By Jen Armson-Dyer
UCLA Hands Stanford First Loss Of The Season
Behind a career-high 25 kills from sophomore Rachael Kidder, 12th-ranked UCLA stunned No. 1 and undefeated Stanford in five games (25-21, 16-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-12) on Saturday. Senior outside hitter Dicey McGraw and junior middle hitter Katie Camp chipped in 14 and 10 kills, respectively, for the Bruins as Kidder added 11 digs for her first career double-double. Junior libero Lainey Gera led all players with 25 digs in the win, as sophomore outside hitter Bojana Todorovic picked up 16 digs and Camp posted a team-high six blocks for UCLA. For Stanford, senior outside hitter Alix Klineman pounded 27 kills as sophomore outside hitter Hayley Spelman notched 12 and junior Stephanie Browne led all players with nine blocks. “The girls were just ready,” said UCLA head coach Mike Sealy. “They wanted to play, they wanted to beat Stanford. It’s a great win, I’m going to enjoy it. It gives us the confidence that maybe we were lacking. We knew we were a good team but we had some ups and downs. . I think (Kidder’s) finally discovering actually who she is, so it’s nice to finally meet the real Rachael.”
Indiana Shocks Penn State
For the first time in program history, Indiana defeated Penn State, ousting the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions in four games (25-19, 27-25, 18-25, 26-24). Sophomore outside hitter Jordan Haverly pounded 21 kills as senior middle hitter Ashley Benson notched 12 kills on .529 hitting. Indiana was hot from behind the service line, racking up seven aces, including four from sophomore setter Whitney Granado. Junior libero Caitlin Cox picked up 15 digs to lead the Hoosiers, while Benson topped the blocking list with five. For Penn State, senior opposite Blair Brown recorded 16 kills while senior middle hitter Arielle Wilson and freshman outside hitter Deja McClendon added in 15 and 14 kills, respectively. "Everybody stepped up tonight, and in order to win we needed every single person to do just that," said Indiana head coach Sherry Dunbar. "When you play a team like Penn State, if you don't take some big swings you're simply not going to win. I felt we did that tonight, especially early on, we took some huge swings."
Michigan Takes Down Illinois
Led by senior setter Lexi Zimmerman’s second career triple double (43 assists, 13 digs, 13 kills on .500 hitting), No. 18 Michigan took out No. 6 Illinois in four games (28-26, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24), handing the Fighting Illini their first loss of the Big Ten season and moving into a tie with them for first in the Big Ten. Junior outside hitter Alex Hunt pounded 19 kills in the four-game win while junior libero Sloane Donhoff led the team with three service aces and 22 digs. Freshman middle hitter Jennifer Cross recorded six blocks, including two solo efforts, while Zimmerman added four stuffs. Junior outside hitter Colleen Ward led Illinois with 17 kills while senior outside hitter Laura DeBruler and junior outside hitter Michelle Bartsch added 12 and 10 kills, respectively. The Fighting Illini were once again without the services of 6-3 sophomore middle hitter Erin Johnson, who is out with mono. “We are trying to progress through the season,” said Michigan head coach Mark Rosen. “In the Big Ten, you have 20 matches, and you want to get as many wins as you can. You don't get any more points for beating a high-ranked team or a low-ranked team. That is what our team really feeds off of, playing a great opponent who is going to give you a really good challenge. I thought we really stepped up to that challenge today.”
USC Ousts Cal
The Women of Troy handed the Golden Bears their first loss of the season as No. 8 Southern California downed No. 7 Cal in five games (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15), including rallying from a 14-12 deficit in the fifth game. Junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter posted a season-high 26 kills while freshman outside hitter Falyn Fonoimoana notched 15 kills and freshman middle hitter Alexis Olgard recorded a career-best 12 kills. Junior setter Kendall Bateman dished out 64 assists and added 12 digs as Jupiter led the team with 18 digs and four blocks. For Cal, junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey posted 34 kills. “Both teams were where they wanted to be (in the fifth game),” said USC head coach Mick Haley. “Once we tied it (at 14-14 in game five), then it seemed like it was going to be ok. Cal is a real good team, like Stanford, but I think that no one is dominating right now.”
Kansas Stuns Iowa State
For the first time in program history, Kansas defeated a top-10 opponent as the Jayhawks stunned No. 10 Iowa State in four games (25-14, 25-23, 20-25, 25-17). Senior outside hitter Karina Garlington led Kansas with 18 kills as senior outside hitter Jenna Kaiser posted 12 and sophomore middle hitter Tayler Tolefree posted 11 kills with only one error on 15 attacks to hit .667. Senior Melissa Manda led all players with a career-high 32 digs as junior setter Nicole Tate dished out 48 assists and added in 14 digs for her fourth straight double-double. For the Cyclones, senior outside hitter Victoria Henson led the squad with 22 kills as junior Kelsey Petersen chipped in 10 and senior libero Ashley Mass picked up a team-high 22 digs.
Northwestern Tops Minnesota
Senior middle hitter Sabel Moffett recorded a career-best 14 blocks, one off the school record, to lead No. 24 Northwestern to a four-game victory (20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21) over No. 16 Minnesota, and move the Wildcats into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan and Illinois. As a team, the Wildcats outblocked the Golden Gophers 18-9, and six Northwestern players recorded multiple blocks in the contest, led by Moffett. Sophomore outside hitter Madalyn Shalter posted five, freshman outside hitter Stephanie Holthus and senior setter Elyse Glab each notched four, senior middle hitter Naomi Johnson tallied three and senior outside hitter Christina Kaelin posted two. Offensively, Kaelin and Johnson led Northwestern with 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Glab dished out 36 assists and sophomore libero Julie Chin led the Wildcats with 17 digs. For Minnesota, sophomore outside hitter Tabi Love and freshman outside hitter Ashley Wittman each tallied 14 kills as junior libero Jessica Granquist led all players with 25 digs and junior middle hitter Ariana Filho recorded six blocks. "Our entire team came ready to play tonight, and especially Sabel," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "She was having a quiet match offensively, but more than made up for it on the block. That seemed to energize the rest of the team, and this was a great team effort to beat a very good Minnesota team. Just another phenomenal weekend to be a 'Cat."
Other Notable Matches:
- Louisville def. Notre Dame, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17). Freshman outside hitter Emily Juhl’s career-high 16 kills helped the Cardinals snap the Fighting Irish’s 19-match regular-season Big East winning streak.
- Buffalo def. Ball State, 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-13). The Bulls picked up their first-ever win over the Cardinals led by senior middle hitter Kristin Bignell and senior outside hitter Marisa Hornbaker with 10 kills apiece.
- Miami (Ohio) def. Ohio, 3-1 (10-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20). Four RedHawk players reached double-digit kills in the win, led by junior outside hitter Colleen Loftus with 12.
- TCU def. New Mexico, 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-23). The Horned Frogs stretched their conference home winning streak to 11 matches with the sweep. Junior outside hitter Jordan Raines posted her third double-double of the season with 12 kills and a career-high 19 digs.