Massive Upsets Send Preseason Out With A Bang

Maryland Athletics Erika Pritchard maryland
Many top-ranked NCAA Division I women's volleyball teams scheduled fairly light in the final weekend of nonconference play. Despite their best attempts to cruise ahead to conference competition, however, a number of top-20 ranked teams suffered upsets over the weekend and will have to repair their bruised egos before taking on their first league opponents this week.

The first ranked team to fall was No. 16 USC, which took on Maryland on Thursday. The Terrapins harnessed the energy of playing at home to sweep USC 25-22, 25-23, 25-21. Steve Aird's outside hitters Gia Milana and Erika Pritchard led the way with 12 kills apiece.

USC struggled to get into an offensive rhythm, with go-to outside hitter Khalia Lanier hitting .026 and the team averaging .155 for the match. Senior middle blocker Hailey Murray led Maryland with four blocks as the Terrapins out-blocked USC 10 to four.

[tweet url="https://twitter.com/TerpsVolleyball/status/909800406087323649" hide_media="0" hide_thread="1"]
No. 11 Creighton's nightmare weekend started on Friday night with a loss to Wichita State in four sets (25-20, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22). Sophomore Megan Ballenger had a career- and team-high 16 kills with only three errors to hit .500, but the Bluejays averaged only a .166 hitting percentage as a team. Tabitha Brown led Wichita State with 17 kills, while libero Giorgia Civita dominated on the defensive end, scooping up a match-high 29 digs. The worst part of the Wichita State match for Creighton, however, was having star setter Lydia Dimke go out with an ankle injury. 

[tweet url="https://twitter.com/gforce4preach/status/908914106308153344" hide_media="0" hide_thread="1"]
Iowa State then took advantage of the hit to Creighton's confidence and Dimke's absence, turning in a 25-21, 22-25, 25-16, 19-25, 15-8 victory over the Bluejays on Saturday night. Avery Rhodes set the tone for the Cyclones, hitting .357 with seven kills and adding two solo blocks and eight block assists. Creighton's Taryn Kloth led the match with 15 kills, but Iowa State's balanced offense had four hitters in double-digit kills, led by Jess Schaben with 13.

[tweet url="https://twitter.com/CycloneVB/status/909203158064177153" hide_media="0" hide_thread="1"]
No. 12 Kansas suffered only its second loss of the season, falling at the hands of Santa Clara in the Broncos' home gym on Friday. The 3-2 victory (22-25, 27-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12) marked the biggest upset in program history for Santa Clara at home in the Leavey Center. Kansas' star opposite Kelsie Payne led the match with 22 kills, hitting .333, but as a team Santa Clara out-hit Kansas .231 to .189. Sophomore Michelle Gajdka led the Broncos with 21 kills.

[tweet url="https://twitter.com/scuvolleyball/status/909197759277879296" hide_media="0" hide_thread="1"]
The Omaha Challenge started out as expected for the No. 9-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, as they swept Kansas State Friday night. In their first of two matches on Saturday, however, Nebraska found itself on its heels versus Northern Iowa. The Panthers dominated from the outset of the match, winning sets one and two and ultimately taking the match in four (25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 25-21).

UNI head coach Bobbi Peterson, who has led her team to four victories over top-25 opponents so far this season, credited her setter Heather Hook for facilitating the victory. The redshirt senior had seven kills to go along with her 40 assists as she quarterbacked the Panthers to their first defeat of Nebraska in program history.

[tweet url="https://twitter.com/UNIVolleyball/status/909129026777829378" hide_media="0" hide_thread="1"]
No. 18 Colorado State was riding high on preseason upsets of Florida State and Michigan, but the Rams saw their run come to an end with a five-set loss to Colorado on Saturday (21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-14, 15-8). Colorado State started slowly, losing the first two frames, but rallied back in the second half of the match and ultimately out-hit CSU .318 to .201 and out-blocked the Rams nine to seven. Colorado's Alexa Smith led the match with 25 kills, adding 15 digs.



Don't Miss a Beat

It's time to step up your game. Fill in the information below to get the best of FloVolleyball delivered directly to your inbox.

MUST SEE FloFilms

Lauren Carlini: Setting the Standard 

Watch full episode here.

null

The Program: Penn State

Watch Episode One here.

null


All In: USA Women's National Volleyball Team

Watch Episode One here.

null

Tyler Hildebrand Will Direct USAV Beach Coaching

Nebraska Athletics UDEEKWXRZNNDCNS.20170316160238.jpg

USA Volleyball has announced that it will hire Olympic and collegiate coach Tyler Hildebrand as the director of coaching for its Beach National Team Program.

Festival Fiesta Classic Live Stream Schedule

USATSI_10000330_168383134_lowres.jpg

Courts 1, 2, 8, and 9 at the Festival Fiesta Classic will be live-streaming on February 17-19, 2018, exclusively on FloVolleyball. Click here to watch live.

Kerri Walsh Jennings Launches Event Series p1440

© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_9479570_168383134_lowres.jpg

Volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings and her husband, Casey, have officially launched p1440 — an event series that will include, among other things, a beach volleyball tournament and a musical festival.

This Week's College Commits: 2/15/18

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 12.22.41 PM.png

Minnesota grabs a top commit this week. See who that player is as well as the other verbal commitments below. 

The Best Volleyball Promposals Of All Time

Kayla Calura Twitter promposal

Prom is one of the most memorable events for every high school student. It's important when asking that special someone as a date to include some personal flare to really wow them. 

15 Clever Volleyball Pick-Up Lines

Finesse Wes | Twitter C6sgl1eV4AAQxux.jpg-large.jpeg

Don't know how to approach that volleyball player you've been crushing on? Fear not -- this is your inside scoop on how to break the ice.

Penn State Adds Katie Schumacher-Cawley To Women’s Volleyball Staff

Illinois-Chicago Athletics KSC.jpg

Penn State women’s volleyball head coach Russ Rose announced on Monday that former Penn head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley — a Penn State alum — will join the Nittany Lions as an assistant coach.

Paige Tapp Featured In New adidas Commercial

Paige Tapp Twitter Paige Tapp Adidas

adidas has launched a new campaign, "Calling All Creators," which features recognizable faces of the sports, music, and entertainment industries in their latest ad — a group that includes Team USA middle Paige Tapp.

Pepperdine Coaching Legend Nina Matthies To Retire After Season

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports USATSI_9918039_168383134_lowres.jpg

Indoor and beach volleyball coaching legend Nina Matthies has announced that she will retire at the end of the 2018 season, ending a run that has included more than 700 wins and two AVCA beach championships at Pepperdine.

2018 JVA MKE Jamboree Live Stream Schedule

USA Today Sports MLK

Live coverage of courts 18, 19, and 20 at the 2018 JVA MKE Jamboree will be available on February 3-4th, exclusively on FloVolleyball. See the full live schedule below. Gain FloPRO access to ALL FloSports sites to watch. SIGN UP HERE.