Nike Big Four Classic Doesn’t Disappoint
Fans attending the Nike Big Four Classic at Stanford certainly got more than they paid for as three of the four matches went five sets. Stanford emerged as the champion, defeating both Penn State (23-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-18) and Florida (25-17, 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 15-13). In the two other matches of the weekend, Florida defeated Texas in five (25-22, 20-25, 25-13, 21-25, 15-12) on Friday night and the Longhorns outlasted the Nittany Lions on Saturday night (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 14-25, 15-10). Stanford sophomore outside hitter Rachel Williams was named the Most Valuable Player of the event as she recorded 22 kills on .302 hitting with 12 digs against Penn State and 23 kills, 14 digs and four blocks in the win over Florida. Also being recognized on the all-tournament team were Stanford junior setter Karissa Cook (92 assists, 18 digs), Stanford sophomore middle hitter Carly Wopat (24 kills, 13 blocks), Florida senior setter/opposite Kelly Murphy (26 kills, 59 assists, 19 digs), Texas freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman (31 kills) and Penn State sophomore outside hitter Deja McClendon (42 kills, 14 digs). “We could just schedule our way to wins,” Florida head coach Mary Wise told the UF student newspaper. “But I don’t know if we would get better without playing these types of teams.”
Kansas Downs No. 6 Minnesota, 3-2
The Jayhawks outlasted the Gophers in five sets (27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12) on Saturday in Cedar Falls, Iowa, a day after falling to No. 15 Northern Iowa, also in five sets. Kansas’ win over Minnesota marks the first victory in KU volleyball program history over an opponent ranked that highly in the national poll. Senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield led three Jayhawk players in double-digit kills with 19 on .370 hitting, while sophomore middle hitter Caroline Jarmoc and freshman outside hitter Sara McClinton added in 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Sophomore Brianne Riley topped the defense with 17 kills while Jarmoc and junior middle hitter Tayler Tolefree both racked up nine blocks and freshman outside hitter Chelsea Albers added in eight. As a team, Kansas outblocked Minnesota 18.0 to 9.5. Ashley Wittman led the Golden Gophers with 28 kills on .415 hitting. “You’re interested in what your team does after some adversity,” said Kansas head coach Ray Bechard in reference to his team falling to UNI in the previous match. “Now we want to see how we’ll do after a bit of success. The reaction should be the same. We were obviously displeased at how the match ended last night, but I’m happy to see how quickly we were able to rebound from that. We don’t have to wonder if [Minnesota is] a quality team. They’ve already played several quality matches and beat Texas twice. They are a legitimate team from a legitimate conference, but this is a small part of the big picture. We have to continue to be mentally tough and fundamentally sound.”
No. 8 UCLA Sweeps No. 9 USC In League Opener
The Bruins swept the cross-town rival Trojans 25-19, 25-17, 25-17 on Friday night in front of a record-high 5,385 fans at USC’s Galen Center, marking the first time since 1993 that UCLA has swept USC on the road. Bruin junior outside hitter Racheal Kidder led all players with 14 kills on an errorless 29 swings to hit a career-high.483 in the match as freshman middle hitter Zoe Nightingale posted seven kills on .417 hitting. Senior libero Lainey Gera and sophomore outside hitter Kelly Reeves paced the UCLA defense with 18 and 11 digs, respectively. As a team, UCLA hit a season-best .355 in the match while limiting USC to attacking at a .140 clip – including hitting .000 (9-9-29) in the final set. Senior outside hitter Alex Jupiter led Southern California with nine kills as senior middle hitter Lauren Williams and junior outside hitter Katie Fuller each added eight. UCLA head coach Mike Sealy told the Daily Bruin student newspaper that his team executed the game plan “pretty flawlessly.” He continued: “it was a perfect storm. We did nothing wrong and ‘SC had an off night.”
No. 14 Colorado State Falls To Wichita State, 3-1
A week after defeating Nebraska in a highly-emotional win, the Rams dropped a four-game contest to the Shockers 26-28, 25-19, 20-25, 22-25 at home at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo., in front of 1,500 fans. Junior outside hitter Emily Adney and senior outside hitter Camri Zwiesler led Wichita State with 18 and 17 kills each, respectively, while Adney also added four blocks and Zwiesler chipped in 12 digs and a career-high six service aces. Senior libero Sarah Waldorf led the squad with 17 digs. For Colorado State, senior opposite Katelyn Steffan paced the team with a career-high 21 kills as junior Izzy Gaulia notched 26 digs. Colorado State head coach Tom Hilbert did not hide his displeasure with his team following the match, as he told csurams.com: “I was extremely disappointed in what we did in the end-game situation. It’s going to be that kind of match against a team like this, and we played with a great deal of fear and not very much aggression.”
Other Notable Matches:
- Miami (FL) defeated No. 18 Oklahoma in four sets (17-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-19) in its first victory over a ranked opponent since upsetting 15th-ranked Wisconsin on Dec. 7, 2002 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hurricane Invitational MVP senior outside hitter Lane Carico led the squad with her fifth double-double of the year with 19 kills and 16 digs.
- With an outstanding week that began with a five-set win over then No. 8 UCLA on Wednesday, Sept. 7, Pepperdine turned some heads with a strong showing at the Dayton Flyers Classic as the Waves defeated No. 23 Dayton in five sets (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-16, 16-14), fell to No. 20 Michigan in an extended five sets (32-20, 16-25, 27-25, 19-25, 18-20) and defeated No. 24 Florida State in four sets (25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23). Senior Stevi Robinson became the school’s all-time leader in digs in the match against the Wolverines. Pepperdine continues its streak of ranked opponents when it travels to Hawaii for two matches against the Wahine next weekend.
Matches To Watch For:
- The Big Ten/Big East Challenge will feature Purdue and Illinois against Louisville and Cincinnati at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill.
- Now considered a non-conference match since Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten, the Huskers host Iowa State on Saturday night. The match is also Nebraska’s last contest before hosting Penn State at the NU Coliseum on Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the Big Ten opener on the Big Ten Network.