One of the greatest weeks in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history ended Sunday with dramatic finishes.
Four days after No. 1 Wisconsin and Marquette set the NCAA indoor attendance record on the same night that Louisville set a home attendance record and boffo TV ratings were sprinkled throughout, consider what happened Sunday:
— First, on ESPN2, No. 5 Stanford rallied to win the last three sets for a reverse sweep at previously unbeaten No. 2 Louisville;
— Then, on ESPN, the top-ranked Badgers fell behind at previously unbeaten No. 3 Florida and also pulled off a reverse sweep before a record Florida home crowd;
— And then on the Big Ten Network, No. 4 Nebraska battled to a four-set win over No. 21 Kentucky.
— In the CAA, two of the five teams that are already 2-0 in conference play won in reverse sweeps.
Even ESPN put highlights from Stanford-Louisville and Wisconsin-Florida on SportsCenter.
A big week, indeed. And now, after the CAA and Patriot League have already gotten underway, the other conferences begin league play this week.
Wisconsin improved to 9-0 as it came back at previously unbeaten Florida 15-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-13, pulling off a reverse sweep for the first time since beating Purdue in 2018.
Wisconsin, which hit.199, got 16 kills — four in the fifth set — from Anna Smrek, who hit .343 and had five blocks and two digs. Sarah Franklin had 13 kills, three assists, a block and 10 digs. Devyn Robinson had 10 kills, hit .348, an dhad a block and two digs. Temi Thomas-Ailara had nine kills and three digs. Carter Booth had five kills, an assist and six blocks, one solo. Setters Izzy Ashburn and MJ Hammill combined for 36 assists, two aces and 30 digs. Julia Orzol had 14 digs and five assists.
“We gotta keep getting better. It’s an important win, on the road,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. ” … Defensively, they are really good. They have an army of DS’s … mentally they can really get to you. Real credit to our players. We battled and we fought. Most of the match was played in the mud.”
It was also played before an O’Connell Center volleyball record crowd of 10,323 as attendance marks continue to be broken around the country.
“To the Gator fans and volleyball fans across the Southeast that joined us today, thank you,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “This match was worth the environment it was given.”
Florida, which dropped to 8-1 and hit .180, had five players with nine or more kills. Starting setter Alexis Stucky left in the second set with an apparent right leg injury and did not return. She was replaced by graduate-student Kennedy Muff, whose previous college experience was at tiny Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Muff had no kills and four errors in seven tries, 28 assists, an ace, two blocks and seven digs. Before she left, Stucky had three kills in six errorless attempts, 17 assists, a block and five digs.
Kennedy Martin had 13 kills, four blocks and 12 digs. Nnedi Okammor had 11 kills with no errors in 16 attacks and five blocks. AC Fitzpatrick had 11 kills but nine errors. Anna Dixon had nine kills with one error, three aces, three blocks and five digs. Elli McKissock had 16 digs, six assists and ana ce, and Trinity Adams had 17 digs.
Wisconsin opens Big Ten play Friday at Northwestern, while Florida starts in the SEC on Thursday at Auburn …
Stanford is 7-2 after its 22-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20, 15-12 victory at Louisville (9-1). Caitie Baird, who had six of her match-high 23 kills in the fifth set, led Stanford in a battle of the Cardinal (Stanford) vs. the Cardinals (Louisville).
Baird had a block and seven digs. Kendall Kipp had 18 kills — five each in the third and fourth sets — four blocks and eight digs. Elia Rubin had 16 kills with three errors in 27 attacks to hit .481, four assists, an ace, a block and 14 digs. Sami Francis had eight kills with two errors in 14 attacks, two digs and six blocks, one solo. Setter Kami Miner had four kills with one error in eight attempts, 58 assists, three blocks and nine digs. Elena Oglivie had 23 digs, five assists and an ace.
Stanford hit .329, getting stronger as the match went on. But the Cardinal had two aces against 16 serving errors. Louisville had three aces and 13 errors.
Louisville and Anna DeBeer were simply spectacular in the first two sets. DeBeer had nine of her kills in the first two sets as the Cardinals had 37 kills and nine errors in 75 attacks. Louisville finished 59-20-166, hitting .235. DeBeer led with 17 kills but hit .176 and had two blocks and eight digs. Charitie Luper had 12 kills, two aces and 15 digs. Phekran Kong had 10 kills with two errors in 17 attacks, a solo block and a dig. Cara Cresse had 10 kills, hit .304, and had four blocks and a dig. Aiko Jones had 10 kills a solo block and five digs. Elena Scott had 19 digs and five assists. Elle Glock had 50 assistss, two blocks and six digs.
Stanford opens Pac-12 play at Cal on Tuesday, while Louisville begins ACC play at home Friday against Syracuse …
Nebraska (9-0) finished the pre-conference season unbeaten for the first time since 2016 with its 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21 victory over visiting Kentucky (2-6).
In the fourth set there was a remarkable rally that lasted more than a minute. Nebraska won the point and it’s worth your while to watch it here in the highlights.
Merritt Beason had 17 kills and hit .438 for the Huskers and added an assist, an ace, a block and 10 digs. Harper Murray also had 17 kills, hit .308, and had three assists, three blocks and 10 digs. Andi Jackson had 10 kills with two errors in 16 attacks, a dig and three blocks, one solo. Bekka Allick had four kills with one error in 10 attacks and six blocks. Reilly Bergen had 46 assists, 12 digs and three blocks. Her team hit .338. Lexi Rodriguez had 18 digs, six assists and an ace.
Kentucky, which has lost five times to ranked teams, hit .243. Reagan Rutherford had 19 kills with three errors in 43 attacks, eight digs and two blocks. Elise Goetzinger had 14 kills, hit .333 and had four blocks.
Nebraska begins Big Ten play Friday at home against Ohio State. Kentucky plays host to LSU to open SEC action …
No. 7 Oregon (10-1) swept 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 at Marquette (4-7). Mimi Colyer led with 18 kills while hitting .333. She had an ace, two blocks and 15 digs, Gabby Gonzales and Morgan Lewis, who had no errors in 15 attacks, had 10 kills each. Aubrey Hamilton had 12 kills for Marquette.
Oregon is home Friday against Oregon State to begin the last season of the Pac-12. All seven of Marquette’s losses were to ranked teams. The Golden Eagles open Big East play at home Friday against Villianova …
No. 8 Pittsburgh (8-2) swept visiting High Point (6-6) as nine players had kills in the 25-20, 25-28, 25-12 victory. Torrey Stafford had eight kills, four aces, three blocks and four digs, and Olivia Babcock had eifght kills, two aces, five blocks and four digs. Pitt plays another non-conference match Wednesday when it entertains UMBC …
No. 10 Georgia Tech (9-1) beat visiting San Diego (4-6) 28-26, 25-21, 25-15. Larissa Mendes led with 12 kills. Three USD players had seven kills as the Toreros hit .114. Georgia Tech goes to Clemson on Wednesday for its ACC opener, while San Diego begins WCC play at home Saturday against Saint Mary’s.
Around the nation
Five teams, Hofstra, Towson, Northeastern, William & Mary and UNCW are all off 2-0 CAA starts after a Sunday in which Northeastern and W&M won in reverse sweeps.
Hofstra improved to 12-1, 2-0 with a four-set win over Elon (4-7, 0-2). Clara Bel had 16 kills with two errors in 30 attacks to hit .467 and had two assists, three aces, seven blocks and two digs … Towson is 9-2, 2-0 after beating Hampton (0-4, 0-2) in four …Northeastern (6-4, 2-0) beat Stony Brook (4-8, 0-2) 18-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 15-10 despite 24 kills from the Seawolves’ Leoni Kunz, who had five digs and four blocks … Taylor Burrell had 23 kills, an assist, a block and nine digs as William & Mary (7-5, 2-0) beat Charleston (3-10, 0-2) by the narrowest of margins 18-25, 17-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-13 … UNCW got 15 kills from Katie Lanz and swept N.C. A&T (2-8, 0-2) … The Fighting Camels of Campbell (4-8, 1-1) beat Delaware (8-2, 1-1) in four as Chloe Cook had 16 kills, two aces, 11 digs and a block …
In the only Patriot League match of the day, Colgate (8-4, 2-0) beat Lehigh (9-4, 1-1) in four. Libby Overmyer had 14 kills, hit .346 and had four aces and four digs. Rachael Martinez had 19 digs, six assists and an ace …
Michigan State got to 8-3 with a four-set win over Binghamton as Amani McArthur had 14 kills, hit .571 and had four blocks, two solo … Colorado beat Denver in four as Lexi Hadrych had 22 kills with three errors in 31 swings to hit .613. She had a dig and three blocks, tweo solo …
Boston College swept 0-14 Stonehill to improve to 10-3 … Notre Dame is 6-2 after sweeping Toledo. Sydney Palazzolo had 16 kills, an assist, an ace, eight digs and two blocks … North Carolina swept Coastal Carolina behind 15 kills by Mabrey Shaffmaster. She had one error in 32 attacks, two assists, an ace, four digs and a block …
Quinnipiac swept Canisius … Kamani Conteh had 21 kills and hit .410 for UMBC in a four-set win over Seton Hall … Iona swept 0-13 Saint Peters as Mackenzie Wiggins had 14 kills, hit .480, and added an assist, an ace, seven digs and a block …
Fordham is 9-1 after sweeping Fairleigh Dickinson. Whtley Moody had 16 kills, a block and 18 digs … Brown is 9-1 after sweeping Connecticut …
Georgia beat Howard in four behind 19 kills by Sophie Fisher, wh hit .548 and had two aces, two digs and six blocks … SMU swept LSU as Jamison Wheeler had 16 kills with one error in 29 attacks … Bowling Green beat Michigan in five despite hitting .163 and having nine fewer kills … Texas Tech got 14 kills each from Caitlin Duga and Emily Merrick in a four-set win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The week ahead
There is only one match on Monday’s schedule, when Southern Indiana goes to Eastern Illinois to open the Ohio Valley Conference season.
Tuesday shows 17 matches and still quite a few them non-conference, including No. 18 Baylor home for the WAC’s Stephen F. Austin and Florida State playing host to North Florida.
The Pac-12 gets underway with Stanford at Cal in a match between the two teams that will join the ACC next year.
The Horizon League gets going with five matches, including defending-champion Wright State at Robert Morris. Cleveland State (6-5), IUPUI (6-5) and Milwaukee (7-6) are the only ones in the 10-team league to get through the non-conference season with winning records.
Wednesday, Big Ten play begins with Rutgers at Penn State and Illinois at Indiana. In the Pac-12, USC plays UCLA in their last season before heading to the B1G, and in the Big 12 Houston plays BYU. Georgia Tech opens ACC action at Clemson and Tennessee plays its first SEC match against Missouri.