NCAA Women's Volleyball Sweet 16: Stanford, USC advance; Colorado, UCLA, Utah fall

Five Pac-12 teams were in play in the Sweet 16 of the  NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament across the country on Friday. Check back with this blog for updates throughout the day to see how each team fared.

[Related: 2017 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament bracket (NCAA.com)]
 

Stanford

Stanford 3, Wisconsin 1 (Stanford, California)

The reigning champs came out to play, and hold their own they did. Stanford topped Wisconsin, 3-1, with set scores of 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19. Next up? A rematch of last year's National Championship match against Texas.

After dropping the first set, the Card never looked back. Sophomore stud Kathryn Plummer rattled off seven kills in the second set, helping Stanford outhit the Badgers, .471-.270.

All tied up going to the third set, Stanford was cool, calm and collected with phenomenal digs like this one from Morgan Hentz to foil the Wisconsin attack:

The Cardinal wrapped up the competition in the fourth, but not before senior standout Merete Lutz hit a milestone:

With the win, Stanford will face Texas on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. PT.

USC

USC 3, Minnesota 1 (Gainesville, Florida)

The Trojans advanced to the Elite Eight after a dominant performance over No. 7 Minnesota on Friday afternoon. The Trojans held off the Golden Gophers in first set 25-23 behind a strong performance from Brooke Botkin, who had five kills, one block, and hit .455. 

The next set was a nail-biter, with 17 different ties before Khalia Lanier 14th kille closed it out and gave USC the 28-26 victory. 

By then, the Trojans seemed to soak up all the momentum, and cruised to a 25-16 win to advance to the Elite Eight. Lanier finished the match with a team-leading 20 kills, while Reni Meyer-Whalley had 27 assists.

USC will square off against Florida at 3 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. MT on ESPNU. 

UCLA

Florida 3, UCLA 1 (Gainesville, Florida)

UCLA was eliminated on Friday afternoon, falling to No. 2 Florida 3-1. The Bruins took the first set 25-23 behind Reily Buechler's six kills, four digs, and one ace. Sarah Sponcil added ten assists and three digs of her own. 

But the Gators showed why they're No. 2 in the nation, roaring back and winning three straight sets by a score of 25-17. 

The Bruins finish their season 21-11 and extend their Sweet 16 appearance streak to four. 

Colorado

Nebraska 3, Colorado 0 (Lexington, Kentucky)

The Buffs fought hard, but also lost to No. 5 Nebraska in three sets, finishing the season with a 24-10 overall record. Colorado kept it close in the first and third set, falling 19-25 and 21-25, but set two got away from them. The Buffs couldn't overcome a negative hitting percentage (-.024) and dropped the second set 11-25. 

Utah

Texas 3, Utah 2 (Stanford, California)

It was a hard-fought, 5-set match but the Utah Utes fell to Texas, 19-25, 25-16, 26-24, 21-25, 14-16 in Palo Alto. Adora Anae led the Utes with 25 kills and Bri Doehrmann tallied 30 digs.

The Utes stormed back after dropping the first set. Anae knocked down six kills in the second set to top the Longhorns by nine points and didn't look back after the break.

As the Utes tied up the third frame six-all, Anae notched her name to the top of the Utah postseason record book:

The Utes and the Longhorns would tie at 2-2, and need a fifth-set to break the stalemate. Texas would climb to a quick 5-2 lead, but Utah would claw back to 10-10 in the first-to-15 set. The two squads would trade kills, until UT's Yaazie Bedart-Ghani knocked three-straight kills to win the set, 16-14 and ultimately the match.

Utah concluded its season with a 24-10 record.

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