Friday produced a breakthrough win for Purdue, a milestone victory for FSU’s Chris Poole in the ACC, and expected results for just about all conference leaders.
In the Big Ten, the big news was Purdue’s upset of Minnesota, which coach Dave Shondell might say he saw coming.
“When last season was over and I looked at what we had coming back and I knew we had some recruits coming in that could help us in some small ways, I felt like this was a top-10 team,” Shondell said.
On Friday night, the No. 21 Boilermakers played like one, defeating No. 5 Minnesota in four sets.
In the SEC, Florida moved slightly ahead of Kentucky, and Utah won at UCLA in the Pac-12. In the ACC, Chris Poole of Florida State joined a select club with his 800th Division I victory. He is No. 6 on the active coaching win list with a four-set victory over Syracuse.
The recaps follow, but first a look at Saturday’s schedule.
There are two matches in the Big 12 where both teams are ranked. No. 3 Texas goes to No. 24 Iowa State, while No. 11 Kansas plays host to No. 23 Baylor. Also, TCU goes to Kansas State and Texas Tech is at West Virginia.
There’s a full slate in the Big Ten, where top-ranked Penn State plays host to Maryland. Minnesota is at Indiana, Wisconsin goes to Purdue, Michigan State is home for Northwestern, Illinois goes to Michigan and Ohio State is at Iowa.
In the Pac-12, No. 2 Stanford, coming off its first loss in league play, goes to Washington State, No. 17 USC plays host to No. 25 Colorado and Oregon State goes to Arizona State.
Normally, neither the ACC nor SEC play on football Saturdays. But in the ACC on Saturday, league-leader NC State plays host to Georgia Tech, while Clemson goes to North Carolina.
The two ranked teams in the West Conference are on the court Saturday as No. 9 BYU goes to Portland and No. 12 San Diego plays at Gonzaga.
No. 14 Creighton has a Big East match at Xavier.
No. 19 Colorado State plays at San Jose State in the Mountain West.
No. 22 Cal Poly plays host to UC Irvine in the Big West.
In the Atlantic 10, league-leader VCU — which has won 24 matches in a row, longest streak in the country — has Davidson at home, while Dayton, a game back, goes to George Mason.
The ASUN’s Kennesaw State tries to protect its half-game lead against FGCU, while Jacksonville, a game back in the loss column, plays USC Upstate.
Conference USA leader Western Kentucky is off, but second-place North Texas — a half-game back after upsetting the Hilltoppers — plays host to Middle Tennessee.
In the MAC, the East leaders, tied for the top, are on the court as Miami plays at Akron and Bowling Green goes to Buffalo.
The leaders in the Missouri Valley play when Northern Iowa — two games back in the loss column — gets a rematch against Missouri State.
In the Ohio Valley, Austin Peay tries to keep its one-game lead over SIUE when it plays at Morehead State. SIUE goes to Tennessee-Martin.
Furman has a one-game lead over ETSU in the loss column atop the Southern Conference. Furman plays Mercer, while ETSU has Wofford.
Stephen F. Austin, a game up in the loss column, plays a Southland Conference match against Lamar, while second-place Central Arkansas faces Nicholls State.
Boilers’ big win, and Spartans hold serve: No. 21 Purdue treated its sellout crowd to an upset, taking down No. 5 Minnesota in four sets in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers (19-7, 9-6) snapped an 11-game winning streak by the Golden Gophers (23-4, 12-3).
Ashley Evans set the table for Purdue to hit .317, finding four hitters for at least 10 kills. She added eight kills herself to go along with 58 assists. Sherridan Atkinson had 17 kills and hit .293, and Danielle Cuttino had 15 kills and six blocks, hitting .324.
“Tonight we got [a win] that I think will send a message that we’re for real,” Shondell said.
Purdue is still looking up in the conference standings at teams such as No. 8 Michigan State, which improved to 18-6, 11-4 with a sweep of Illinois (18-8, 9-6), which was just outside the AVCA top 25. The Spartans hit .305 behind Autumn Bailey (17 kills, .433). Coach Cathy George recorded her 250th victory at Michigan State, 25-18, 26-24, 25-19.
“I thought that Illinois was going to be a really formidable opponent for us, and that is exactly what we got. They kept pushing us and fought back every time we took a lead. I thought that when we slipped a bit, our team was able to regroup and stop Illinois from getting too much momentum or allowing the game to get away from us.”
Beth Prince had 13 kills for the Illini.
No. 10 Wisconsin (17-7, 8-7) had little trouble in its Purdue tuneup match, winning 25-21, 25-20, 25-15 at Indiana (12-15, 1-14). Sydney Hilley had 34 assists, six kills without an error, and two aces to lead the Badgers. Dana Rettke had 14 kills and hit .571 for Wisconsin.
As a team, Wisconsin hit .447, and Lauryn Gillis recorded her 1,000th career kill.
Northwestern (14-13, 4-11) hit .400 in the fifth set to prevail over Michigan (16-11, 6-9) 13-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-13 in Ann Arbor. Symone Abbott, Nia Robinson, Gabrielle Hazen and Alana Walker each recorded double-digit kills for the Wildcats, who got 54 assists from Taylor Tashima. Michigan hit .625 in the first set but couldn’t keep pace, hitting .161 and then .118 in the next two sets. Carly Skjodt led the Wolverines with 20 kills.
Utah gets separation from middle of the Pac: Utah went in to Wooden Center and came away with a 3-1 victory, 25-22, 24-26, 30-28, 25-19. The Utes (19-8, 10-6), despite hitting .162, moved into fourth in the league standings and dropped the No. 18 Bruins (16-9, 9-7) into seventh.
Adora Anae had a season-high 29 kills for No. 15 Utah. Anae also had a team-high 19 digs to go along with three aces.
The third set was critical for Utah, which led 24-22 but failed to close out on two set points. At 29-28, Lauga Gauta’s kill gave the Utes a 2-1 lead in the match. In the fourth set, UCLA hit just .095, compared with Utah’s .200 clip. The Utes closed the set by scoring eight of the final nine points.
Also in the Pac-12, Washington State moved a half-game ahead of California with a 3-0 victory over the Bears in Pullman. The Cougars (15-12, 4-11) hit .351, their best this season in Pac-12 play, led by Taylor Mims (13 kills). Antzela Dempi led Cal (4-12, 13-14) with 13 kills.
Florida moves into first: No. 4 Florida lost the opening set against Arkansas but then ended any hopes of an upset quickly. The Gators improved to 21-1, 13-1 in the SEC with a 23-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-7 victory. Florida registered 18 blocks in winning its seventh consecutive match. Rachael Kramer (16 kills) had eight of those blocks, and the Gators also had a season-high 80 digs.
Pilar Victoria led the Razorbacks (17-9, 7-7) with 18 kills while hitting .101.
The victory puts Florida half a game ahead of No. 7 Kentucky (21-3, 12-1) in the SEC standings.
LSU (18-7, 9-5) defeated Mississippi State (9-20, 0-14) 25-20, 25-8, 25-21 for the Tigers’ first win in Starkville since 2012. Freshman Taylor Bannister hit .412 and had 10 kills for LSU, which leads the series with the Bulldogs 58-9.
“I was proud of our fight and really proud of our preparation,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “Starkville is never an easy place to play, but this is one of the best execution levels we have had in this building in a long time.”
Georgia (18-9, 8-6) swept Ole Miss (15-12, 6-8). The Bulldogs hit .327, led by T’ara Ceasar (19 kills, .375) and Meghan Donovan’s 43 assists.
Pittsburgh, Louisville keep pace in ACC: Pittsburgh (20-6, 13-2) maintained a share of first place in the conference with a closer than-it-looked sweep of visiting Wake Forest (12-16, 4-12). Nika Markovic had 17 kills and hit .438 for the Panthers, who won 28-26, 25-22, 25-22. Pitt, 11-1 at home this season, rallied from a 20-14 deficit in the first set and 19-16 in the third.
Louisville (20-6, 13-2) had no such trouble, dispatching Virginia (7-19, 3-12) 25-9, 25-13, 25-19. Tess Clark hit .652 with 15 kills for the Cardinals.
Florida State coach Chris Poole won his 800th Division I match as the Seminoles (13-10, 7-8) defeated Syracuse (17-11, 9-6) 25-17, 25-19, 28-30, 26-24 in Tallahassee. Poole is No. 6 on the active Division I victory list. Natasha Calkins had 17 kills and Milica Kubura added 16 for FSU.
“I’ve been blessed to be put in situations where I can be successful, but the players that I’ve had have been fantastic,” Poole said. “They just keep battling, and they’re the reason I’m successful.”
The coaches Poole trails: Navy’s Larry Bock, Penn State’s Russ Rose, Southern Cal’s Mick Haley, Florida’s Mary Wise, and Texas State’s Karen Chisum.
Also in the ACC, Notre Dame (18-8, 8-7) topped Virginia Tech (9-17, 3-12) 25-16, 25-18, 25-15.
Wichita State, Cal Poly win: Wichita State stayed unbeaten in the American, sweeping East Carolina (18-10, 9-6) 25-13, 25-16, 25-14 behind 40 assists, 8 digs and 7 kills from Emily Hiebert. The 20th-ranked Shockers (23-3, 15-0) hit a cool .400 against the Pirates, led by Abbie Lehman (12 kills, .524) and Mikaela Raudsepp (10, .421). Wichita State has not lost since Sept. 17 against No. 24 Iowa State.
In the Big West, No. 22 Cal Poly (23-2, 13-0) had no trouble remaining perfect in conference play, defeating UC Davis (15-12, 7-7) 25-16, 25-16, 25-16. Taylor Nelson had 28 assists for the Mustangs.
Around the nation: In the Atlantic Sun, Kennesaw State (18-4, 12-1) stayed ahead of Jacksonville (17-9, 11-2), beating 3-22 Stetson in three. Kennesaw State hit .196. Jacksonville topped NJIT in four sets, Florida Gulf Coast (20-8, 10-3) swept Lipscomb, and North Florida (12-18, 4-9) beat USC-Upstate (8-19, 4-9).
Lauren Pick had 50 assists for Rhode Island as the Rams (11-15, 6-8) topped Fordham (12-15, 4-10) in five sets in the Atlantic 10. Also in the A-10, Dayton (21-7, 12-1) hit .309 to sweep George Washington (10-19, 6-7), Duquesne (13-15, 8-6) dropped La Salle (14-16, 4-10), and Saint Louis (12-14, 9-4) swept George Mason (6-20, 3-10).
In the American, UCF (14-13, 7-8) swept Tulane (13-15, 2-13), Houston (10-13, 6-9) swept USF (10-15, 9-10), and Cincinnati (11-16, 9-6) swept Memphis (9-18, 2-13).
In the America East, Albany (11-13, 11-1) won at Stony Brook (16-11, 6-5) 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16 to maintain their grip on first in the conference. The Great Danes have won 10 in a row since dropping their second league match to New Hampshire. Akuabata Okenwa had 15 kills and two aces for Albany.
Also in the America East, UMBC (14-11, 6-5) swept UMass-Lowell (5-20, 0-11).
Marquette (19-8, 13-3) clinched a berth in the Big East Tournament with a 25-12, 25-9, 25-18 victory over Georgetown (7-20, 1-14). Jenna Rosenthal (13 kills, .522, four blocks) led the Golden Eagles, who hit .372. Also in the Big East, Villanova (16-10, 9-6) hit .390, including .500 in the second set, to sweep DePaul (8-20, 2-14) 25-20, 25-20, 25-16.
Cal State Northridge (11-14, 5-8) swept Cal State Fullerton (5-21, 1-12) in the Big West, and Long Beach State (8-19, 5-9) outlasted UC Riverside (9-15, 1-11) in five sets. Mina Andjelkovic had 55 assists and 9 digs for The Beach.
Cleveland State stayed a game ahead of Oakland in the Horizon League standings with a five-set win over visiting Green Bay, 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11. Alexis Middlebrooks and Sara Skeens had 18 kills each for the Vikings (20-7, 13-3), who have won 10 consecutive matches. Maddie Yoss had 69 assists and 11 digs for Green Bay (12-14, 8-7).
Also in the Horizon, Oakland (17-11, 12-4) beat Illinois-Chicago (17-11, 8-7) and Wright State topped Milwaukee.
Princeton and Yale entered Friday night tied atop the Ivy League standings, but the Tigers now hold a one-game lead after their win at Harvard and the Bulldogs’ loss at Cornell. Princeton (17-6, 10-3) beat the Crimson (12-10, 7-6) 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 behind Maggie O’Connell, who had 18 kills and hit .500. Cornell (11-11, 7-6) beat the Bulldogs (15-7, 9-4) 27-25, 25-22, 25-19. Dartmouth (over Penn), and Columbia (over Brown) also recorded sweeps in league play.
Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio remained tied atop the Mid-American Conference East standings with road victories. The Falcons (16-10, 12-3) won 3-0 at Akron, and the RedHawks (20-8, 12-3) dispatched Buffalo 3-1. Freshman Morgan Seaman came off the bench after an injury to starting setter Mackenzie Zielenski and recorded 54 assists for Miami, which also got 21 kills from Olivia Rusek.
Ball State (18-10, 10-5) is in first in the MAC West, two games ahead of Western Michigan, after it defeated Northern Illinois 3-1.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (25-7, 11-0) remained in first in the MEAC Northern Division with a win at Norfolk State, and Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman held serve in the Southern Division with sweeps in North Carolina, the Rattlers (12-11, 8-1) beating NC Central and the Wildcats (11-13, 8-1) topping NC A&T.
In the Ohio Valley, SIU-Edwardsville prevailed in five sets over Southeast Missouri State to remain in second behind Austin Peay. The Governors are 26-5, 13-2, and SIUE is 22-5, 12-3, but APSU swept the season series with a pair of five-set wins.
Patriot League leader American (23-7, 14-1) had no trouble at Colgate (17-10, 8-7) in a 25-16, 25-20, 25-12 win. Army West Point (18-10, 11-4) kept pace with idle Navy for second place by beating Lehigh 3-0, and Bucknell (14-13, 8-7) won in five sets at 4-24 Holy Cross.
Furman strengthened its hold on first in the Southern Conference, one game ahead of East Tennessee State. The Paladins (19-9, 13-2) topped Samford (13-17, 8-8) 25-20, 25-23, 26-24 behind 11 kills and 11 digs from Nicole Mack.
Denver moved into first in the Summit League, a half-game ahead of Oral Roberts. The Pioneers (20-5, 11-2), despite hitting .131, won 15-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20, 15-11 at South Dakota (16-10, 10-4), and ORU (14-12, 11-3) fell at Omaha (10-16, 7-6) in three sets.
In the Sun Belt West, Texas State (22-8, 13-2) broke a tie with Louisiana by sweeping the Ragin’ Cajuns (19-10, 12-3) as Volleyball Baton Rouge product Madison Daigle had 12 kills with one error in 19 swings to hit .579 to go with three blocks. Tyeranee Scott had 12 kills. Louisiana was led by Daigle’s former VBR teammate Hanna Rovira, who had the best match of her career with 14 kills while hitting .440 to go with two digs and a block.
Written by Neil Amato exclusively for VolleyballMag.com