Every day some NCAA volleyball team gets our attention.
Saturday it was Iowa State, dealing a totally unexpected five-set Big 12 loss to visiting No. 5 Texas, a team that was seemingly cruising along and ready for the postseason.
The Big Ten gave us unranked Ohio State knocking off No. 11 Penn State, 18-16 in the fifth, and lowly Northwestern making No. 3 Wisconsin go five to win in Chicago.
No. 13 UCLA won at No. 9 Stanford to take over sole possession of first in the very top-heavy Pac-12.
No. 7 San Diego bounced back and Creighton clinched its league.
All that and more, like Fairfield extending the longest winning streak in the nation to 20 matches, but first a look at Sunday’s schedule.
There are two Big Ten matches as No. 2 Minnesota goes to what should be a very tired Northwestern and Rutgers goes to Maryland.
In the ACC, No. 8 North Carolina is off, but at 15-1 pretty much has the title wrapped up. Duke is 12-2, No. 18 Florida State is 12-3 and Georgia Tech is 12-4. However, Georgia Tech No. 50 in the RPI and Duke is No. 75, so they have little margin for error. Pitt is 11-4 and pretty much out of the title hunt, but still stands No. 27 in the RPI.
Sunday, Florida State is at Syracuse, while Duke goes to Pittsburgh. Notre Dame, 10-5 in the league and No. 45 in the RPI, plays host to Virginia.
Also, Miami is at Boston College, Wake Forest goes to Virginia Tech and Clemson play at NC State.
There are two Pac-12 matches, with No. 11 Washington — now a half game out of first — playing host to Arizona State and No. 25 Arizona at Washington State.
The SEC has a full slate, including No. 6 Florida entertaining Alabama, No. 21 Missouri at South Carolina and No. 24 Kentucky at Ole Miss. Also, Georgia goes to Texas A&M, Tennessee is at Arkansas and Mississippi State plays at LSU.
The Big 12 is idle Sunday.
There are 46 matches in all and to see the full list, click here.
Big 12: Iowa State’s big upset, Kansas alone in first
Iowa State won its sixth in a row and biggest of the season with its 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 15-11 victory over visiting Texas.
Since Kansas beat visiting TCU 21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-17, it left the Jayhawks alone atop the league. Kansas is 23-2, 12-1, Texas is 19-4, 11-2, while Iowa State is 16-9, 8-5 and TCU 11-12, 4-9.
Baylor, which swept West Virginia, is 20-8 and in third place at 8-4.
Back to Iowa State, where the Cyclones got a career-high 16 kills from Samara West, who hit .400. Jess Schaben added 15 and 18 digs and Morgan Kuhrt and Grace Lazard had 12 kills each.
Texas got 18 kills from junior Ebony Nwanebu, who hit .366, and senior Paulina Prieto Cerame had 17 kills. Freshman Micaya White had 13 kills, 11 digs and a career-high three service aces.
“The last week to two weeks I had a sense of team that they’re for real,” said coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, whose team had lost seven in a row Texas. “They’re playing to do something special. I like where we’re headed.”
That would be to Kansas on Saturday with another opportunity to keep moving up. Iowa State has an RPI of 41, which puts them in a must-win situation the rest of the way.
“There are some big matches coming up,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We can still get better.”
Kansas is pretty good right now. The Jayhawks have won 11 in a row and 15 in a row at home.
Senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie, who was recognized before the match as third Jayhawk to reach 500 career blocks, had a season-high 11 blocks, adding nine kills on a .348 hitting percentage. Senior libero Cassie Wait had 30 digs for her second-career 30-dig output in a four-set match.
Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon recovered from a slow start and had a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs. Rigdon had seven kills on 11 errorless swings in the fourth set.
“After the first set, defensively I thought that we took over more and more as the match went on,” Kansas coach Ray Bechard said. “You can see with 14 blocks and 72 digs; Soucie with 11 block-assists and Wait with 30 digs – those two dominated the match defensively. Offensively we got better as the match went on too – .289 is a good number in the Big 12.”
Baylor beat the Mountaineers 25-17, 25-21, 25-23. Katie Staiger led with 18 kills and hit .424 and had seven digs.
Oklahoma improved to 14-12, 5-8, by sweeping Texas Tech, 10-18, 0-13.
Pac-12: UCLA alone at the top, USC, Oregon State win
UCLA’s 25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 15-11 win at Stanford left the Bruins 21-5, 12-4 Pac-12 and dropped the home team to 17-7, 11-5.
UCLA freshman Torrey Van Winden tied a career high with 19 kills, adding eight digs, four blocks and two service aces, while junior Reily Buechler added 18 kills and nine digs as their team swept Stanford for the first time since 2011.
Stanford saw its six-match winning streak end
Freshman Kathryn Plummer had 17 kills and 10 digs. Junior Ivana Vanjak tied her career-high with 13 kills, while junior Merete Lutz had 13 kills, hit .478 and had a career-best five digs.
Freshman middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris finished with 11 kills and a match-best seven blocks. Senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku had eight kills and six blocks.
USC won at Cal 26-24, 25-12, 25-21 and is 17-10, 9-7, while the Bears dropped to 9-17, 3-13. Sophomore Alyse Ford led USC with 14 kills and hit .600. Junior Brittany Abercrombie had nine kills and four blocks. Cal’s Christine Alftin had 11 kills.
Oregon State was down 10-9 in the fifth and rallied for a 25-15, 23-25, 25-17, 18-25, 15-13 win over visiting Colorado. OSU is 11-16, 4-12, while CU is 13-13, 5-11. Mary-Kate Marshall led Oregon State with 21 kills and hit .310. She also had 14 digs.
Big Ten: Big win for OSU, Wisconsin gets a scare, Spartans win
Ohio State has not been the same since winning at Nebraska in October, but everything was right on Saturday as the Buckeyes beat Penn State for the first time since 2006. The 25-23, 15-25, 19-25, 25-22, 17-15 victory left Ohio State 17-11, 7-9, while the Nittany Lions fell to 19-8, 11-5.
The fifth set was tied 16-16 when Luisa Schrimer ended it with two kills. She finished with 15 kills. The leader was senior middle Taylor Sandbothe, who had a match-high 25 kills, hit .320, and had two blocks. Taylor Hughes and Audra Appold had 10 kills each.
Penn State got 19 kills apiece from Haleigh Washington, who hit .621, and Simone Lee. Washington also had four blocks.
No. 15 Michigan State drew a sellout crowd for its 25-23, 28-30, 25-23, 25-22 win over visiting No. 17 Michigan as junior Autumn Bailey with 19 kills and 20 digs and Alyssa Garvelink had nine kills and eight blocks. Their team improved to 23-5, 12-4, while Michigan dropped to 21-7, 10-6.
The match featured 32 tie scores and 13 lead changes overall. Michigan State had a volleyball record-attendance crowd of 6,838 fans, believed to be the largest non-basketball crowd in Jenison Field House history.
Abby Cole led Michigan with 16 kills and Claire Kieffer-Wright had 12 kills and hit .435.
No. 2 Wisconsin escaped with a 25-27, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-10 victory at Northwestern, which dropped to 8-19, 1-14 in the Big Ten, so this would have been the upset of the season.
Wisconsin, rather, improved to 22-3, 14-2, as senior outside Romana Kriskova led with 18 kills and hit .567.
She saved us, no question,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “I thought she was great tonight. But that’s one of the strengths of our team. Just about everybody played pretty well last night except but her, and tonight she put us on her shoulders and played really well. That’s one of the things a lot of our kids do. They don’t have bad matches too many times in a row. They usually respond the right way.”
Freshman Molly Haggerty had 16 kills, adding 12 digs, while junior Lauryn Gillis had 13 kills.
“I’m not sure we came out with the intensity that we needed to play a Big Ten opponent to tell you the truth,” Sheffield said. “(Northwestern) looked the fresher of the two teams and at the end of the day that was on me. I’m not sure that I had us ready to go at the level that we needed to do.
“When our backs up against the wall, this team has been pretty good in those scenarios. It was a grind. Our team kind of got into the grind and got in the fight and that was a tough win. That’s a good team over there, no matter what their record is.”
Junior Symone Abbott had a career-high 26 kills for Northwestern on a career-high 72 attempts and hit .319.
No. 1 Nebraska swept Indiana for its 16th consecutive road victory. The 25-16, 25-16, 25-11 whipping left Nebraska 24-1, 15-1, and dropped the Hoosiers to 16-13, 5-11. Mikaela Foecke led with 12 kills and hit .385.
No. 2 Minnesota swept Illinois 25-19, 25-18, 25-20 and is 20-4, 12-3, while the Illini are 14-13, 7-9. Sarah Wilhite led with 12 kills and 11 digs, while Alexis Hart had 10 kills. Michelle Strizak led the home team with 15 kills.
Purdue beat visiting Iowa 21-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-16 as junior Danielle Cuttino had 16 kills and junior Azariah Stahl had 15. Their team is 16-11, 6-10, while Iowa, which got 12 kills from Reghan Coyle, dropped to 18-10, 8-8.
ACC: UNC rallies again to best Georgia Tech
No. 8 North Carolina is living on the edge. Two weeks ago it lost in five at Pittsburgh. The Tar Heels followed that with a four-set win at Miami, a five-set win at Florida State, a sweep Friday at Clemson and then had to go five again Saturday to beat visiting Georgia Tech.
The 22-25, 18-25, 25-14, 25-15, 15-8 victory left UNC 23-3, 15-1 ACC, while Georgia Tech is 21-7, 12-4.
In between sets two and three, “I actually challenged a bunch of them, especially the seniors,” UNC coach Joe Sagula said. “I basically said, ‘The seniors need to set the tone and pick it up; you guys need to make a difference going forward,’ and they did.”
Sophomore Taylor Leath led with 17 kills, hitting .353, while Julia Scoles had 13 kills and Fricano 10. Senior Taylor Treacy had a career-high nine blocks.
Teegan Van Gunst led the Jackets with 14 kills and 15 digs and had four aces.
WCC: Sweeps for San Diego and BYU
Lisa Kramer had 12 kills to lead No. 7 San Diego to a win two days after the Toreros were upset by Portland. The 25-20, 25-18, 25-22 victory left USD 22-4, 13-2 in the WCC.
No. 12 BYU kept pace by sweeping Portland 25-10, 32-30, 25-15 as Whitney Young Howard had 14 kills and Lacy Haddock 12. Amy Boswell had 10 kills and six blocks.
“I thought our team played well as a whole, but I thought our seniors played exceptionally well,” BYU coach Heather Olmstead said. “Whitney, Amy, Hannah (Robison) and Makenna (Santiago) all brought it tonight and it was fun to go out and play for them on Senior Day.”
Hawai’i wins, Creighton clinches Big East — again
Visting No. 14 Hawai’i swept UC Davis 25-19, 25-19, 25-16 for its eighth win in a row, which includes 22 consecutive sets. Nikki Taylor had 16 kills as her team improved to 20-5, 13-1 in the Big West.
It brought coach Dave Shoji’s career record to 1,199-203-1, one win shy of becoming just the second NCAA DI to win 1,200. Only Russ Rose, 1,208-194, is ahead of Shoji.
No. 22 Creighton won its third straight outright BIG EAST Conference regular-season title with its 25-18, 25-22, 25-13 victory over Providence. Creighton is the first team to win three straight outright Big East titles since Notre Dame — now in the ACC — did so from 1999-2002.
Creighton is 22-6 and finished perfect in the league at 16-0.
Jaali Winters led the Bluejays with 12 kills and eight digs. Lauren Smith and Marysa Wilkinson had eight kills each.
Around the nation:
Lipscomb wrapped up the Atlantic Sun tournament No. 1 seed and tied for the title with Kennesaw State by sweeping North Florida. Kennesaw State, also 12-2, swept Jacksonville.
“It means a lot from the standpoint of the grind of regular season conference play,” said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal, whose Bison won the top spot by a difference in sets. “There has been a ton of pressure on these girls and the pressure is exactly what we want. If there wasn’t pressure then we weren’t doing the right things to begin with.
“It is great to see them get rewarded. We work hard. The staff does an unbelievable job of executing the game plan and getting the girls to play to the best of their abilities. It is special when you see them play at the highest level.”
SMU improved to 21-7, 14-2 in the American Athletic Conference, by beating USF 25-16, 25-23, 25-20 and leads Cincinnati by a game and Temple by two …
In the Big Sky, North Dakota swept visiting Northern Colorado to clinch the overall title outright, Northern Arizona swept visiting Southern Utah and Sacramento State swept visiting Weber State. It left UND 14-2, two games ahead of UNC in the North, while Sacramento State is 13-3 and stayed a game ahead of NAU …
There was big MAC-tion in the Mid-American, as NIU had to go five to beat Ball State to improve to 23-5, 13-1 atop the East, while Miami swept Buffalo to keep the identical record atop the East. Jenna Radtke had 19 kills and 10 blocks for NIU …
Boise State and Colorado both won to get to 13-2 in the Mountain West. Boise swept visiting San Jose State, while Colorado won in three at Nevada. Boise won its 11th in a row and Alexandra Poletto hit .818 for CSU …
Fairfield is 26-5, 18-0 in the Metro Atlantic after sweeping second-place Quinnipiac to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 20. Junior Megan Theiller had 30 kills in 60 swings and hit .317. She also had 21 digs …
The Missouri Valley saw Missouri State stay on top at 14-2 with a 3-1 win over visiting Illinois State, while Wichita State stayed a game back by sweeping Indiana State. UNI is a game behind the Shockers at 12-4 after sweeping Bradley …
Sacred Heart keeps rolling. Its sweep of Bryant left the Pioneers 20-7, 12-1, as Makayla Duke had 16 kills and hit .400. It means Sacred Heart will be the host for the Northeast Conference tournament …
American is 15-1 in the Patriot League after sweeping Loyola. It marks the 14th time in the 16 seasons that the Eagles have been in the Patriot League that they finished the season with one league loss or less …
In the SWAC, Texas Southern swept Alcorn State to get to 13-2 …
The Southern Conference title goes to East Tennessee State after the Buccaneers swept Mercer to get to 21-7, 13-3 …
Texas A&M Corpus Christi had already clinched the Southland, but won in four at Houston Baptist to improve to 21-7 and finish the regular season 16-0. The Islanders were perfect in the Southland last season, too …
South Dakota beat South Dakota State to clinch a share of first in the Summit League. The Coyotes, 24-6, 13-3, won the program’s first conference title. USD can win the regular season title outright if North Dakota State beats Denver Sunday …
New Mexico State had already won the regular-season title, but the Aggies swept UMKC to improve to 23-6, 13-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.