From Short People to kicking around the NCAA volleyball round of 16
December 5, 2023
November 24, 2022
Northern Iowa staged a tremendous battle with Drake and came away with a 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory that gave the Panthers the Missouri Valley Conference title and the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Sixth-ranked Stanford clinched the Pac-12 championship; No.7 Pittsburgh ralled to beat No. 13 Georgia Tech in the ACC; action got underway in the Big East, Big Sky and Mountain West tournaments; and what would the holidays be without a coaching change?
Thanksgiving Day? Why not have some volleyball?
In Fort Collins, the Mountain WestÂ Championship continues with top-seeded UNLV, which has won 17 in a row, playing fourth-seeded Utah State, and second-seeded San Jose State vs. No. 6 San Diego State. SDSU knocked out Colorado State on Wednesday and ended the career of retiring coach Tom Hilbert. MWC recaps follow.
The Summit League tournament gets underway Thursday in Omaha with fourth-seeded Denver facing South Dakota State (the winner gets top-seeded South Dakota on Friday) and third-seeded North Dakota State playing No. 6 North Dakota (with the winner getting Omaha).
Want to watch a match? We haveÂ the viewing links on theÂ VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings page.
ACC: Georgia Tech is 19-7, 12-5 in the conference and, well, if it weren’t for Louisville and Pittsburgh … The Yellow Jackets have lost twice to No. 4 Louisville — the second time in five — and now twice to No. 7 Pittsburgh, the second time in five.
Wednesday night the Panthers (26-3, 16-1) came away with a 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 19-17 against visiting Georgia Tech after fighting off two match points. The match ended on back-to-back blocks by Chiamka Nwokolo and Rachel Fairbanks of GT’s Julia Bergmann.
Valeria Vazquez Gomez had 22 kills for Pitt — five on errorless swings in the fifth set — and hit .347 to go with an assist, three aces, 14 digs and two blocks, one solo. Courtney Buzzerio had 20 kills — eight in the first set — hit .340 and had an ace, four blocks and six digs. Julianna Dalton had 10 kills, an assist, a block and eight digs. Nwokolo had nine kills, hit .389 and had six blocks, two solo. Fairbanks had five kills, 39 assists, two aces, 12 digs and five blocks.
Bergmann had 25 kills for GT to go with an assist, an ace, two blocks and 18 digs. Breland Morrisette had 20 kills with two errors in 31 attacks to hit .581 and had an assist, two aces, two digs and nine blocks, three solo. Tamara Otene had 12 kills, an assist, an ace, four blocks and 10 digs. Bianca Bertolini had 12 kills with one error in 25 attacks, three assists, two aces, a block and 24 digs. Isabella D’Amico had three kills, 61 assists, seven digs and six blocks, one solo …Â
Fourth-ranked Louisville (26-2, 17-1) won 25-22, 25-22, 25-13 at Notre Dame (9-18, 4-13) to clinch a share of the title. Amaya Tillman had 11 kills with one error in 20 attacks, a dig and eight blocks, three solo ..
Florida State (19-9, 11-16) swept 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 at Miami (19-10, 12-6). Audrey Rothman had 13 kills and hit .474 and added a block and a dig … NC State (15-13, 9-8) beat visiting Virginia (12-16, 4-13) in four behind 13 kills from Amanda Rice, who hit .550 and had four blocks and four digs … North Carolina (16-12, 8-9) beat visiting Duke (16-13, 7-11) in four as Liv Mogridge had 12 kills in 27 errorless attacks to go with five blocks. Duke’s Gracie Johnson had 24 kills, an ace, a block and eight digs.
PAC-12: Stanford (23-4, 18-1) hit .320 and wrapped up the league title with a 25-23, 26-28, 25-11, 25-14 win over Oregon State (7-22, 1-17). Caitie Baird tied her career high with 26 kills and hit .478 to go with an ace, three blocks and 12 digs in the Cardinal’s 17th consecutive victory. Kendall Kipp had 17 kills, an assist, two aces, four blocks and three digs. It’s the 20th time Stanford has won the Pac-12 and its first since winning the NCAA title in 2019 …
No. 10 Oregon (22-5, 16-3) hit .470 and swept at Cal (7-22, 0-19) for its 12th win in a row. Brooke Nuneviller had 13 kills with one error in the 25-16, 25-12, 25-17 victory to go with two blocks, three assists, three aces and five digs. Mimi Colyer had 12 kills, hit .333 and had five digs and three blocks, one solo. Kiari Robey had six kills in eight errorless swings and four blocks and Karson Bacon had five kills in 10 errorless attacks and five blocks …
No. 24 Washington (20-9, 12-7) beat visiting USC (20-10, 12-7) despite 26 kills by the Trojans’ Skylar Fields. Washington hit .306 in the 25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 25-16 victory and got 14 kills from Claire Hoffman, who had two errors in 30 attacks and added an assist, two aces, three blocks and four digs. USC’s Fields had four errors in 44 attacks and hit .455 and added five digs and two blocks, one solo …Â
Colorado (19-10, 11-8) bolstered its NCAA case as it won 25-19, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17 at Arizona (15-15, 5-14). Lexi Hadrych had 20 kills, hit .395 and had three blocks. Meegan Hart had 12 kills and hit .435 to go with an assist, two blocks and four digs. Arizona’s Sofia Maldonado Diaz had 15 kills, an assist, four aces, four blocks and 11 digs …
Arizona State (13-18, 7-12) dealt a serious blow to the fleeting NCAA chances of Utah (15-15, 8-11) by beating the visiting Utes 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17. Marta Levinska had 23 kills for ASU and hit .392 to go with four blocks and nine digs. ASU beat Utah in Tempe for the first time since 2015. Utah’s Madelyn Robinson had 25 kills of her team’s 54 kills to go with an ace, a block and six digs.
BIG TEN: No. 11 Penn State (23-7, 12-7) won 25-23, 9-25, 25-19, 25-23 at slumping Northwestern (17-14, 6-13), which has lost seven in a row. Penn State, in the hunt for a top-16 NCAA Tournament seed, fell victim to an incredible 18-point Northwestern run in the second set during which Charlotte Chronister served and got her only ace.
Kashauna Williams led Penn State with 16 kills, a dig and two blocks, one solo.Temi Thomas-Ailara had 22 kills for Northwestern to go with an assist, five blocks and 17 digs …Â
Raven Colvin set a Big Ten rally-scoring era record for blocks as No. 19 Purdue (20-9, 9-11) won at Maryland (15-16, 6-13), fighting off two set- points in the fourth in the 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 30-28 victory.
Colvin had eight kills and hit minus .032, but she had four aces, two digs and 16 blocks, five solo. Per Purdue: Not only did Colvin set a career-high, the Big Ten season-high and the Purdue four-set match record, the sophomore matched the Purdue’s 31-year-old single-match blocks record, set by Donna Gill in 1991. Moreover, the 16 blocks tie as the second-most in a single match by a Big Ten player in league history, including the most by a player during the rally scoring era. Only one other conference student-athlete has reached even 15 blocks in the 21st century, which was also a Boilermaker: Stephanie Lynch in 2007.
Eva Hudson had 17 kills, two aces, four blocks and 12 digs. Maddie Schermerhorn had 24 digs, three assists and three aces. Maryland’s Sam Csire had 18 kills, two assists, 16 digs and three blocks, one solo. Milan Gomillion had 26 digs, an assist and an ace …Â
Iowa (9-21, 3-16) got crushed in the first set, lost the second, and then dealt visiting Michigan (16-13, 7-12) a tough defeat, beating the Wolverines 9-25, 19-25, 25-18, 26-24, 15-13. It likely bounced the Michigan out of NCAA at-large consideration.Â
Amiya Jones had 16 kills for Iowa and hit .481 to go with an ace, two digs and six blocks, two solo. Nia Washington also had 16 kills to go with a block and four digs. Edina Schmidt had 11 kills, hit .348 and had four blocks, one solo. Michigan’s Jess Mruzik had 17 kills, hit .349 and had three blocks and 10 digs. May Pertofsky had 14 kills, three blocks and two digs. Hannah Grant had 24 digs, six assists and two aces …Â
Indiana (16-15, 9-10) hit .306 and won 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20 over visiting Illinois (15-14, 10-9). Candela Alonso-Cocelles led with 17 kills as she hit .452 and had four blocks and three digs. Morgan Geddes had 16 kills, hit .314 and had an ace and a dig. Kaley Rammelsberg had eight kills with one error in 15 swings and five blocks and Paula Cerame had 28 digs, six assists and an ace. Indiana has won three in a row after losing five in a row …
Michigan State (13-17, 4-15) hit .305 and beat visiting Rutgers (8-23, 2-17) in four. Rebeka Poljan had 15 kills in 25 errorless attacks to hit .600 and had an ace, a dig and six blocks, two solo. Rutgers’ Alissa Kinkela had 21 kills, hit .302 and had an ace, two blocks and six digs.
MISSOURI VALLEY: Top-seeded UNI (26-7) beat Drake (26-7) to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time. Olivia Tjernagel led the Panthers with 18 kills in the 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory. She hit .316 and had five blocks. Inga Rotto had 13 kills, hit .300 and had seven blocks, one solo. Carly Spies had 10 kills with one error in 31 attacks, an assist, four aces, a diga nd seven blocks. Sydney Peterson had 27 digs, an assist and an ace, and her sister, Baylee, had 11 igs and three aces. UNI had 15 aces.
Drake’s Mariana Rodrigues led the Bulldogs with 23 kills, two digs and three blocks, one solo. Haley Bush had 19 kills with three errors in 50 attacks to hit .320 and added two aces, two blocks and 14 digs. Jada Wills had 30 digs and an ace.
Drake’s NCAA RPI is in the high 40s, so the Bulldogs have a slim chance of getting an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.Â
BIG EAST: Friday’s semifinals are set with top-seeded Marquette playing fifth-seeded UConn and second-seeded Creighton facing third-seeded Xavier.
UConn (17-13) fought off two match points and advanced with a five-set win over fourth-seeded St. John’s (19-13) as the Huskies hit .303 in the 25-19, 22-25, 18-25, 25-17, 17-15 victory. UConn’s Caylee Parker, Allie Garland (whot hit .480) and Jasmine Davis had 14 kills each. Taylor Pannell had 10 kills, hit .421 and had six blocks. Lucrezia Lodi of St. John’s had 24 kills, hit .324 and had an ace, a block and seven digs. Giorgia Walther had 20 kills, hit .375 and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and nine digsÂ …Â
Xavier (19-10) got 23 kills from Brooklyn Cink and beat sixth-seeded Butler (16-15) in four. Cink had two assists, two aces, 14 digs and three blocks, one solo.Â
MOUNTAIN WEST: That’s a wrap for Colorado State coach Tom Hilbert.
His outstanding career came to an end when sixth-seeded San Diego State (11-19) advanced by beating the host and third-seeded Rams (19-11). The Aztecs got 17 kills from Madison Corf, who had 3 digs and a solo block in the 25-23, 19-25, 26-28, 25-20, 15-12 victory. Elly Schraeder had 14 kills with two errors in 28 attacks to hit .429 and added a dig and five blocks, one solo. Kayla Rivera had 14 kills, hit .324 and had three aces, four digs and five blocks, one solo. Heipua Tautua’a had 10 kills, an assist, two aces, 23 digs and three blocks, two solo. CSU’s Annie Sullivan had 17 kills, hit .326 and had two blocks and two digs. Kennedy Stanford had 13 kills, an ace, a block and 10 digs. CSU swept SDSU and beat the Aztecs in four previously this season …Â
Fourth-seeded Utah State (20-10) swept fifth-seeded New Mexico (17-12) for the program’s first conference tournament win since 2012. Shelby Capllonch had 18 kills in the 25-22, 25-15, 25-16 victory. She hit .424 and had three aces, a block and eight digs.
BIG SKY: Top-seeded Northern Colorado (20-8) swept eighth-seeded Idaho State (13-17) as the Bears hit .333 and got 12 kills each from Kailey Jo Ince and Makenzie Harris. Ince had two errors in 23 attacks and 14 digs and Harris had two errors in 30 swings …Â
Second-seeded Portland State (17-11) beat seventh-seeded Eastern Washington (11-18) in four as Makayla Lewis had 16 kills …Â
Sixth-seeded Montana State (14-15) had the only upset, a five-set win over third-seeded Weber State (17-11). Kira Thomsen had 16 kills, an ace, 15 digs and two blocks, one solo. Courtney Weatherby had 14 kills, an assist, an ace and 17 digs, and Jordan Radick had 14 kills and two blocks, one solo. Weber State’s Dani Richins had 23 kills and 18 digs …Â
Fourth-seeded Sacramento State (15-14) beat fifth-seeded Montana (17-12) in four with an 18-8 blocks advantage.Â
The matchups for Friday have UNC vs. Sacramento State and Portland State vs. Montana State.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC: No. 22 Houston (28-2, 19-0) won its 14th in a row and clinched a share of the title with a four-set win at South Florida. Abbie Jackson had 12 kills, two aces, seven digs and four blocks, one solo …
No. 23 Central Florida (26-1, 18-1) won its 14th in a row to stay a game back — Houston play plays at UCF on Friday — with a sweep of visiting Tulane. McKenna Melville had 23 kills, two aces, a solo block and 13 digs …
Also in the AAC, Wichita State won at SMU in five, Tulsa won in four at Memphis and East Carolina swept visiting Temple.
SEC: Two teams hoping for NCAA at-large bids both lost to teams well below them in the standings as Auburn fell in five at South Carolina and Tennessee lost in four at Alabama.Â
S. INDIANA COACH: Southern Indiana, which went 1-28 overall, including 1-17 in its first year in Division I as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, has fired coach Randi Raff. Raff lwas 51-60 in four seasons. in her previous three years at the Division II level, USI was 50-32, 32-19 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Eagles won the GLVC in 2020.