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Top 5 Takeaways From Last Week's NCAA Volleyball Action

Top 5 Takeaways From Last Week's NCAA Volleyball Action
Photo: USA Today Sports
In yet another action-packed weekend of NCAA volleyball preseason competition, we saw ranked teams toppled, programs suffer their first losses, and matches cancelled due to extreme weather.

Here are the weekend's top takeaways.

1. Penn State made a big statement with a second victory over Stanford.

Penn State and Stanford met for the first time this season at Texas A&M on September 1, with the Nittany Lions winning 3-1. A week later, the two teams collided yet again in Champaign, Illinois, during the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

This time it took five sets, but Penn State once again walked away with the victory 24-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11. Senior outside hitter Simone Lee led the Nittany Lions with 21 kills, while her classmate and fellow outside Ali Frantti contributed 20. Haleigh Washington led the blocking effort with 10 blocks. As a team, Penn State posted 20 total blocks -- good for second-most in program history.

2. Double sweeps for Nebraska over UCLA.

The double-header between Nebraska and UCLA in Lincoln stood out on both team's preseason schedules as some of the toughest matches they would play before entering their respective conference seasons.

With senior setter Kelly Hunter back in action and running a 5-1 for the first times this season, the Huskers swept UCLA both nights. Mikaela Foecke led both matches in kills, and Nebraska improved to 5-2 for the year, with all five victories in straight sets.

3. Minnesota strong and steady in win over Texas.

Freshman athletes starred for Minnesota in the Gophers' four-set victory over Texas in Austin (25-21, 25-27, 26-24, 25-19), while veterans leaders Samantha Seliger-Swenson and Dalianliz Rosado helped keep the team steady and focused.

First-year opposite Stephanie Samedy led the match with 22 kills, hitting .308, while freshman outside hitter Jasmyn Martin had 11 kills. Freshman defensive specialist Lauren Barnes contributed 12 digs and an ace. Redshirt freshman middle Regan Pittman added two solo blocks, four block assists, and five kills.

As a team, Minnesota out-blocked Texas 12-9; it was the first time this year that Texas has been bested in the blocking column.

4. First losses for Kansas and BYU.

For the first couple weeks of preseason, Kansas and BYU were unstoppable. The Jayhawks beat NC State twice, toppled Kentucky in straight sets, and got by Purdue in four. But over the weekend, in the final match of the Kansas Invitational, Creighton got the best of the Jayhawks, handing Kansas its first loss of the season 25-20, 25-16, 29-27.

With 14 kills and a .343 hitting percentage, Jaali Winters led the charge for the Blue Jays, and Marysa Wilkinson and Taryn Kloth each also added double-digit kills.

BYU sacrificed its unblemished record at the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge in Honolulu, where it lost to Baylor in five sets 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 28-26, 15-10. Baylor senior Katie Staiger took a match-high 66 swings, earning points on 26 of them and hitting .303. On BYU's side, McKenna Miller was the top producers with 24 kills on 62 swings.

5. Florida tournament cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

FloVolleyball's No. 1-ranked Florida Gators were all set to host Michigan State, UNC Greensboro, and American for the Active Ankle Challenge, but the matches were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

The Gators' impending match against in-state rival Florida State -- originally scheduled for Tuesday, September 12 -- has also been affected by the storm. The Gators and the Seminoles will now face off on Tuesday, September 19.

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