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NCAA Tournament volleyball: first and second round recap

How is the Big Ten doing so far? Are the defending champs still playing?????

2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The first two rounds of the volleyball NCAA Tournament were filled with exciting matches and a couple of upsets to big name teams. Your No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers haven’t lost a set yet but will face, by far, their toughest test of the tourney when the No. 13 UCLA Bruins come calling on Thursday afternoon. Let’s take a look at the rest of the Big Ten and the bracket at large.

First of all, 37.5% of the teams remaining in the tournament are from the Big Ten. That’s pretty impressive and the second time in the past four years that the conference has achieved the feat.

The two shameful Big Ten teams that didn’t make the Sweet 16 are Michigan, who lost 3-2 to Ball State in the first round, and Penn State, who were unceremoniously dumped from the tourney by rivals Pitt, 3-1 in the second round. On a positive note for the conference, Illinois, who isn’t seeded, went into Lexington and upset the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats.

The craziest match that the Big Ten participated in was definitely No. 6 Purdue’s five-setter with Dayton. The Flyers, surprisingly, jumped out to a 2-0 lead as the Boilermakers struggled with attack, collecting 16 errors in the first two sets. As Wisconsin well knows, Purdue is not a team to be trifled with and the Boilers stormed back to reverse sweep Dayton.

The fourth and fifth sets were especially impressive with Dayton scoring 11 points...combined. Also, Purdue cleaned up the errors, only recording one in the final three sets. Sheesh!

Upcoming UW opponent, UCLA, also needed five sets in order to advance. The Bruins were down 2-1 to UCF but, led by Mac May and her 25 kills, battled back to reach the Sweet 16 again.

We’ll have more on the Wisconsin/UCLA match later in the week and then hopefully some more posts about an upcoming Elite 8 matchup on Saturday.

Here is the full Sweet 16 schedule with the links to each match’s live stats page: