UCLA’s Merrick McHenry, hitting over the GCU triple block, is the MPSF player of the year/Andy J. Gordon photo

Sixth-seeded King upset third-seeded Erskine and fourth-seeded Mount Olive came back to beat fifth-seeded Barton in five as  the Conference Carolinas Championship got underway Tuesday.

More tournaments begin Wednesday, including the MPSF, EIVA and NEC as NCAA Division I-II men’s postseason play is in full swing in anticipation of Sunday’s eight-team bracket announcement.

Conferences also handed out postseason honors and we’ve got the final AVCA regular-season top 20 in this report that offers a conference-by-conference breakdown. Six conferences — Big West, Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA, MPSF and SIAC get automatic bids, leaving two at-large spots up for grabs.

Conference Carolinas

Mount Olive (17-9) now faces top-seeded Belmont Abbey (19-4) on Friday before King (7-20) plays second-seeded North Greenville (14-8) in the semifinals. 

Justin Gregory had a career-high 26 kills and hit .548 as Mount Olive beat visiting Barton 20-25, 25-11, 21-26, 25-27, 15-9. Gregory had three errors in 42 attacks, an ace, five blocks and six digs. The Trojans’ Hayden Frear had 12 kills, hit .400, and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and nine digs. 

Barton’s season ended 12-13 after the Bulldogs hit .096. Brandon Johnston led with 12 kills.

Belmont Abbey swept North Greenville on February 17 and swept the Trojans on March 22.

Visiting King won 22-25, 25-21, 27-25, 27-25 after Erskine swept both their regular-season meetings. Warren Davis had 23 kills with one error in 42 attacks to hit .524 and had three assists and 10 digs. AJ Drooker had 14 kills and Kellan Kennedy 10, hitting .467. King had lost five in a row to end the regular season

Erskine’s season ended 13-11 despite 19 kills from Pablo Zamar, who hit .361, and Edgerrin Austin, who had 18 kills, hitting .325 with five blocks.

Belmont Abbey won both regular-season meetings with King, in five on February 20 and in a sweep on April 6. 


The conference tournament begins Wednesday with three matches at USC:

Second-seeded Grand Canyon (22-4) vs. No. 7 Concordia Irvine (6-18), No. 3. BYU (16-8) vs. No. 6 USC (12-14) and No. 4 Stanford (13-11) vs. fifth-seeded Pepperdine (17-10). 

The lowest remaining seed gets top-seeded UCLA (22-24) on Thursday and the other winners play each other. The final is Saturday. 

ALL-MPSF: UCLA senior middle Merrick McHenry is the conference player of the year and Pepperdine middle Ethan Watson is the top freshman. 

Read the MPSF news release and see the team lists here.


The tournament at Penn State begins Wednesday with third-seeded Princeton (12-11) playing sixth-seeded Charleston (12-15) and No. 5 Harvard (11-12) facing fourth-seeded NJIT (11-14)

The Harvard-NJIT winner gets top-seeded Penn State (21-6), which went 10-0 in the league. George Mason (17-9) awaits the Princeton-Charleston winner.

ALL-EIVA: The player of the year is Penn State’s John Kerr. Read the EIVA story here. 

Penn State had four players on the all-EIVA first team and two more on the second. Read the EIVA story here.

Mark Pavlik of Penn State is the coach of the year.


The semifinals are Thursday when top-seeded Ball State plays fourth-seeded Lindenwood and second-seeded Loyola Chicago plays third-seeded Ohio State. All four won quarterfinal matches this past Saturday.

ALL-MIVA: Loyola Chicago’s Parker Van Buren is the player of the year, teammate Daniel Fabikovic is the top newcomer and Ball State’s Donan Cruz is the coach of the year.

Read the MIVA news release here that includes the all-conference teams. 

Big West

The Big West Championship starts Thursday at Hawai’i with No. 4 UC San Diego playing fifth-seeded CSUN and third-seeded Hawai’i facing No. 6 UC Santa Barbara. Friday, the UCSD-CSUN winner gets top-seeded Long Beach State and the UH-UCSB winner gets No. 2 UC Irvine.


The league tournament starts Thursday at Edward Waters in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Fifth-seeded Benedict plays fourth-seeded Kentucky State and then sixth-seeded Morehouse plays third-seeded Central State. Later Thursday, the Benedict-KSU winner plays top-seeded Fort Valley State and then the Morehouse-CSU winner gets No. 2 Edward Waters. 


The NEC does not get an automatic NCAA bid.

The tournament begins Wednesday with third-seeded LIU vs. sixth-seeded Sacred Heart and No. 4 FDU playing fifth-seeded Merrimack. Thursday, the LIU-SH winner gets second-seeded Daemen and the FDU-Merrimack winner plays top-seeded SFU, which went 12-0 in the regular season.

ALL-NEC: Nathan Zini of Saint Francis (PA) is the player of the year and teammate Peyton Blain is the defensive player of the year. Ondrej Arabasz of Daemen is the top freshman. SFU’s Mike Rumbaugh is the coach of the year.

Read the NEC news release here.


TOP 20: UCLA is No. 1 again, trading places with now-No. 2 Long Beach State. UC Irvine moved up a spot to third, trading places with now-No. 3 Grand Canyon. Hawai’i stayed No. 5. 

There were no major jumps or falls. Purdue Fort Wayne dropped out and UC San Diego is back in at No. 20.

See the complete AVCA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Poll here.

POW: The honor went to Grand Canyon’s Camden Gianni. The senior opposite averaged 4.66 kills per set while hitting .470 in back-to-back sweeps of Pepperdine. He also averaged 1.16 digs. He is the first GCU player to win the award this season.


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