PALO ALTO, California — There are all the time six levels of volleyball separation seemingly wherever you go in our sport.
Friday at Stanford, effectively, everybody appeared tied to one another.
The ties that bind have been evident all over the place as fifth-ranked Stanford swept No. 15 Ohio State after No. 10 Minnesota beat No. 6 Oregon in 5.
Begin with the coaches, the place Kevin Hambly is in his seventh yr on The Farm. In 2011, he took Illinois to NCAA title match, the place the Illini misplaced to UCLA. One in every of his assistants on that workforce? Ohio State coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg. And Olympic gold-medalist Michelle Bartsch Hackle, who was a senior on that Illini workforce, is now an Ohio State assistant
J-FO’s ties went deep right here. For starters, when the third-year OSU coach watched the primary match, she noticed two of her former Buckeyes play one another, Oregon exterior Gabby Gonzales and Minnesota libero Kylie Murr, who occur to be better of pals.
Among the many gamers she’s coached on the nationwide stage was Stanford setter Kami Miner, who grew up down the Strand from Holly McPeak, who lives on Manhattan Seaside and was doing the Pac-12 broadcast evaluation.
The gathering was a reunion for former Pac-12 rival coaches and good pals Matt Ulmer, in his seventh yr at Oregon, and first-year Minnesota coach Keegan Prepare dinner, who got here from Washington. And, in fact, they’ll be Large Ten rivals subsequent yr when Oregon joins the B1G.
Murr is from Yorktown, Indiana, simply exterior of Muncie, and can on Saturday you’ll want to serve to Stanford’s Caitie Baird, who’s from close by Indianapolis.
And talking of Indiana, there was Minnesota senior setter Melani Shaffmaster, who’s from New Citadel, which is south of Muncie and east of Indy, and, who, with a braced proper leg is healthier on one leg than most setters are on two.
“It’s OK,” Shaffmaster mentioned with amusing. “It’s advantageous. I’ve my different one. It’s simply inferior to my left one … It’s manageable. It’s OK.”
Shaffmaster has been coping with her knee since center faculty, however extra on that in a bit.
Minnesota beat Oregon in Maples Pavilion 25-21, 23-25, 21, 25, 25-20, 16-14 in a match that was all that and extra, ending with the 6-foot-3 Shaffmaster crushing an overpass to present her Gophers a much-need victory.
“We would have liked that,” mentioned Murr, Shaffmaster’s former Munciana membership mate.
Minnesota beat TCU and Baylor to open the season, however then misplaced in 4 to Texas and this previous Sunday acquired swept at Florida. Powerful scheduling can imply robust losses.
“After enjoying Texas and Florida we got here to California and had couple of days to work on ourselves,” mentioned Shaffmaster, whose workforce hit .323. “We simply determined we have been going to work more durable longer. I feel that was the issue in our different video games and it was time for us to deal with our facet of the web. Now we have the scouting stories, however on the finish of the day it’s our facet of the web and that’s what we did a extremely good job of tonight.”
Prepare dinner agreed.
“You may really feel our depth and want to wish to win that match,” Prepare dinner mentioned. “An excellent opponent and so they’re going to compete within the Pac-12 and so they’ll be enjoying late within the match. However that’s what the schedule was designed for, to seek out out some issues about ourselves and I like what we came upon at the moment.”
Again to Shaffmaster, who wears a protracted brace on her proper leg, and who can flat out ship some units. In opposition to Oregon, she had 51 assists, 4 kills, a outstanding 18 digs — some whereas truly sitting or laying on the ground as a result of as soon as she’s down there it takes fairly an effort to get due to the brace — and three blocks.
“A very spectacular efficiency by her,” Prepare dinner mentioned. “I’m actually glad for her. Simply nice from begin to end in a extremely sophisticated match for a setter in opposition to a extremely nice. She’s labored for this second. And that final level was fairly becoming.”
You may argue that Shaffmaster is enjoying her greatest volleyball ever.
“She was in place to start out with,” Prepare dinner mentioned, “however she’s been placing within the work and he or she’s been extraordinarily diligent and keen to be coached, which I feel nice gamers are. She’s been keen to be coached from day one. She didn’t wait. She took what she may from all of us and it’s displaying.”
Shaffmaster, who has yet one more yr of eligibility remaining, in flip gave numerous credit score to the brand new teaching employees and mentioned she’s labored so much with Kristen Kelsey, a former Michigan State setter who has teaching at her alma mater and Northwestern.
“I’ve gotten some little issues in place that I hadn’t actually seen earlier than,” Shaffmaster mentioned. “I’ve totally different footwork to get to the ball, so it’s much more environment friendly. A number of tiny issues that individuals don’t see however the final result is clearly totally different.”
The lengthy brace, Shaffmaster mentioned, “is tremendous gentle. I can’t go facet to facet and I can’t bend my knee inward or outward.”
“She’s wonderful,” Murr mentioned. “That’s why I selected this workforce. I really like this workforce and I knew what she was able to. One leg, two legs, doesn’t matter. She’s going to play her coronary heart out each single time.”
Mckenna Wucherer had profession excessive of 21 kills for Minnesota, hitting .378, and digs with 10 to go together with an ace. Taylor Landfair had 18 kills, 4 assists, an ace, two blocks and 5 digs. Lydia Grote, who could have extra enjoyable enjoying volleyball than anybody, had 14 kills with one error in 27 assaults to hit .481 and added an ace, two blocks and 4 digs.
Extra ties? Grote is a switch from Cal, however her sister Marin performed for Prepare dinner at Washington. Marin was on the match.
Murr was her common spectacular self, arising with 22 digs and eight assists. She was a part of that well-documented group of 4 Buckeyes (along with Gonzales, setter Mac Podraza is at Penn State and Jenaisya Moore is at Tennessee) who left Ohio State after 4 years for brand new groups.
Murr, a VolleyballMag.com second-team All-American, stuffed the spot of CC McCraw, one other big-time B1G libero, who graduated.
“I feel they have been shocked by how a lot I used to be going to push them and the way a lot I’m going to count on from them,” Murr mentioned, “as a result of I do know what they’re able to. However they’ve accepted me, they hearken to me, and so they needed to get used to my vitality a little bit bit. However after that, it was seamless.”
Shaffmaster knew precisely what to anticipate and is a direct beneficiary, as a result of most of the time, Murr’s passes are on the cash.
“She’s a extremely, actually good volleyball participant and in addition has tremendous good vitality,” Shaffmaster mentioned. “She’s capable of join with folks rather well, so folks really feel snug round her figuring out that she has all our backs. If she has to run via a brick wall, she’s gonna do it for us. She raised the extent of our play day by day and each single play.”
Yet another Shaffmaster tie, by the way in which. Her sister, Mabrey, is a junior exterior at North Carolina, an All-ACC first-teamer in 2022. Friday, she had a team-high 12 kills and eight digs in a loss at Michigan.
And, lastly, yet one more volleyball tie: Cassidy Baird, Caitie’s sister, and Kendall Murr, Kylie’s sister, are assistant coaches at Japanese Kentucky. Cassidy, who performed Denver, performed 4 seasons professionally. Kendall performed at Jacksonville and completed at Mississippi State. EKU is 7-2 this season after sweeping Georgia State on Friday.
Oregon (6-1) acquired 20 kills from Mimi Colyer, who had an ace and 15 digs. Gonzales had 18 kills, an help, two aces and 14 digs. Morgan Lewis had 16 kills, 4 blocks and a dig, and Kara McGhee had 12 kills, hit .429, and had an help and 4 blocks. Hannah Pukis had six kills in seven errorless tries, 58 assists, two aces, a block and 14 digs. Georgia Murphy had 16 kills, seven assists and two aces. Oregon hit .262.
Within the nightcap, Stanford (5-1) overpowered Ohio State 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 behind a season-high 13 aces, 5 by Caitie Baird, who additionally had a match-high 15 kills. Baird had one error in 25 assaults to hit .560 and had an help, two blocks and three digs. Elie Rubin, the opposite exterior, had 9 kills, an help, two aces, a block and three digs.
Sami Francis had seven kills in 12 errorless swings, three blocks and a dig. Kendall Kipp had 4 kills however was surprisingly errant and hit unfavorable .118 however had two aces, 4 blocks and three digs. McKenna Vicini had three kills and 5 blocks and Elena Oglivie had 15 digs, two assists and two aces. Kami Miner had two kills in 4 errorless tries, 34 assists, 4 digs and two blocks, two solo, Her workforce hit .302. And freshman Koko Kirsch got here in within the third set and had aces on her first two serves.
Ohio State (3-3), which hit .127, acquired 10 kills from Emily Londot, who had 5 digs. Her teammates mixed for 15 kills as Stanford held a 9-3 benefit in blocks.
Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, Oregon performs Ohio State, adopted by Stanford-Minnesota.