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Brief Observations on NCAA Women's Sweet Sixteen Day (2019)

It was a day of upsets and near-upsets and the NCAA women's field winnowed from 16 to eight teams. No. 2 seed Texas dropped the first two games to Louisville, won the next two to even things up, and then fell to the Cardinals in Game 5, 15-12. Three other matches went the distance, with the higher-seeded team prevailing in each case.

Utah had given Stanford trouble in the regular season, never winning a match from the Cardinal, but going five games on October 20 and four on November 22. Friday's NCAA match-up was no different, as Stanford and Utah battled five games, the Cardinal prevailing 15-11 in the decider. Here at VolleyMetrics, we've been keeping an eye on Kathryn Plummer's heavy swing volume for Stanford. Friday night, she registered one of best performances of the season, hitting .389 on 29 kills and 8 attack errors in 54 attempts.

Two other five-game survivors were No. 7 Minnesota over No. 10 Florida, and No. 11 Penn State over unseeded Cincinnati.

Top-seeded Baylor has eliminated No. 16-seed Purdue in today's opening match, 25-12, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17 (stat sheet). To me, the big story was Baylor's offensive depth. With junior outside-hitter Yossiana Pressley, this season's Big 12 Player of the Year, hitting a subpar .194 on 15 kills and 8 errors in 36 attack attempts (she hit .275 on the season), the Bears more than made up for it with strong hitting performances by Gia Milana (.500, 13-3-20), Marieke van der Mark (.464, 16-3-28), and Shelly Stafford (.421, 9-1-19).

Saturday's match-ups, with trips to the Final Four on the line, include: Baylor-Washington, Wisconsin-Nebraska, Stanford-Penn State, and Minnesota-Louisville.

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