UCI’s Hilir Henno and Alaka’i Todd of Hawai’i joust/UCI photo

Fort Valley State is going to the NCAA’s National Collegiate Men’s Championship.

The Wildcats, who breezed through the SIAC with a 10-0 regular-season record, won that conference’s tournament Friday by sweeping Central State to claim the SIAC’s historical first automatic NCAA bid.

Five more automatic bids will be earned Saturday with tournament championships in the Big West, Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF.

The remaining two spots will be filled with at-large bids when the NCAA bracket is announced Sunday.

In the Pro Volleyball Federation on Friday, the Columbus Fury broke the first-place Atlanta Vibe’s six-match winning streak as Kendall Kipp had 25 kills, 11 digs, four blocks — three solo — and two aces. There is one PVF match Saturday when the San Diego Mojo play at the Omaha Supernovas.

Fort Valley State wins the SIAC


Fort Valley State (17-8) thumped Central State (9-27) 25-21, 25-17, 25-15. 

Isaiah Fedd had 13 kills, an assist, an ace, a block and two digs. Chey Cooper added 10 kills, hit .368, and had two assists, three aces, a block and 13 digs. FVSU hit .253 and had nine aces and only four serving errors. 

This is the third year of the SIAC but the first year the league gets an NCAA bid.

Central State, which hit .127 and had two aces and six errors, got 17 of their 32 kills from Tyrone Sands. He had an ace, two blocks and 10 digs.

UCI’s Hilir Henno hits through the Hawai’i block/UCI photo

Big West: Long Beach vs. UCI

Top-seeded Long Beach State (24-2) plays second-seeded UC Irvine (19-9) at Hawai’i. 

The winner gets the Big West’s automatic bid, but the loser is almost assuredly going to be one of the two at-large recipients.

They split back-to-back matches just a week ago to end the regular season, with UCI sweeping at home on April 6 and then Long Beach doing the same a day later.

Friday, Long Beach State knocked out fifth-seeded CSUN 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22 as Clarke Godbold tied his season high with 18 kills. Godbold hit .368 and had an ace, a block and a dig. Sotiris Siapanis had 13 kills, hit .360, and had two assists, two aces, two blocks and six digs. Skyler Varga had 12 kills with two errors in 24 attacks to hit .417 and had two blocks and five digs. Simon Torwie had six kills, hit .364, and had seven blocks, two solo. Long Beach hit .358 and had three aces and 16 errors.

CSUN, which ended its season 13-16, hit .252 and had five aces and 15 serving errors. Jalen Phillips capped his outstanding season with 19 kills, two blocks and five digs. Kyle Hobus and Griffin Walters had 13 kills each.

UC Irvine battled to a 26-24, 36-34, 25-15 victory over third-seeded Hawai’i, which most likely ended its season 23-7. The Rainbow Warriors, 18-2 at home before Friday, played the end of the season without leading attack Spyros Chakas and went 6-6 in their last 12 matches.

UCI, which hit .376 and had six aces and 10 errors, fought off nine Hawai’i set points in the second set. Hilir Henno had a big-time night with 24 kills and one error in 45 attacks to hit .511 and added two assists, an ace, two blocks and five digs. Akhil Tangutur had nine kills in 21 errorless swings, two assists, two ace and eight digs. Setter Brett Sheward had a kill in his only attempt, 38 assists, an ace, two blocks and 10 digs.

Hawai’i got 12 kills from Louis Sakanoko, who had an assist, an ace and five digs.  Keoni Thiim had 11 kills, hit .375, and had two assists and eight digs. Chaz Galloway and Guilherme Voss had nine kills each. Galloway had one error in 15 attacks, two blocks and five digs. Voss hit .353 and had a block and three digs. Hawaii hit .315 and had four aces and 19 errors.

Conference Carolinas: Belmont Abbey vs. N. Greenville

The top two seeds, No. 1 Belmont Abbey and No. 2 North Greenville, will play for the title in North Charleston, South Carolina. North Greenville won their first regular-season meeting, in four on February 6, but at Belmont Abbey on February 27 the Crusaders in turn won at home. The winner gets the conference’s automatic NCAA bid.

Belmont Abbey (20-4) hit .420 and came away with a 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 sweep of Mount Olive, which ended its season 17-10). The Crusaders, who have won eight in a row, were led by Zach Puentes, who had 17 kills, hit .375, and had a block and six digs. Jibriel Elhaddad had 11 kills with no errors in 14 attacks and three blocks, and Matthew Staskunas had seven kills, an assist, three aces, a block and nine digs. Belmont Abbey had three aces and 12 errors.

Mount Olive, which hit .250 and had five aces and 15 errors, got 13 kills from Justin Gregory. He hit .333 and had two aces and seven digs.

North Greenville (14-8), which has won six in a row, beat King 22-25, 25-15, 25-16, 27-25. 

Diego Rosich led a balanced attack with 16 kills, hitting .419, to go with an ace, two blocks and four digs. Logan Keothavy had 13 kills, two assists, an ace, three blocks and five digs. Mark Autry had 12 kills, hit .348 and had an assist, an ace, six blocks and a dig, and Michael de la Cruz had nine kills, an assist, an ace and three blocks. Nicholas Rudge had six kills with one error in eight attacks, an assist, two aces, six block and seven digs. North Greenville hit .342 and had seven aces and 18 errors.

Sixth-seeded King, which upset third-seeded Erskine in the semifinals, ended its season 7-21. Warren Davis had 13 kills and Kellan Kennedy 10.

EIVA: Penn State vs. George Mason

Top-seeded Penn State (22-6), which went through the EIVA regular-season 10-0, plays second-seeded George Mason (18-9). Host Penn State is 14-0 at home this season.

The two finalists played just a week ago, with Penn State winning in five on April 12 and then in four last Saturday. 

Penn State advanced to the title match with a four-set win over Harvard on Thursday, and Mason swept Charleston. The winner gets the EIVA’s automatic NCAA bid.

MIVA: Ohio State vs. Lindenwood

This is the surprise league, where third-seeded Ohio State (21-8) plays fourth-seeded Lindenwood (16-11) at Ball State for the MIVA’s automatic bid.

Ohio State beat Lewis in the quarterfinals before knocking off Loyola Chicago in the semifinals Thursday. 

Lindenwood, which has won eight in a row, swept Purdue Fort Wayne before ousting top-seeded Ball State on its home court in an up-and-down five setter, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11.

Ohio State beat visiting Lindenwood in four on February 4.

Linden in turn beat the visiting Buckeyes in four on March 30.

MPSF: UCLA vs. Grand Canyon

Top-seeded UCLA (23-4), which went 11-1 in the regular-season and is on a 12-match winning streak, plays second-seeded Grand Canyon (24-4). 

The defending national-champion Bruins are coming a sweep of USC. GCU beat Stanford in four. In the regular season, UCLA beat the Lopes in back-to-back home matches April 5. UCLA swept the first night, but won in five the next.

The winner gets the MPSF automatic bid. If GCU wins, UCLA will assuredly get an at-large bid and if UCLA wins, GCU is likely to get one along with the Big West tourney loser. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here