Say this about NCAA Division I volleyball:
Unlike their counterparts in other sports, especially football and basketball, the top teams are not afraid to play each other.
And that’s why Friday provided a remarkable set of early season results that saw:
— No. 1 Minnesota get knocked off by No. 18 Oregon;
— No. 2 Wisconsin lose at No. 15 Baylor as Yossiana Pressley put down 32 kills;
— No. 3 BYU become the likely next No. 1 after beating No. 10 USC and Syracuse, provided the Cougars get past No. 25 Marquette on Saturday, which, considering the climate, is no sure thing;
— No. 4 Stanford sweep visiting No. 5 Penn State;
— No. 8 Florida fall to Northern Arizona;
— No. 21 Utah losing at Villanova;
— and No. 24 Colorado losing at home to Georgia.
There was more, like Michigan coach Mark Rosen getting his 600th victory as his Wolverines improved to 8-0 this season — all sweeps — and Cincinnati’s Jordan Thompson getting 31 kills. Arizona is also 8-0, so is Alabama, and UTSA is 7-1, its best start ever.
And, best of all, Savannah Rennie made her return for Cal in a big way after coming back from a liver transplant and battling Non-Hodgkin Post-Transplant Lymphoma in 2017.
Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge: Oregon, Stanford win — Oregon beat previously unbeaten Minnesota 25-23, 25-23, 25-27, 25-23 to open play at Stanford.
The Ducks (5-2), who opened the season two weeks ago with losses to Texas and Nebraska, won their fifth in a row as Ronika Stone led with 19 kills, hitting .615. She had an assist, five digs and five blocks, one solo.
“I think we’re really good, I’ve thought this the whole time, but I just really wanted to see how we would compete against the best competition,” Oregon coach Matt Ulmer said. “This is why we scheduled this way. I was disappointed with our first weekend because I thought we didn’t go out and we didn’t fight and we let the big points escape us. We found ourselves with a lot of big-point opportunities tonight, everything was a deuce set, and I thought we really executed well down the stretch. Really proud of our team and just the way that we handled ourselves.”
Willow Johnson and Lauren Page had 16 kills each. Johnson had three digs, a block and an assist and Page, who hit .324, had two blocks and two digs.
Lindsey Vander Weide had 14 kills, an ace, three blocks and six digs.
“I just feel like we were very disciplined this match,” Vander Weide said. “This is definitely the best discipline we’ve ever had. We weren’t up and down a lot, and when we had to come back we knew what we had to do. Even if we were down, I felt like we were still super focused and disciplined no matter what. We never had a losing mentality the whole game.”
It was the first time Oregon took down a No. 1 team since beating Penn State in the 2012 national semifinals.
Minnesota (5-1) got 17 kills from Stephanie Samedy, who hit .412. She had 11 digs, an assist and five blocks. Alexis Hart had 12 kills, three digs and five blocks, and Morgan Taylor and Regan Pittman had 11 kills each. Taylor hit .600 and had five blocks and a dig and Pittman had five blocks and two digs.
Both Stanford and Penn State are 5-1 after the Cardinal’s 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 sweep. Kathryn Plummer led Stanford with 15 kills, hitting .382. She had two assists, six digs and three blocks, one solo. Audriana Fitzmorris had 11 kills and hit .360 to go with an assist, two digs and three blocks. Holly Campbell and Meghan McClure had seven kills each as Campbell had eight blocks and two digs and McClure had five digs and three blocks. Tami Alade added six kills without an error in 16 swings and three blocks.
Penn State, which hit .193, got 14 kills from Nia Reed, who hit .367. She had a dig and a block. Taylor Leith had 10 kills, nine digs and a solo block and Kaitlyn Hord had seven kills, hit .500, and had five blocks.
Oregon plays Penn State at 2 p.m. Pacific Saturday. Stanford and Minnesota play Sunday.
Baylor comes up big against Wisconsin: Baylor (5-2) had never beaten a team ranked so high and the 18-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 victory over the previously unbeaten Badgers will likely move the Bears into next week’s top 10.
“I’m really excited for Baylor University, our community, the girls, just to experience that,” Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre said. “We’re always about trying to make memories, and to beat a great team at home— Wisconsin’s good, we could end up seeing each other again down the road — but just the flow and consistency we were able to play over the course of the night was solid, was strong.
“There was this joyful peace at how we played composed. Even though we didn’t win the first set, I don’t know that we played significantly greater, but just sharper and cleaner.”
Pressley’s 32 kills came from all over the court. She was especially lethal hitting out of the back row. She hit .313 and had eight digs and two blocks.
“I haven’t seen too many players like her,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “We got a few blocks on her but there were so many times where she was going up and over even (Madison) Duello and Dana (Rettke). She just hit some ridiculous balls there.”
Shelly Fanning had 12 kills, hit .400, and added four digs and a block. And Aniah Philo had 11 kills, an assist, seven digs and a block.
Rettke led Wisconsin (4-1) with 19 kills while hitting .571. She had two digs and nine blocks, two solo. Duello had 13 kills, hit .565 and had three digs and five blocks. Grace Loberg had 12 kills, three assists, three aces, 11 digs and a block.
“I thought it was two even teams,” Sheffield said. “Statistically it was pretty close, but I thought they finished a little bit better. I thought their pins were playing with an incredible amount of strength and I thought that ours weren’t always doing that. Hopefully it’s a learning lesson.”
Big day for BYU, bad one for USC: The Cougars are 7-0 after beating Syracuse 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 at Marquette. It followed a big Friday-morning 30-28, 25-21, 25-14 victory over USC.
Against USC, Jones-Perry went off for 26 of her team’s 47 kills on 56 swings with just three errors, hitting .442. That was one shy of the three-set BYU rally-scoring era kills record. Jones-Perry added three digs and two blocks.
USC’s Emily Baptista, Brooke Botkin and Khalia Lanier had 13 kills apiece.
Against Syracuse (2-1), Jones-Perry added 16 more kills, hitting .351. She had an ace, five digs and four blocks. Miller had 15 kills, hit .429, and a dig and a block.
Marquette (6-1) closed the night with a five-set win over USC (5-3). The 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 31-33, 15-11 victory saw Allie Barber get 29 kills while hitting .473. She added an assist and three blocks. Hope Werch had 17 kills and hit .343 to go with 14 digs and Anna Haak had 12 kills, three aces and 10 digs.
USC’s Botkin had 17 kills, an ace, six digs and four blocks; Lanier had 17 kills, 11 digs and two blocks; and Baptista had 14 kills and hit .364. USC plays Syracuse Saturday.
No. 6 Texas beat No. 16 UK: Texas (5-1) held off visiting Kentucky 25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 as Micaya White had 18 kills, hit .421, and had 11 digs and a solo block. Logan Eggleston had 15 kills, hit .344, and added an assist, an ace, five digs and two blocks. Morgan Johnson had 12 kills, hit .550 as she made one error in 20 swings, and contributed an assist, two digs and seven blocks. And Katarina Luketic had 10 kills, hit .318, and had two digs and eight blocks.
Texas hit a season-high .400.
Kentucky (3-4) got 15 kills from Leah Edmonds, who hit .194. She had seven digs and three blocks. Alli Stumler had 13 kills, an assist, eight digs and two blocks. Kentucky hit .217.
Florida falls to NAU: The eighth-ranked Gators lost in Flagstaff, Ariz., 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-13 as Northern Arizona improved to 7-2 and Florida dropped to 4-3.
Kaylie Jorgensen had 17 kills and hit .368 for the Lumberjacks of the Big Sky Conference. She had 14 digs, two assists, an ace and a solo block. Abby Akin had 14 kills, hit .333 and added an assist, an ace, five digs and four blocks, three solo. Heaven Harris had 11 kills.
Holly Carlton led Florida with 19 kills, two blocks and three digs. Rachael Kramer had 17 kills, hit .600, and had two digs and six blocks. Thayer Hall had 17 kills, an ace, six digs and three blocks.
“This is humbling because Florida is such a great program,” NAU coach Ken Murphy said. “I was in the stands watching them play in the final four last year. Honestly, I think it’s a tribute to our team and how hard they work, how dedicated they are to committing to our style of volleyball. That is what makes me the most proud.”
Florida opened Friday with a 25-12, 25-18, 25-12 waxing of CSUN as five players had five or more kills, led by Hall and Carlton with seven each. NAU beat Southern Illinois 25-13, 25-12, 25-10 behind eight kills each by Jorgensen and Akin.
Cal Poly beats UCLA again: For the second time in as many nights, the No. 22 Mustangs beat visiting No. 9 UCLA, this time 25-21, 17-25, 25-11, 25-18.
Cal Poly (6-1) was led again led by Torrey Van Winden, who had 18 kills despite hitting .196. She had an assist, two aces, 13 digs and three blocks. Adlee Van Winden had 12 kills, an ace and 14 digs and Meredith Phillips had 10 kills and no errors in 20 attacks to hit .500 to go with two blocks.
UCLA (4-1) hit .179. Jenny Mosser led with 13 kills, 16 digs and two block. Madeleine Gates had 10 kills, six digs and three blocks.
Illini win twice in Cleveland: No. 11 Illinois is 7-0 after beating host Cleveland State (4-4) 25-13, 25-6, 25-16 behind 16 kills by Jacqueline Quade, who had no errors in 28 swings and hit .571. She added seven digs and a block. Megan Cooney had 10 kills and hit .318 to go with three blocks, and Ali Bastianelli had 10 kills in 19 errorless swings to hit .526. She had two aces, four digs and two blocks.
Earlier, the Illini rolled over Bowling Green 25-18, 25-15, 25-13 as Cooney had 14 kills and hit .462 to go with a dig and three blocks.
Washington wins, Pittsburgh still unbeaten: The No. 12 Huskies got past Dayton in five at Pittsburgh, while Pittsburgh improved to 8-0 — its best start since 2006 — by also beating Dayton after getting past Kennesaw State.
Washington beat Dayton 25-19, 27-25, 24-26, 23-25, 17-15 to improve to 4-1. Kara Bajema led with 22 kills while hitting .327. She had 10 digs. Samantha Dreschel had a career-high 20 kills to go with four aces, six digs and two blocks, and Julye Destiny had 13 kills, hit .323, and had two aces, five digs and two blocks. Avie Niece had five kills, three assists, a dig and six blocks, one solo. Her block with Ella May Powell ended the match.
“It came down to so few plays as it often does,” UW coach Keegan Cook said. “A couple really nice serves, a couple nice block moves especially by Avie Niece on match point. A couple nice swings in tough situations by Samantha Drechsel. We saw how few plays can determine the outcome of a match.”
Dayton’s Lauren Bruns had 26 kills. She had four errors in 55 attacks and hit .400 to go with an assist, an ace, five digs and two blocks, one solo. Brooke Westbeld and Kendyll Brown had 11 kills each.
Things got no easier for Dayton (5-4) in the nightcap, as the Flyers clearly ran out of gas in falling to the home team 20-25, 28-26, 25-14, 25-7.
Kayla Lund led Pitt with 18 kills while hitting .361. She had two assists, four aces, seven digs and a solo block. Nika Markovic had 13 kills, four assists, seven digs and two blocks, and Layne Van Buskirk and Stephanie Williams had 10 kills each. Van Buskirk hit .600, while Williams hit .444 and had three aces, eight digs and a block.
Dayton’s Bruns was big again, getting 16 kills to go with an assist, five blocks and two digs. Alli Papesh and Sierra Pla had nine kills each.
Earlier Friday, the Panthers had a wild one with previously unbeaten Kennesaw State, winning 23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 20-25, 15-7. Pitt’s Chinaza Ndee and Van Buskirk had remarkably similar stats. Both had 13 kills on 256 swings. Ndee hit .385, had two digs and six blocks, one solo. Van Buskirk hit .346, had a dig and eight blocks, two solo. Lund had 14 kills and 11 digs and two blocks, one solo, and Nika Markovic had 10 kills, three digs and seven blocks, one solo.
It was the only match of the day for KSU (6-1). Lauren Chastang led with 15 kills and six digs, while Maddie Jones had 14 kills, two aces, four digs and a solo block.
Washington and Pittsburgh play at 11 a.m. Eastern Saturday and then the Huskies play Kennesaw State at 4.
Creighton bounces back: The No. 14 Bluejays (5-3), coming off that tough five-set loss to Nebraska on Thursday, went down a set and trailed 20-14 in the second before coming away with a 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-16 victory over visiting Iowa State.
“Tonight was a really big win,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said, “I talked to the team about if we won or lost last night this was going to be a tough game. It was almost a worst-case scenario. We go five, we lose, and it’s been a tough 24 hours emotionally.”
Creighton’s workhorse, Taryn Kloth, led again with 23 kills, hitting .281 on 57 attacks. She had two assists, eight digs and two blocks. Jaali Winters had 15 kills and 26 digs. Creighton hit just .176.
Iowa State (5-2) got 16 kills from Jess Schaben, who had 17 digs and an ace. Grace Lazard had 11 kills, two assists, an ace, five digs and six blocks, one solo. Iowa State plays Wichita State on Saturday before the Shockers play Creighton on Sunday.
San Diego beats Tennessee: The 16th-ranked Toreros (2-3) beat the visiting Vols (6-2) 25-19, 25-21, 25-18. The same teams play Saturday.
Kaity Edwards led USD with 10 kills. She had one error in 12 swings and hit .750. Addie Picha had nine kills, one error in 16 attacks and hit .500. She added three digs and seven blocks.
Tennessee hit .095. Erica Treiber led with nine kills and hit .571 to go with an ace and three blocks.
Boilermakers win twice: No. 19 Purdue (7-0) beat Xavier in four and swept Lipscomb, setting up a match with Louisville on Saturday night.
In the 25-17, 26-28, 25-13, 25-16 victory over Xavier, Sherridan Atkinson had 20 kills and hit .327. Grace Cleveland had 12 kills, hit .333, and had three digs and four blocks, two solo. Caitlyn Newton had 11 kills, five digs and five blocks, two solo. Laura Grossman had 11 kills and 14 digs for Xavier.
Purdue’s 25-23, 25-18, 25-12 sweep of Lipscomb (3-4) Atkinson led with 10 kills, an assist, an ace, four digs and a block. Cleveland had eight kills. Megan Kuper had 14 kills, an assist and five digs for Lipscomb.
Earlier Friday, Louisville beat Lipscomb 25-20, 25-14, 28-30, 25-23. Melanie McHenry had 17 kills for Louisville, which then swept Xavier 25-18, 25-15, 25-14 to improve to 6-2. McHenry led again with 15 kills while hitting .440. She had two aces and four digs.
Louisville hit .321, while Xavier hit minus .014.
Big day for Michigan, Rosen: The No. 20 Wolverines are now 8-0, winning every match in a sweep. Friday, the Wolverines beat visiting Oakland, which gave coach Mark Rosen his 600th career victory, and then beat LSU to improve to 24-0 in sets.
Against LSU (2-6) Sydney Wetterstrom led with 10 kills while hitting .381. She had two digs and three blocks. Carly Skjodt had nine kills, seven digs and a solo block and Paige Jones had six kills, an ace, seven digs and a block.
LSU, which hit minus .019, got eight kills from Taylor Bannister, who had three digs and three blocks.
Michigan hit .415 as it beat Oakland (which is located in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills) 25-12, 25-16, 25-15. Jones led with 12 kills and hit .545 as she added an assist, two aces, three digs and two blocks, one solo. Skjodt added 11 kills, 10 digs, two assists, an ace and two blocks, one solo.
Colorado State beat LSU 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 as Breanna Runnels had 15 kills and hit .367. She added five digs and two blocks. Kirstie Hillyer had 10 kills and four blocks, one solo. LSU’s Taylor Bannister had 14 kills, three aces, nine digs and three blocks.
And then Colorado State (6-2) beat Oakland (3-5) 14-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-17 as Hillyer had 24 kills, hit .462 and had eight blocks. Runnels had 11 kills, an ace, seven digs and two blocks.
Michigan and Colorado State play at 7 p.m. Eastern Saturday.
“We are going to have to be much more aggressive tomorrow night and we’ll have to have a lot faster tempo in our offense,” Colorado State coach Tom Hilbert said. “We don’t have much of an offense right now, but I thought we passed the ball better tonight and if it continues into tomorrow night that would help our blocking. We are going to have to be very aggressive in our serving game and also take big competitive swings every time we get an opportunity. If we can do those things, we have a chance.”
Villanova upsets No. 21 Utah: The Wildcats came away with a 20-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-22, 15-9 victory that left Villanova 6-1 and visiting Utah 5-2.
Mallory Potts led a balanced Villanova attack with 14 kills. Sanaa Barnes had 13 while hitting .321 to go with four digs and two blocks, one solo, and Amanda Pedersen-Henry had 12 kills, hit .370, and added an ace, a dig and three blocks. Clare Delaplane had 10 kills, hitting .310. Emma Decker had five kills in six errorless swings to go with 49 assists, an ace, 10 digs and two blocks.
“It was a big win for our program,” said Villanova coach Josh Steinbach, whose team hit .343. “It was exciting to play an opponent like Utah at home. The crowd was great and gave our team a spark. Emma Decker played one of the best games of her career. She was able to spread the ball around at a high level.”
Utah’s Dani Drews had 22 kills, hit .309, and added two assists, three aces, a block and 15 digs. Lauga Gauta had 16 kills, hit .385 and had 10 digs and three blocks. Phoebe Grace had 11 kills and five blocks and Kenzie Koerber had 10 kills. Utah lost despite hitting .313.
Washington State now 6-0: The Cougars, ranked No. 23, swept McNeese State and then Illinois Stat in four.
WSU hit .395 in the 25-17, 25-17, 25-15 win over McNeese with five players with seven or more kills, including McKenna Woodford and Taylor Mims with nine each.
In the 25-19, 25-14, 21-25, 25-21 win over Illinois State (6-2), Jocelyn Urias led with 18 kills while hitting .571. She had four blocks and three digs. Mims added 13 kills, 13 digs and three blocks, two solo, and Woodford and Ella Lajos had 12 kills each. Lajos hit .588 and had eight blocks.
Georgia wins at No. 24 CU: Georgia is 7-0 after the 25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19 victory that saw T’ara Ceasar get 22 kills while hitting .362. She had six digs and a block. Rachel Ritchie had 18 kills, hit .351 and had an ace, four digs and a block.
Colorado (3-3) got 19 kills from Justine Spann. Anyse Smith had 16 kills and hit .483 and and Alexa Smith had 14 kills and 17 digs.
ACC: Duke (6-2) swept both Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina at its home tournament and has won 11 sets in a row. The big stat of the day in Durham was Cincinnati’s Jordan Thompson getting 31 kills in a five-set win over ETSU later in the day … Florida State (2-4) got 16 kills from Payton Caffrey, who hit .538, in a sweep of visiting VCU … Virginia Tech won twice, beating IUPUI and Ohio to improve to 8-0. Jalia Talbert had 17 kills and hit .467 against Ohio …
Boston College is 7-0 after beating Lafayette … Georgia Tech is 9-1 after losing to Alabama (see SEC).
Big Ten: Rutgers split two matches Friday, beating Howard before getting swept by Tulane. The Scarlet Knights are 4-5 … Ohio State is 6-1 after sweeping Princeton …
Michigan State won twice, sweeping Northeastern and then Fairfield. Against Northeastern, Maddie Haggerty and Naya Gros had 13 kills each. Haggerty hit .462 and had five digs, while Gros hit .579 and had four blocks. Against Fairfield, the Spartans (7-1) got 12 kills from Alyssa Chronowsk. Gros, a freshman, hit 1.000 with seven kills in seven attacks and added five blocks, two solo … Northwestern beat Buffalo to get to 6-1.
Big 12: At Kansas, the Jayhawks lost in five to Auburn after sweeping American. Loyola swept both of them to improve to 7-1.
Kansas and Auburn are both 4-3 after Auburn’s 25-18, 18-25, 22-25, 27-25, 15-6 victory. Rowland Taylor had 23 kills for Auburn and Brenna McIlroy added 14, three aces, 14 digs and a block.
Kansas got 17 kills from Ashley Smith and 13 from Zoe Hill, who hit .321 and had seven blocks.
LMU’s Savannah Slattery had 16 kills and hit .520 in the sweep of American (4-6). LMU beat Auburn 25-18, 25-20, 25-16 as the Lions hit .451. Four players had 10 or more kills, led by Meredith Teague, who had 12 kills in 15 errorless swings to hit .800. She had five aces, two digs and a solo block. Taylor Rowland had 13 kills and hit .480 for Auburn after having one error in 25 attacks.
Kansas State is 7-1 after winning twice, sweeping North Texas and then Oregon State in four. Kylee Zumach and Gloria Mutiri had 16 kills apiece in the 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 win over OSU. Zumach hit .364, had an assist, an ace, 13 digs and three blocks, one solo.
Oregon State (5-2) got 19 kills from Maddie Goings.
Earlier Friday, Oregon State swept Omaha.
TCU beat Louisiana-Lafayette and élan McCall was big again, getting 25 kills and hitting .429 in the four-set win. She added 22 digs, an assist and a block.
Pac-12: Arizona won twice, beating Montana and UTEP at New Mexico State. Kendra Dahlke had 18 kills and hit .417 against Montana, while Paige Whipple had 18 kills against UTEP while hitting .405 …
Cal (6-2) lost in five to Gonzaga in five but came back and beat Portland State in five as Savannah Rennie made her return to the floor.
Rennie had six kills with one error in 12 swings to hit .417. She had three blocks, one solo. Rennie went through treatment for Non-Hodgkin Post-Transplant Lymphoma in 2017, an illness she will have to monitor for the rest of her life. She got a liver transplant in 2016 after being diagnosed with Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis with Portal Hypertension in 2015, which prevented her from playing her freshman season.
“Savannah went in while we were struggling and helped contribute to our comeback effort tonight,” Cal coach Jennifer Dorr said. “She was dialed into the match and able to contribute a strong offensive effort.
“For our team and all the fans out there, this was a big night for Savannah and she put herself in a position to be successful because of relentless commitment to being the best she can be. It was an emotional feeling for me after her first kill, because I know how long she’s waited to have that feeling of on-court success again.”
Gonzaga later beat Fresno State in four. Ramsey Perry had 20 kills against Cal. Eight Bulldogs had five or more kills against Fresno …
Arizona State’s Ivana Jeremic had 26 kills against Wyoming. The Sun Devils beat Murray State but lost to the Cowboys …
SEC: Alabama won twice, beating Marshall in four and then sweeping Georgia Tech to get to 8-0. Against Marshall, Doris Carter led with 14 kills, nine digs and three blocks. In the win over GT, Ginger Perinar had 16 kills, hit .343, and added two blocks one solo …
Missouri went 2-0 Friday, sweeping Princeton before beating Towson in five. The Tigers (7-1) got 12 kills from Alyssa Munlyn against Princeton as she hit .667 with no errors in 18 swings. She also had three blocks, one solo. Against Towson (3-6) Kyle Deberg led with 15 kills, two aces, a dig and three blocks, two solo. Tyanna Omazic added 14 kills, hitting .407, to go with five digs and five blocks.
Also: UTSA (Texas-San Antonio) won twice Friday, first giving Houston its first loss and then beating Houston Baptist in five. Kirby Smith led with 11 kills and 10 digs against Houston and then had 15 kills and 14 digs against HBU …
Northern Iowa (4-4) beat both Ball State and Indiana. In the four-set win over Ball State, Karlie Taylor had 16 kills before getting 24 against Indiana to go with an assist, an ace and 12 digs …
Drake of the Missouri Valley is 8-0. The Bulldogs beat Eastern Illinois and South Dakota State and have won 24 of the 25 sets they’ve played this season …
Pepperdine swept Missouri State and Nicholls State at Texas A&M.
Did we miss something? A note or a great performance? Email lee@VolleyballMag.com.
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