Friday, 22 September 2023

International Volleyball

Creighton wins at Minnesota; 35s for Briggs, Cassaday; big matchups Sunday

Creighton wins at Minnesota; 35s for Briggs, Cassaday; big matchups Sunday

Florida State’s Khori Louis hits against the Hawai’i block of Kennedi Evans/Matt Smith photo

The pre-conference season finishes with a flourish Sunday with three big-time matches as No. 1 Wisconsin goes to No. 3 Florida in a battle of unbeatens on ESPN, No. 5 Stanford goes to unbeaten No. 2 Louisville on ESPN2, and unbeaten No. 4 Nebraska is home for No. 20 Kentucky on the Big Ten Network.

This puts a bow on four weekends of competition for which the coaches of top teams should be commended for scheduling each other and providing a fantastic month of NCAA Division I women’s volleyball.

Two other ranked teams are in action Sunday, with No. 7 Oregon at Marquette and No. 10 Georgia Tech playing San Diego.

There was one upset Saturday, when No. 14 Creighton won in five at No. 9 Minnesota. 

Nine other ranked teams won Saturday and all but one swept. 

Arizona State, Cal, The Citadel and Wyoming all won to stay undefeated. Virginia Tech and Brown took their first losses.

Army West Point has non-conference losses, but the Black Knights are atop the Patriot League  — which got an early start at 2-0.

35: Paige Briggs had 35 kills for Western Kentucky and Kayley Cassaday had 35 kills for Tulsa.

And the other team in the Nebraska Volleyball Day festivities, Omaha, got its first win to finish the pre-Summit League season 1-9.

Ranked results

Creighton (9-2) of the Big East continued to play without its best player, Norah Sis, as the Bluejays battled to a 25-15, 16-25, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9 victory at Minnesota (4-4) after losing the first six times the programs had played. Ava Martin led Creighton with 22 kills, a block and 11 digs. Destiny Ndam-Simpson had 12 kills, two digs and two blocks, one solo, and Kiana Schmitt had 10 kills and five blocks. Kendra Wait had four kills in 10 errorless tries, 42 assists, six blocks and a match-high 22 digs. Her team hit .227. 

“We knew Minnesota was kind of up-and-down and it was true to form,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “After we won the first game we were like ‘listen, they do this a lot. They get killed and then they come back.’ And sure enough, they dominated game two. I like how we bounced and won three and five, which was really important. It’s a good win. I’m really proud of them and they worked hard.”

Minnesota’s Lydia Grote hits past Creighton’s Destiny Ndam-Simpson/Matt Krohn photo

Lydia Grote led Minnesota with 20 kills and hit .474 after having…

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