That’s the new LSU volleyball floor inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Not too many schools have volleyball-specific floors and it’s not likely one is more purple.
LSU will break it in Friday morning when it entertains UConn, Virginia and Southern Miss, who all play each other.
That and more around the volleyball world in this Friday-morning notebook.
There are some big-time NCAA volleyball match-ups going on around the country in the second weekend of the season, but some of the action started Thursday.
In Puerto Rico, Florida State beat Texas A&M as German Melanie Kiel, the former Nebraska player, continues to make the most of her second season as a Seminole. The senior middle had 12 block assists as the No. 16 Seminoles got past No. 14 Texas A&M 18-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-8.
Florida State plays Alabama on Friday. Alabama also won in five Thursday, beating Virginia Tech 25-22, 14-25, 26-16, 25-22, 15-12. Virginia Tech plays Temple on Friday.
No. 6 Minnesota gets into action in that tournament Friday, too, playing Texas A&M.
In another big Thursday match, No. 12 North Carolina beat Duke to open the ACC season 18-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-8.
“We’re super excited to win the match and get a big road win,” UNC coach Joe Sagula said. “We hadn’t beaten Duke here in Durham in a couple of years. I thought Duke played so scrappy. They play exceptionally here. I told our team we were great at blocking, but they would cover and cover and cover and were strong in transition. But I think when push came to shove, our talent and our pin hitters did a really good job.”
Freshman middle hitter Sydnye Fields set the Carolina all-time single-match record for block assists with 15 to go with a solo.
No. 3 Texas has a busy day, beating Lipscomb in four and sweeping UT San Antonio. In the 25-19, 26-24, 22-25, 25-22 victory over Lipscomb, Ebony Nwanebu picked right up where she left off last weekend at Oregon with 25 kills. In the later 27-25, 25-23, 25-21 victory over UTSA, the visitors gave Texas all it could handle. Matches Friday include Miami-UTSA, Lipscomb-Army and Miami-Lipscomb before Texas plays Army.
No. 15 Hawai’i is host to Missouri State, Pacific and No. 8 UCLA. Thursday night, the home team swept Missouri State as Nikki Taylor returned and got her 1,000th kill. UCLA got past Missouri State after losing the first 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19.
Oregon, which opened with tough losses to Texas and Florida at home last weekend, stays in Eugene for Murray State, San Diego State and UC Davis.
Louisville has an interesting match-up of non=conference opponents when it welcomes Auburn, Stony Brook and Santa Clara,
Arizona, sent home from Hawai’i 0-3, tries to bounce back when it entertains SMU, Alabama State and Pepperdine.
No. 5 Washington, which swept Seattle on Thursday, is home for Idaho and Villanova.
No. 2 Wisconsin, which got out of Hawai’i 3-0, is home for San Diego and Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
And the big one for the weekend is the annual Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, which moves to Boulder, Colo., this year, where Saturday and Sunday No. 9 Stanford and Colorado both play No. 17 Illinois and No. 13 Penn State.
No. 11 Ohio State entertains No. 10 BYU, Wyoming and LIU Brooklyn.
Louisiana flooding gets Danielle Scott-Arruda
In Baton Rouge and surrounding areas, more than 40,000 houses were flooded and more than 110,000 people affected. One of them was five-time USA Olympian Danielle Scott-Arruda, whose Baton Rouge home took in as much as four feet of water. Like so many others, she had to throw away most of her possessions, tear out the floors and sheetrock, kill the mold and start rebuilding.
Most importantly, Danielle and her 6-year-old daughter, Julianne, are OK.
The Long Beach Press Telegram did this story about her this week that includes a link to a fundraiser set up by her former Olympic teammates Tayyiba Haneef-Park.
Alisha Glass honored in Michigan
The Olympic setter returned home and in this story in the Record-Eagle hints toward retirement.
“I’m not going overseas anymore, and I’m putting everything on hold,” Glass said in the article.
Kayla Banwarth column
If you haven’t read it yet, the poignant, insightful read from the USA libero about how the team bounced back in its last match to win bronze is an absolutely remarkably well-written and touching piece.
Clay Stanley retires
One of the warriors of the game, the MVP of the USA team that won gold in the 2008 Olympics, has called it a career. Stanley, 38, never could recover fully from a knee injury.
From UNC to FSU for beach
Former North Carolina indoor volleyball standout Leigh Andrew will transfer to Florida State to compete for one season while earning her master’s degree in sports management.
Andrew, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will have the opportunity to play immediately for the Seminoles since North Carolina doesn’t sponsor beach volleyball. FSU lost to USC last May in the inaugural NCAA Beach Championship.
The 24-team, double-elimination main draw begins Friday. You can keep up at AVP.com
They’re not playing Chicago, but a couple of Canadians have joined the long list of partners who have broken up.
Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley, teammates for four years and fifth-place finishers at the Rio Olympics, will play with different partners against each other in a trial to qualify for the SWATCH World Tour Finals in Toronto Sept. 13-18.
Pavan said she and Bansley had been planning for several weeks to have the Olympics be the final tournament in which they participated together.
“Obviously there are many reasons and I really don’t need to get into all of them, but a big one is that the goal is always to win tournaments and be on top of the podium and I really think we kind of maxed out on our capacity as a pair,” Pavan told the FIVB on Thursday. “And in four seasons we were never able to be on top of the podium.
“I think for both of us a switch is the right thing and it will give us an opportunity to try to win on our own with different partners. People might not be able to understand but as an athlete you want to be the best. Maybe we will have a better chance of reaching that goal with different partners. Going through four years and never winning we needed to make a change to try to make that happen.”
Pavan, 30, will join with 23-year-old Melissa Humana-Paredes and go up against Bansley, 28, and 24-year-old Brandie Wilkerson in an afternoon elimination match on September 13. The winner joins the field of 12 teams who will play for the $100,000 top prize.