College News

College: Top 5 Upsets of the Week (Nov. 14)

Kendra Dahlke and Arizona made noise in the Pac-12 last week by downing Oregon in five games.

(Courtesy of Stan Liu, Arizona Athletics)

We’ve had our share of upsets to report on lately, but none from the top-ranked programs.

That changes this week, as Stanford and Minnesota went down, plus Kansas and Oregon.

Top 5 Upsets of the Week:

— 1. No. 14 Washington d No. 3 Stanford (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-17)

Washington had Stanford on the ropes in the first meeting, leading 2-1, but then the Huskies hit .143 and .150 in Games 4 and 5 and lost. This time around, Washington finished stronger than it started, hitting above .300 in the final two sets to deliver the Cardinal their first Pac-12 loss this season. Remarkably, Stanford outhit Washington for the night .308-.256, but the number was skewed by the Cardinal hitting .600 in Game 2, when they had just one error and 16 kills. Kat Plummer had a monster night with 26 kills (.438) but Washington overcame it with a balanced effort. Kara Bajema continued her strong play with 14 kills. Crissy Jones added 11 and hit .364 Avie Niece hit .533 out of the middle with 9 kills. Carly DeHoog and Courtney Schwan teamed for 15 winners. “Gritty win by our team,” Washington coach Keegan Cook said. “A lot of credit to Stanford for playing good volleyball. It’s not every day you get a win when your opponent’s hitting over .300. I thought we were pretty resilient, you’ve heard me say that a lot this year. I told them we didn’t have to win all the points, just the right ones. We won a couple deuce sets and then the offense got going the last two sets, which was really impressive against one of the best teams in the nation.”

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— 2. No. 25 Purdue d No. 5 Minnesota (25-23, 21-25, 28-26, 25-14)

What a weekend for Purdue! We list the Boilermakers taking down the Gophers here, but they followed this huge upset by knocking off Wisconsin in their next match. Currently, Purdue sits at 10-6 and alone in fifth place in the Big Ten. The loss dropped Minnesota to 13-3, and significantly hurt the Gophers’ chances at a Big Ten title. They now sit two games behind Penn State and Nebraska, tied at 15-1. When Minnesota swept Purdue in the first meeting, it wasn’t the Boilermakers’ offense that let them down. They simply couldn’t stop Stephanie Samedy and Lexi Hart, but that changed in the rematch. While Samedy tied Regan Pittman (14 kills, .500) for the team lead with 14 winners, and Hart had 12, neither Samedy nor Hart hit over .300 like they did in the first meeting. In fact, both hit well below their averages. And it turned out, Purdue was better offensively as well, thus leading to the victory. Sherridan Atkinson (17 kills, .293), Danielle Cuttino (15 kills, .324), Blake Mohler (14 kills, .500) and Caitlyn Newton (12 kills, .296) all had big impacts. Setter Ashley Evans (58 assists) even had 8 kills and hit .400. “When last season was over and I looked at what we had coming back and I knew we had some recruits coming in that could help us in some small ways, I felt like this was a Top-10 team,” Purdue coach Dave Shondell said. “Looking at Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and some other teams, I felt like there was no reason we shouldn’t be right in those matches with those teams – and we have been, we just haven’t won many of them. Tonight, we got one that I think will send a message that we’re for real.”

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— 3. No. 23 Baylor d No. 10 Kansas (25-17, 25-21, 25-18)

Neither side was at full strength, as Kansas was without Madison Rigdon and Baylor’s Kaite Staiger took just three swings on the night. Still, this was a contest dominated by Yossiana Pressley and the Bears on the road in Lawrence. Pressley racked up 19 kills and hit .410, while Shelly Fanning (12 kills, .407) was also on the prowl. Ashley Smith, with 10 kills, was the only Kansas player to reach double digits. Now, with two weeks to go in the Big 12 season, it’s Baylor (11-2) leading the Jayhawks (10-3) by a game for second place. There is still some hope for the Bears in regards to catching first-place Texas (13-). The Longhorns face Kansas this week, and still have to travel to Baylor to close out conference play. “Yossi (Pressley) had another outstanding performance. Offensively, she was virtually unstoppable and reliable for us,” Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre said. “I thought we got good production from our middles, both a combination of our blocking and offensively attacking. Good offensive night for us. If you get 19 kills in a set, then that means you’re earning a lot of your points. Against a really good Kansas team, you’re going to have to earn most of your points. We spent a lot of time on defense as far as picking our spots and trying to be a little more disruptive with our blocking schemes. They’re a good team. We had to adjust for No. 12 (Ashley Smith) on the outside to be able to block and slow her down.”

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— 4. Arizona d No. 16 Oregon (24-26, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-13)

As far as results, it’s been a rough Pac-12 ride for Arizona this fall. The Wildcats have suffered five-set losses to Cal, Colorado, USC and Oregon, when the ‘Cats and Ducks played in Round 1. Finally, Arizona got one, taking a five-set victory at last. At 4-12, a case could be made for Arizona being 8-8 had those other five-setters gone in its favor. In this one, Taylor Agost was on fire with 18 kills and hitting .514, but Arizona survived anyway. Kendra Dahlke put up a match-high 23 kills, while Candice Denny (12 kills, .500) played a key role as well. “It’s nice to win a match like that, especially being down 0-2 and getting clobbered in game two,” Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. “I am proud about how we responded to being down in the second set. It is a terrific win for us and it has been an internal battle this season. In our conference it is tough to win. You can still be really good and still lose matches, which is what we have done this season.”

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— 5. San Jose State d No. 20 Colorado State (20-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, 15-11)

Because Colorado State (15-1) holds a four-game lead in the Mountain West standings over Wyoming (11-5), the impact of this upset is minimal. However, it was nearly impossible to see coming. Colorado State swept San Jose State in the first meeting, while the Spartans sit back in fourth place. It didn’t matter, as Fernanda Vido (18 kills, .227), Nandyala Gama (15, .214), Thaliana Grajeda (13, .242) and Laura Parts (10, .300) reached double digits for San Jose State.

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