NCAA: WSU beats Arizona, tough loss for Mizzou, other ranked teams win

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Tia Scambray of Washington get the dig against Arizona State/Stephen Burns photo

The new AVCA Division I Poll comes out later Monday.

Good luck with that.

What a week it was.

In that poll, you can be sure that the top four spots, belonging to Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas, will stay the same. After that it’s anyone’s guess. And also Monday afternoon the NCAA will release the latest RPI and you can bet there are a lot of nervous coaches out there as we get inside two weeks left to the NCAA regular season.

There were two upsets among the ranked teams in action Sunday, as No. 25 Arizona lost in the Pac-12 at Washington State and No. 21 Missouri took a tough loss at South Carolina. Neither team is ranked, but in the ACC Virginia winning in five at Notre Dame was quite a surprise. Also in that league, Duke keeps rolling and won at Pittsburgh.

But No. 2 Minnesota, No. 6 Florida, No. 11 Washington, No. 18 Florida State, No. 23 Dayton — which wrapped up a perfect Atlantic 10 season — and No. 24 Kentucky all won.

Sunday was not without its surprises, especially in the mid-majors, from St. John’s winning in five at Marquette in the Big East to Elon dealing visiting Northeastern a five-set loss in the Colonial to high-flying Sacred Heart having to go five to beat Central Connecticut in the Northeast.

Even as Denver clinched the Summit League title it had to go five to do so at North Dakota State. Cincinnati got an important win in the America Athletic at Connecticut, and New Hampshire bolstered its America East tournament No. 1 seed by beating Binghamton.

There are five matches on the NCAA Monday schedule and four more Tuesday, all in the SWAC.

Wednesday’s schedule is light, too, but the 18 matches on tap include Kansas at West Virginia, Texas playing host to Texas Tech, Penn State at Nebraska, Oregon State at UCLA and NC State at North Carolina.

Maryland celebrates beating Rutgers
Maryland celebrates beating Rutgers

Big Ten: Gophers sweep Northwestern, Maryland beat Rutgers

Northwestern on Friday nearly knocked off No. 3 Wisconsin. That high didn’t last long as Minnesota came to Evanston and put away the Wildcats in an hour, 16 minutes, 25-14, 25-13, 25-10. The Gophers are 21-4, 13-3 in the Big Ten after their sixth consecutive sweep.

Minnesota hit .475 to Northwestern’s .097 and outblocked the Wildcats 10-1. Sarah Wilhite led with 12 kills, hit .370 and had 10 digs.

Northwestern is 8-20, 1-15. Symone Abbott led with nine kills.

Maryland's Liz Twilley attacks against Rutgers
Maryland’s Liz Twilley attacks against Rutgers

Maryland topped visiting Rutgers 25-16, 27-25, 25-21 to improve to 11-17, 3-13. Rutgers, still looking for that second Big Ten set victory of the season, dropped to 4-25, 0-16.

Sophomore outside hitter Liz Twilley led Maryland with 12 kills and hit .333. Gia Milana had 11 kills.

ACC: Florida State, Duke win to keep pace

The Seminoles got 21 kills from Katie Horton and 18 from Milica Kubura, both career highs, in their 25-23, 25-9, 24-26, 25-20 win at Syracuse. FSU is 20-5, 13-3 in the ACC, while the Orange fell to 7-19, 6-10.

Christina Ambrose had 12 kills, hit .300 and had three digs and a block.

Duke stayed two games behind idle but league-leading North Carolina and a half game up on FSU by sweeping Pittsburgh on its home floor 25-22, 28-26, 25-23.

The records don’t tell the story, however. Duke is 20-6, 13-2, while Pitt fell to 20-8, 11-5. Duke last week had an RPI of 75, while Pitt was 27.

Leah Meyer led Duke with 14 kills, while Jordan Tucker had 13. The two middles combined to hit .578 and get 11 blocks.

“Pitt is a really well balanced team and hard to defend,” Duke coach Jolene Nagel said. “We helped ourselves by controlling the ball and moving the offense around. Getting our middles involved is a big part of that.”

Notre Dame took a huge blow from visiting Virginia as the Cavaliers, down 0-2, came away with a 13-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-13 victory. It left Notre Dame 19-9, 10-6, while Virginia improved to 7-21, 4-12.

The match was tied at 13 in the fifth when UVa senior Jasmine Burton got a kill and then Burton and freshman Kat Young combined on a block. Just as an aside, Louisiana-Lafayette also has a player named Kat Young.

Burton and senior Haley Kole led Virginia with 19 kills each and Burton had 11 digs and five blocks.

“It was a nice win on the road and it feels very good to get two wins on the weekend,” UVA coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “We were not very good at the beginning of the match and just continued to grind away. Game three gave us a lot of confidence and we rode it through game five.”

Notre Dame got 15 kills from Jenna Yeadon, while Sam Fry had 12 blocks.

Also in the ACC on Sunday, Miami went to Boston College and won in four, Virginia Tech beat visiting Wake Forest in three and NC State swept visiting Clemson to improve to 17-11, 10-6, as first-year coach Linda Hampton-Keith seems to have the Wolfpack going in the right direction. They have quietly moved into a sixth-place tie with Notre Dame and have surpassed the program’s 2015 win total and the 10th ACC victory was the most for NC State since 2013.

“A win is a win and we’ll take it and move on,” Hampton-Keith said. “Hopefully, we learned some lessons along the way that we have to start strong in each match. It was nice to see the poise and the maturity of our team to fight back after we got down in the third set.

“Although it wasn’t our prettiest match, there were some good things that came out of it.”

Pac-12: Both Washingtons win

Washington moved back into a tie with UCLA atop the league, a game ahead of Oregon and Stanford and two games up on Utah.

The Huskies made short work of visiting Arizona State 25-20, 25-21, 25-14 to improve to 22-4, 12-4 Pac-12. ASU is 9-19, 2-14.

Junior Tia Scambray had a career-high 20 kills in just the three sets and hit .567.

“What an outstanding match for her,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said. “She hasn’t stopped working all season. She hasn’t had a match like this all season but her approach to the game has not changed. She comes to work every day. So really happy for her, she deserves it, she played outstanding and has practiced outstanding all year.”

Junior Crissy Jones had nine kills and 11 digs.

Ivana Jeremic led ASU with 12 kills and hit .417.

Washington State coach Jen Greeny got her 200th career college win as the Cougars beat visiting Arizona 25-18, 27-29, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12 despite 31 kills by Arizona’s Kalei Mau.

“I’m proud of the way was came out today. The number of wins is great but it’s really for this team this year and seeing if we can finish strong,” Greeny said. “We’re focusing on trying to meet our ultimate goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament.”

Her team is 19-9, 9-7, while Arizona fell to 16-12, 8-8. The 19 wins is the most for WSU since 2002.

Kyra Holt led the Cougars with 17 kills, 12 digs and four blocks. Casey Schoenlein had a career-high 15 kills, hit .419 and had five blocks. McKenna Woodford had 13 kills, 13 digs and three blocks.

Mau also had two aces and 17 digs for the Wildcats. Kendra Dahlke had 17 kills, two aces and 14 digs. Laura Larson led the match with 25 digs while Penina Snuka had 60 assists. McKenzie Jacobson added six blocks and Devyn Cross four.

“I’m obviously disappointed that we lost in five,” Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. “But I’m proud of how we competed. We didn’t execute well at the end of the third or fifth sets, those were sets we certainly could have won.”

SEC: Gators chomp, UK wins, but Mizzou falls, A&M hanging around

Florida is alone at the top at 14-1, followed by Kentucky at 13-2 and Missouri and Texas A&M at 12-2.

Florida swept visiting Alabama 25-18, 25-16, 25-12 for its 12th win in a row, the last eight by sweeps.

It left the Gators 24-2 overall as it got 12 kills from Carli Snyder, 11 from Rhamat Alhassan and 10 from Alex Holston. The Florida defense included six blocks by Alhassan as Bama hit .000. What’s more, the nation’s kills leader, Krystal Rivers, had just seven kills in 27 swings with seven errors and hit .000 herself. Rivers is now 26 kills away from the school record.

This is straight from the South Carolina recap of the Gamecocks’ win over Missouri:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team threw a spur-sized monkey wrench into the SEC standings Sunday evening, as the Gamecocks stunned conference leader Missouri in four sets, 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, 25-23. The Tigers came into the match ranked 21st nationally, but the Gamecocks used 17 kills from Mikayla Shields and a double-double from Koko Atoa-Williams to pull off the upset. It was the program’s first win over a top-25 team since Sept. of 2006.

“In my six years, this is the biggest win we’ve had as a program,” head coach Scott Swanson said after the match. “We told the kids in the pregame talk that we were going to upset Missouri tonight, and they believed it. They came out and they worked and they fought and did everything they could. We executed really really well, and a lot of team effort… this is a signature win for us, it’s huge.”

His team won for the third time in four matches, while Mizzou saw its three-match winning streak end. Missouri is 21-5, while USC improved to 18-8, 6-8.

Melanie Crow led the Tigers with 17 kills and 13 digs, Carly Kan had 14 kills and 16 digs.

Kentucky won at Ole Miss 26-28, 25-15, 25-22, 25-15. The Wildcats are 20-6, 13-2, while Ole Miss dropped to 15-12, 4-10.

“I really liked our focus and work during rallies to keep putting pressure on Ole Miss,” Skinner said. “Our balance is a great example of how we need to play. We don’t need to rely on one aspect of the game and we were effective in everything today. It’s good to see that type of play in November as we head down the stretch.”

Freshman Leah Edmond led with 18 kills. Kaz Brown added 12 kills and six blocks, two solo. Setter Olivia Dailey had 53 assists, two digs and six blocks, one solo.

Lexi Thompson led Ole Miss with 16 kills.

Texas A&M freshman outside hitter Hollann Hans (pronounced haulin’ hands, courtesy of A&M SID Debbie Darrah) recorded a team-high 12 kills without an error to lead the Aggies to a 25-20, 25-20, 25-16 victory over visiting Georgia.

It was the seventh consecutive victory and the 12th win in the last 13 matches for the Aggies, now 18-7, 12-2. Georgia is 12-13, 1-13 and took its ninth consecutive loss and remains winless in SEC road matches.

LSU swept Mississippi State for its second home win of the season. The 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 victory gave the Tigers back-to-back home victories after losing their first 11 at home this season.

“I really think we got the monkey off of our back,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “Today we played the way we are capable of playing. We played the way we were expected to play this season and I am glad we finally got there. The way we managed the match today was the most impressive thing to me. Our confidence grew and we didn’t try to do too much. Today they looked like they understood the opportunities they had and didn’t try to do too much.”

LSU is 9-16, 4-10, while State is 12-17, 4-11. Gina Tillis had 12 kills to lead LSU for the 19th time this season.

And Arkansas swept visiting Tennessee 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, leaving the Razorbacks 6-20, 4-10, and Tennessee 15-12, 5-9.

Around the nation

No. 23 Dayton beat VCU 25-21, 28-26, 17-25, 25-14 to end the regular season 28-1, 14-0 in the A-10. Jessica Sloan and Lauren Bruns had 18 kills each …

Coastal Carolina improved to 24-4, 15-1 tied atop the Sun Belt with Arkansas State, with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-11 sweep of South Alabama. The Chanticleers, playing in the SBC for the first year, have won 13 in a row …

In the American Athletic, SMU is No. 1 at 13-2, but Cincinnati beat UConn to get to 13-3 and Temple hit .419 as a team to beat East Carolina and move to 12-4 …

New Hampshire won the America East regular-season title by beating Binghamton. The Wildcats closed the regular season with eight consecutive wins to improve to 19-10, 10-2. Demi Muses led with 15 kills …

Northeastern lost at Elon and Charleston lost at UNCW, leaving the Colonial Athletic Association standings showing James Madison the regular-season winner at 19-10, 11-5, and Towson, Hofstra, Northeastern and Charleston all tied for second at 10-6. Charleston ended up with the No. 2 seed for the league tournament and the bye that goes with it …

Denver won the Summit League with a 23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 15-9 victory over visiting North Dakota State. The Pioneers are 21-7, 13-3 and shared the regular-season title with South Dakota.“I’m extremely proud of our entire team,” Denver coach Tom Hogan said. “The players and the staff knew we would have to battle this weekend on the road against the second and third place teams in our conference.

“We fought extremely hard in both five-set matches and to walk away with a conference championship and taking the top seed on tie-breakers is something special.”

Denver (2014-16) joins IUPUI (2012-14), NDSU (2008-11), Valparaiso (2003-05) and Oral Roberts (1997-2002) as the only teams to win at least a share of the Summit League regular-season volleyball championship in three or more consecutive seasons in league history.

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