Key wins for Purdue, USD; big performances by Landfair, Hinton, Balyko, 600 wins for Pavlik

NCAA volleyball 3/28/2021-Sanaa Dotson-Oklahoma volleyball
Oklahoma’s Sanaa Dotson hits around the block of TCU’s McKenzie Nichols/Ty Russell photo

Purdue made it clear Friday’s win over Ohio State was no fluke as the Boilermakers repeated history Saturday.

San Diego, on the other hand, made a statement by beating Pepperdine Saturday to split the weekend and the series with its WCC opponent.

A number of teams secured berths in their conference tournaments, including the AAC’s Temple, Creighton and Providence of the Big East, the MAC’s Miami and Ohio University. A couple of conference postseasons are already underway with Jackson State and Arkansas Pine Bluff moving on in the SWAC tournament, and all top seeds prevailing in the ASUN quarterfinals.

Among the many standout individual performances were Minnesota freshman Taylor Landfair’s 14 kills, hitting .400 in a four-set win over Northwestern, a career-high 10 blocks from Illinois’ Rylee Hinton, and Inna Balyko’s 58 assists in Rutgers’ victory over Maryland, which helped her surpassed 2,500 in her career. And that’s just in the Big Ten! Wake Forest freshman Ashley Slater had a career-high 23 kills in a five-setter over Duke, Maddi Sgattoni tallied 18 kills and 17 digs for Navy, and Roxie Wiblin also topped her career-high with 21 kills and 18 digs.

On the men’s side, Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik earned his 600th career victory, and the Nittany Lions improved to 16-2 with a sweep of Sacred Heart.

The recaps follow, but first a look at Sunday’s schedule.

A busy day in the Pac-12 includes league leader and national No. 13 Washington State at No. 12 Utah. (The first match in the double header between the two teams was canceled Friday night). The five other matches in the conference will be rematches of Friday-night action, including Colorado versus Arizona State and Southern California versus Arizona, which both went the distance the first time around.

The SWAC tournament concludes with No. 1 seed Jackson State playing No. 3 seed Arkansas Pine Bluff.

The Horizon League tournament kicks off Sunday with No. 1 seed Wright State taking on No. 4 seed Purdue Fort Wayne and No. 2 seed UIC matching up against No. 3 Northern Kentucky. The winners will have almost a week’s rest before the championship on Saturday, April 3.

The ACC has three matches Sunday, including league leader No. 14 Louisville hosting NC State, North Carolina at No. 19 Pittsburgh, and Duke at Syracuse.

Wayne State continues its Big 12 road trip, taking on Kansas State in the Wildcats’ home finale.

On the final Sunday of the CAA regular season, Elon goes to Charleston, Northeastern hosts Hofstra, and William and Mary is at James Madison. The MAAC also has a full schedule, including undefeated Fairfield versus Quinnipiac. Jacksonville State (13-3) versus Morehead State (12-4) headlines the full slate in the OVC. Undefeated Navy will play just its fifth match of the season, hosting Patriot League competitor American.

There is just one WCC match on the schedule as Portland hosts Gonzaga for the second consecutive noon match.

The Big Ten and SEC are off.

The NCAA Division I-II men’s schedule for Sunday features just three matches: Grand Canyon at Pepperdine, Stanford at USC,and McKendree at Purdue Fort Wayne.

Want to watch a match? We’ve got the links in the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.

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Iowa’s Courtney Buzzerio hits line against NC State/Brian Ray photo

BIG TEN — Purdue did it again, handing Ohio State a four-set loss inside the Covelli Center in Columbus for the second night in a row. The back-to-back wins over No. 9 OSU mark the first time Purdue has secured a season sweep over a top-10 opponent since 2013. As a team, the Boilermakers collected 85 digs, the second-most in a match in the last five seasons. Libero Jena Otec led the way in that regard, finishing with 29 digs. Worth mentioning, Ohio State recorded 88 digs in the match, with Kylie Murr contributing 25 and Hannah Grunesfelder with 22. Purdue setter Hayley Bush had another stellar night with 50 assists, two kills , one block, and 11 digs. Grace Cleveland had 12 kills, an ace, nine blocks, and seven digs …

Minnesota got the win over Northwestern to complete the season sweep, but this time it took four sets, dropping the first set 19-25 and then winning the next three in fairly dominant fashion 25-15, 25-15, 25-20. Freshman Taylor Landfair led the Gophers with 14 kills, hitting .400, with four blocks and two digs. Regan Pittman tallied five kills with zero errors to hit .455, two assists, five aces, seven blocks (two solo), and three digs …

Iowa redeemed itself with a sweep of Michigan State just a day after losing to the Spartans in four. The home finale victory snapped a six-match losing streak that extended back to February 27. It’s also the Hawkeyes first 3-0 win of the season. Joslyn Boyer set a new career-high with 25 digs, while sophomore Edina Schmidt led the offense with 12 kills, adding an assist, an ace, and six digs …

Illinois celebrated senior night with a 3-1 (25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16) victory over Indiana, extending its win streak to four in a row. Sophomore middle Kennedy Collins led the team with 12 kills, hitting .526, adding five blocks and a dig. As a team, the Fighting Illini set a new season high with a team 15.5 blocks. That effort was led by Rylee Hinton, who set a new career-high with 10, two solo. Megan Cooney had 10 kills, five blocks, and four digs on her senior night …

Rutgers secured its first Big Ten series sweep with a 3-1 win versus Maryland. Kamila Cieslik set a new rally-scoring era record with seven aces and junior setter Inna Balyko passed the 2,500 career assist mark after setting a new career high with 58 assists. With 13 digs, Balyko also joined the trio of Scarlet Knights that recorded double-doubles. That group also included senior Beka Kojadinovic with 19 kills and 13 digs and Anastasiia Maksimova with 16 kills and 13 digs. Maryland out-blocked Rutgers in the match 11 to two, with Cara Lewis collecting eight stuffs for the match high.

ACC — It took five sets, but No. 25 Florida State got past North Carolina in five sets Saturday in Pittsburgh 16-25, 25-12, 25-18, 21-25, 15-9. Sophomore middle Emma Clothier set a new career best with 19 kills, adding three blocks, three digs, and three aces, and setter Olivia Dailey tallied her fifth double-double of the season with 44 assists and 15 digs. Chapel Hill native Kaya Merkler led UNC with 15 kills …

Duke/Wake Forest also went the distance with the Demon Deacons emerging victorious 21-25, 25-11, 19-25, 25-20, 13-15 to secure their first victory of the season. Freshman Ashley Slater set a new career high with 23 kills in the effort, the most in a single match for a Wake Forest player since 2017. She added 11 digs and three blocks. Libero Paige Sebesta set the match high with 24 digs …

Georgia Tech swept NC State in Louisville 25-20, 25-21, 25-22. Julia Bergmann topped the kills column for the Yellow Jackets with 12 kills, adding 10 digs and two blocks, but it was NC State’s Melissa Evans who led the match with 17 kills …

Despite having just eight players available, Miami concluded its road schedule with a 3-1 win over Virginia Tech in Boston. Three Canes athletes recorded double-digit kills: Angela Grieve (19), Elizaveta Lukianova (18), and Janet Kalaniuvalu (15).

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Oklahoma’s Sarah Maras takes on the block of TCU’s Mykayla Myers and Afedo Manyang/Ty Russell photo

BIG 12 — TCU replicated its Friday night result with a 3-1 victory at Oklahoma. MyKayla Myers and Afedo Manyang each recorded new career highs with seven and five blocks, respectively. Manyang added 10 kills, hitting .400, five blocks, and a dig. Katie Clark and Julia Adams each had 14 kills. Oklahoma’s Sanaa Dotson led the match with 26 kills, adding 12 digs in the Sooners’ spring season finale …

Iowa State scored another nonconference win over Wayne State, this one in straight sets 25-23, 25-19, 26-24. In the finale for the Cyclones, Kenzie Mantz set a new career high with 17 kills. Eleanor Holthaus (11 kills, 11 digs) and Piper Mauck (39 assists, 11 digs) each had double-doubles. Jaci Brahmer had nine kills and seven blocks, one solo for Wayne State.

AAC — Temple secured its spot in the AAC tournament with a four-set victory over Cincinnati Saturday. The Owls collected a season-high 13 team blocks, which helped hold Cincinnati to a .117 hitting percentage. Gem Grimshaw set a new career best with six blocks to go with nine kills and 11 digs, but it was Miray Bolukbasi who led the Temple offense with 17 kills. Maria Mallon led UC with 14 kills and 16 digs, but made 10 attack errors to hit just .085 …

Houston, Tulane, and UCF make up the remainder of the AAC tournament field and all three teams scored straight-set victories Saturday. Houston swept Wichita State with a match-high 14 kills from Kortlyn Henderson; Tulane downed Tulsa, and Mackenzie Martin had 19 kills and 10 digs; and Anne-Marie Watson led UCF to a victory over South Florida with nine kills and three blocks.

ASUN — All four ASUN quarterfinals were decided in straight sets Saturday with all the higher seeds moving on to the semifinals. Megan Kuper led North Division top seed Lipscomb with 13 kills in the Bisons’ victory over Bellarmine …

The South Division’s No. 1 FGSU kept Jacksonville under 10 points in two of the three sets, hitting .460 as a team. Cortney VanLiew and Erin Shomaker each had 14 kills, with Shomaker making zero errors to hit .609. Libero Dana Axner led the match with 12 digs …

Kennesaw State topped Liberty 25-21, 25-21, 25-14 with 12 kills from Dani Ballou, who had just two errors to hit .500, adding three digs. Jessie Cohen set her squad to a .329 hitting percentage to Liberty’s .089, adding a kill, an ace, and six digs …

Gabby O’Connell North Florida to its quarterfinal win over Stetson with 13 kills, four digs, and two blocks. It is UNF’s first time advancing to the semifinals of the ASUN tournament since 2012.

BIG EAST — Creighton clinched first place in the Midwest Division and earned its spot in the Big East tournament with a five-set victory over Xavier 25-17, 23-25, 22-25, 25-16, 15-12. The tight match saw Xavier lead in aces (10-7) and blocks (10-9), and just narrowly trail in digs (70-71). Two Bluejay players collected double-doubles as Jaela Zimmerman tallied 19 kills and 10 digs and Keeley Davis finished the match with 13 kills and 13 digs. Creighton libero Ellie Bolton led all players with 28 digs …

For the second night in a row, Providence beat Villanova in five sets, but Saturday’s victory came with an additional prize: a spot in the Big East tournament, the team’s first postseason appearance since 1999. The Friars’ Jennifer Leitman had 16 kills, 12 digs, an assist, an ace, and two blocks, one solo. Setter Allison Barber’s impressive stat line featured 47 assists, seven kills, two aces, and 14 digs. On the opposite side of the net, Nova’s Clare Delaplane finished the match with 17 kills, hitting .366, 14 digs, and an ace …

UConn got a senior night victory, defeating Seton Hall 25-17, 16-25, 25-18, 25-21. Junior Caylee Parker recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 19 kills and 10 digs. Allie Garland led the match with a .615 hitting percentage (nine kills, one error on 13 swings), adding two blocks and seven digs. Seton Hall’s Reagan Hopp had a team-high 14 kills with just one error to hit .464.

MAC — Miami of Ohio will live to play another day as its five-set victory over Central Michigan secured the Redhawks a berth in the MAC tournament. Miami came back from down 0-2 to win 23-25, 20-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-7. Gabby Harper led with 23 kills and just four errors on 58 swings to hit .328, adding two aces, a block, and 11 digs. Libero Abigail Huser had a match-high 25 digs …

Ohio also landed a tournament bid with its second consecutive sweep of Northern Illinois in as many days. OU hit .366 as a team, led by Tia Jimerson’s 19 kills (.783) and Vera Giacomazzi’s 35 assists. Senior middle blocker Jimerson added six blocks and an ace …

Bowling Green and Western Michigan round out the MAC tournament field and both squads celebrated wins in straight sets Saturday, with BGSU taking down Buffalo and Western Michigan defeating Kent State …

Eastern Michigan concluded its 2020-21 season with a win in five over Ball State 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 19-25, 15-13. April Houston tied her career-high with 16 kills, and senior Franki Strefling led the team with 19 kills, adding 19 digs. BSU’s Kia Holder led the match with 27 kills, adding nine digs …

Akron also ended its season with its second five-set victory over Toledo in a row. Alexis Adleta and Teagan Ochaya each had 15 kills for the Zips, with Adleta adding eight digs. Libero Taylor Sharrits led the match with 41 digs.

MVC — Illinois State took another step closer to the MVC regular season title Saturday with a sweep of Southern Illinois. The Redbirds just need another win over Southern Illinois Sunday to make it official — or Bradley could lose to UNI and give Illinois State the title regardless of the outcome of the Redbirds’ match. Sarah Kushner led Illinois State with 12 kills, adding five digs …

Speaking of Bradley, the Braves defeated UNI Saturday for the first time since 2005. The 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 19-25, 16-14 victory moved Bradley into second place in the MVC standings. Abby Johnson led the team with 18 kills, adding three blocks and dig, while Hannah Thompson recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 18 digs. UNI out-blocked Bradley 17 to eight, with Carly Spies setting the match-high with nine blocks, one solo, but Bradley won the back-court defensive battle, collecting 97 team digs, 29 from libero Sabrina Sparks …

Yet another insane defensive match saw Indiana State tally 100 digs in a five set loss to Missouri State, which recorded 99 digs of its own. Liberos Teagan Polcovich of MSU and Melina Tedrow of ISU led the way with 25 and 24 digs, respectively. Missouri State’s Brooklyn Cink set new career-highs with 26 kills and 19 digs.

MOUNTAIN WEST — Regular season champ UNLV remains undefeated and matched the program’s best start (11-0) with a sweep of Nevada. Mariena Hayden had 9 kills and eight digs. Her teammate Shelby Capllonch finished the match with seven kills and 11 digs …

Air Force celebrated an upset of league No. 2 Boise State. The match went Air Force’s way 25-22, 25-19, 18-25, 25-22 with double-digit kills from Brookelyn Messenger (12 and 16 digs), Joi Harvey (11 and five blocks, one solo), Vittoria Juarez (10, three blocks, and five digs), and Bailey Keith (10 and seven digs). Boise State’s Kayly Pau led the match with 14 kills.

SWAC — Arkansas Pine Bluff and Jackson State move on in the SWAC tournament with wins over Prairie View A&M and Southern, respectively. Arkansas Pine Bluff needed five sets to overcome its opponent 24-26, 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 15-10, with Zyonn Smith once again leading her team with 16 kills, adding an assist, an ace, a block, and 19 digs. Nyah Ellis tied the match high with 24 digs. Prairie View’s Tamaira Armstrong also had an excellent night in her team’s season finale, tallying 13 kills, two aces, two blocks, and 23 digs … Jackson State remained undefeated with a 25-27, 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 defeat of Southern. Jordan Jones led with 12 kills, while freshman of the year Alexis Williams added 10 kills and nine digs, including JSU’s last three kills of the match. Marina Bianchi Brito had 10 kills with just one error to hit .450, adding two blocks (one solo) and seven digs.

WCC — San Diego evened out the series with Pepperdine, scoring a four-set victory (23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-17) on senior night. Seniors Roxie Wiblin and Thana Fayad shone in their final home match, with Wiblin setting two new career highs with 21 kills and 18 digs and tying her career-high of 23 points. Fayad had 19 kills, hitting .471, and 10 digs. The Toreros held Pepperdine to its second-lowest hitting percentage of the season (.152). San Diego scored nine aces as a team, with Grace Frohling taking credit for five of those. Setter Isadora Terçariol topped her season high with 46 assists …

BYU swept Saint Mary’s for the second consecutive day to move into first place in the WCC. Taylen Ballard-Nixon finished with a team-high 15 kills, adding seven digs and two blocks, while freshman Erin Livingston had 11 kills and three blocks. Setter Whitney Bower scored a double-double with 38 assists and 14 digs, and middle Kennedy Eschenberg tallied 10 kills and eight blocks …

Gonzaga kicked off its double-header in Portland with a four-set victory over the Pilots. Senior middle blocker Alyssa Hughes led with 12 kills, while Sarah Penner and Chapin Gray each had 11. Penner added 17 digs.

AROUND THE NATION — Dayton needed five sets to finish off the season sweep of Saint Louis and claim the ASUN regular season title and hosting privileges for the conference tournament. Junior Jamie Peterson and freshman Lexie Almodovar each had 16 kills and a double-double, with 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Peterson added three aces and four blocks to her stat line. Setter Bridget Doherty finished the match with 47 assists, five kills, an ace, a block, and seven digs …

Navy beat Loyola in five sets for the third time this season. (Navy has played just four matches this season, three of them versus Loyola.) Captain Maddi Sgattoni led her team with 18 kills and 17 digs. The Mids can make the Patriot League tournament with a win over American Sunday …

Stephen F. Austin secured the top spot in the Southland tournament with a 3-1 victory over Houston Baptist. Sam Houston’s four-set win over Abilene Christian earned the squad the No. 2 seed and a double-bye into the semifinals. Southeastern Louisiana, Texas A&M-C.C., Houston Baptist, Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian, and UIW round out the tournament field …

Denver earned the regular-season championship in the Summit League with a second consecutive sweep of Kansas City. DU has won or shared the regular season conference title in six of the last seven years. Lauren Poulter led the Pioneers with 12 kills, adding seven digs, and setter Ellie Anderson quarterbacked the squad to a .302 hitting percentage. Kansas City hit just .106.

MEN — In Coach Pavlik’s 600th victory, Penn State hit .351 with Jack Shampine contributing a team-high eight kills. The 25-12, 25-17, 25-18 win also saw Brett Wildman collect six blocks, one solo, to go with seven kills and three digs and three Nittany Lions tallied six digs: Tim Herget, Cole Bogner, and Will Bantle … Also in the EIVA, George Mason started five freshmen and swept Saint Francis. One of those freshmen, Jack Bolz, led the team with 11 kills, adding an ace and five blocks.

Purdue Fort Wayne captured headlines in the MIVA, downing No. 10 McKendree in straight sets 25-23, 25-23, 32-30 for its first defeat of a top-10 opponent this year. The Mastodons were led by Pelegrin Vargas with 16 kills. McKendree, however, won the blocking battle 11 to four with Wyatt Dimke tallying four blocks.

Pepperdine needed five sets, but the Waves ultimately overcame the challenge of Grand Canyon 25-20, 21-25, 30-28, 21-25, 15-4. Senior Austin Wilmot led the team with a career-high 17 kills, hitting .640, adding a match-high five blocks. Freshman setter Bryce Dvorak set new personal highs of his own with 47 assists and 17 digs — his first career double-double. The two teams will play for a third time in as many days on Sunday … BYU and USC both secured sweeps Saturday, with the Cougars defeating Concordia and USC downing Stanford.

Long Beach State versus UC Irvine went five sets before the 49ers could walk away with a W 28-30, 21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-7. Despite going down 0-2, LBSU finished the match hitting .309 to UCI’s .183 and led UCI in every statistical category. Spencer Olivier had 20 kills on the night to go with an assist, an ace, three blocks, and seven digs. Simon Anderson had 12 kills in 18 swings with no errors to hit .667. He also led the match with eight blocks … UCSB and Hawai’i got wins over CSUN and UC San Diego, respectively, with both matches ending in three sets.

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NCAA volleyball 3/28/2021-Iowa volleyball-Blythe Rients
Iowa’s Bliythe Rients/Brian Ray photo
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