to 20-7, 15-0 Southland Conference, with a 25-16, 20-25, 25-12, 25-23 victory over visiting Lamar.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how we handled adversity and difficult situations in this match,” TAMUCC coach Steve Greene said. “The way the team responded between sets two and three and came out with a renewed vigor really shows their competitive drive.”
Junior Brittany Gilpin led the Islanders with a career-high 20 kills and hit .419.
Hawai’i cruised at UC Irvine 25-14, 25-13, 25-18 to improve to 19-5, 12-1 Big West as Annie Mitchem tied her career-high with a match-high 13 kills and Emily Maglio tied her career-high with a match-high nine blocks.
The victory left veteran coach Dave Shoji’s career record 1,198-203-1, just two wins shy of becoming only the second coach in NCAA DI history to record 1,200 career wins.
After Thursday’s action, Boise State and Colorado State lead the league at 12-2. UNLV is chasing at 11-4.
Boise State won for the 10th time in a row by sweeping Fresno 25-15, 25-21, 25-15 to improve to 21-6, 12-2 and get their 10th league sweep of the season.
“I feel like as things started rolling and we were winning in three, we got healthy.” Boise State coach Shawn Garus said. “We didn’t have these long, grueling, two-hour matches. We were efficient, we got in and out, and we rested and got ready for the next day. What that’s led to is all 14 players playing at a very high level in practice which has gotten us ready for the next match.”
Maddie O’Donnell led with 12 kills and five blocks.
Colorado State, which has traditionally won the MWC, won at San Diego State in five 22-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 15-9. The Rams, 18-7, 12-2, got 12 kills apiece from Alexandra Poletto and Sandra Cizmic and 11 from Jasmine Hanna.
VolleyballMag.com’s Ed Chan caught up with both Poletto and coach Tom Hilbert after the match.
UNLV kept pace with its 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 win over visiting Utah State to improve to 22-5, 11-4, as Bree Hammel had 11 kills, seven digs, three blocks and three aces to give her 37 for the season.
Wyoming took a big hit and fell to 17-10, 10-4, by losing at Nevada.
Big Sky: UND, UNC in a battle
Things are tight at the top of the two divisions.
North Dakota clinched a share of the regular-season title and maintained its one-game lead in the North with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-22 win at Northern Arizona that left UND 22-9, 13-2 Big Sky, and NAU 21-7, 11-4.
Northern Colorado won at Southern Utah 25-15, 25-21, 25-18 to set up a winner take all match on Saturday against North Dakota for the regular-season title. UNC is 18-9, 12-3.
In the South, Sacramento State pulled ahead of NAU by a game by beating Idaho State 25-23, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21 for its seventh consecutive win. The Hornets are 18-11, 12-3.
New Mexico State clinches WAC
The Aggies had to go five at Chicago State but their 25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9 victory gave them their second straight Western Athletic Conference title and third in four years and secured the No. 1 seed when they play host to the league tournament.
“We didn’t play well until partway through the fourth set,” said NMSU coach Mike Jordan, whose team improved to 22-6, 12-1. “We struggle … but when we play well we’re fun to watch.”
Jordan Abalos finished with 16 kills and 11 digs and Tatyana Battle had 19 kills and 13 digs.
SMU swept UCF to improve to 20-7 overall, 13-2 in the American Athletic Conference … Ohio beat Kent in four to get to 15-12, 11-4 in the Mid-American Conference … North Dakota State beat South Dakota State in four to improve to 13-16, 11-4 in the Summit …
And Dajana Boskovic had 18 kills and Antonela Jularic 17 as UTSA won in four at Charlotte to improve to 19-6, 10-3 in Conference USA.