Hawaii was stung on its home court as CSUN pulled off a huge Big West upset, BYU doubled down at Pepperdine and the MIVA produced fireworks on a busy Saturday of NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball.

Jon Diedrich of Purdue Fort Wayne exploded for 38 kills, the high for the season in men’s college ball, but his heavy lifting couldn’t get his Mastodons over the hump in a five-set defeat to MIVA pacesetter Ball State.

The MIVA also saw a ranked upset as McKendree, 18th in the AVCA coaches poll, swept Loyola Chicago, which had risen to 11th in the weekly rankings.

But arguably the biggest development of the day came off the court in the women’s Pro Volleyball Federation.

The Columbus Fury signed superstar outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, the first member of the USA Olympic gold-medal-winning team from the 2021 Tokyo Games landed by the startup league.

No matches are scheduled on Sunday in NCAA men’s volleyball. On Monday, Lincoln Memorial (16-5) entertains fellow independent Missouri S&T (10-10).

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley during the Tokyo Olympics/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

PVF: Fury add Bartsch-Hackley, Perovic

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, 34, had stepped away from competitive volleyball after finishing the 2022 season with the VakıfBank Istanbul club in the Turkish League, and worked as an assistant coach under Jen Flynn Oldenburg at Ohio State during the 2023 campaign. She also had served in a coaching and advisory capacity with the Fury.

Although League One Volleyball, which will launch its regular season in January of 2025, has ballyhooed the signings of a number of members of the 2021 USA Olympic team, Bartsch-Hackley represents a significant breakthrough addition for the Pro Volleyball Federation.

The gaudy and lengthy resume for the former Illinois great includes being named co-Best Outside Hitter (with teammate Jordan Larson) in the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the MVP and Best Hitter of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Even after a break of roughly two years, the 6-foot-3 Bartsch-Hackley quickly figures to make an impact as the Fury (4-5), who have lost three in a row, continue to reshape their roster. Coach Angel Perez said, “We expect great things,” from a player who ranked among the most feared hitters in the world not that long ago.

“Everybody knows what Michelle brings to the table,” Perez said in a team release. “She is an Olympic gold medalist, has played in the best leagues in the world with the best clubs in the world.

“She was a champion in the Champions League in Europe, and a member of the USA national team (since 2015). She is a proven winner, understands the game of volleyball like few people do, and will bring a lot of experience to a young group.”

Perez recently sent the Fury’s first-round picks in the 2025 and 2026 college drafts to the Atlanta Vibe for setter Tori Stringer. On Saturday, the team also signed veteran international star Natalia Perovic, a 6-foot-4 opposite from Montenegro with deep experience in top-level leagues.

To make room for the additions, the Fury placed outside hitter Maria Schlegel, 30, and opposite Ashley Wenz on waivers. Neither had been particularly productive in reserve roles.

The Fury’s remaining pin hitters include true rookie Reagan Cooper, a second-round draft pick (14th overall) who has enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 16.11 kills per match while attacking at .226 efficiency.

Veteran Megan Courtney-Lush, 30, who came out of retirement to join the PVF, has been hit-or-miss in seven matches, with a high of 14 kills and a .134 hitting percentage. Courtney-Lush’s passing has been spot-on, however, with 41% of her 140 receptions rated as perfect. Megan has played as a libero at the international level, so a switch to that position might be forthcoming.

True rookie Jenaisya Moore, a fourth-round choice (28th overall), has more attacking errors (14) than kills (11) over 14 sets in seven matches. Samantha Drechsel has been the Fury’s main starter at opposite, but has hit just .112 on 179 swings. Perovic, 29, seems destined to claim that job, particularly in light of the productivity of veteran international opposites Emiliya Dimitrova (Grand Rapid Rise) and Anna Lazareva (Vibe). Both have been named PVF players of the week.

Perez can go four deep at middle hitter when true rookie Asjia O’Neal (the first player picked in the PVF draft), Rainelle Jones, Kaitlyn Hord and Jenna Rosenthal are healthy. The hitch has been that O’Neal has played in only four matches because of an ankle injury. Rosenthal spent a month on the short-term injured reserve list and has appeared in only five sets over two matches. O’Neal has demonstrated flashes of brilliance when she has been on the court and has attacked at a .380 clip on 71 swings.

Perez said that he expects Bartsch-Hackley’s institutional knowledge “will help with the development of Reagan, Jenaisya, Sam and all of our young middles.”

The Fury might debut its new look on Sunday in a matinee (2 p.m. Eastern start) at Nationwide Arena in Columbus against the first-place Vibe (9-3), who are on a five-match roll. Over the weekend, the Vibe activated star OH Alli Linnehan from the injured list and placed true rookie OH Kaycie Evans on waivers, with the intent of returning her to the practice squad if she isn’t claimed by another team.

Also in the PVF on Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern, the Vegas Thrill (5-7) entertain the last-place San Diego Mojo (2-6).

Saturday’s NCAA men

BIG WEST: No. 2 Hawaii (18-4, 1-3) tasted defeat for only the fourth time in 57 home matches over the last four seasons, with a stunned crowd of 6,839 at Stan Sheriff Center witnessing the 25-23, 25-16, 22-25, 25-11 victory by No. 18 CSUN (10-11, 1-3).

The Matadors had dropped a four-setter there the night before, but this time they held the Rainbow Warriors, who have attacked at a nation’s-best .368 percentage, to .240 hitting. After getting burned by the middles in the first match, CSUN limited Guillerme Voss and Kurt Nusterer to a combined six kills against two errors in 11 swings. Senior OH Chaz Galloway hit .083 (four kills with three errors on 12 attacks. Hawaii might still be searching for the 4.17 kills per set lost when All-American Spyros Chakas went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Conversely, the Matadors cracked at a robust .387 clip in a balanced attack. Jalen Phillips (17 kills), Griffin Walters (15 kills) and Kyle Hobus (11 kills, six blocks) all hit at least .346. Jano Tello pounded seven kills on 10 errorless swings.

“It was a big win tonight and we had some incredible performances,” Matadors coach Theo Edwards said. “Kyle was absolutely terrific and (setter) Donovan (Constable) played probably the best match of his short career. Jalen was on fire, Jano was absolutely electric, and Griffin played great.”

MPSF: Seventh-ranked BYU (13-7, 4-4) needed all of Luke Benson’s 26 kills and five blocks to stave off No. 8 Pepperdine (16-7, 4-5) 23-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19, 15-7. Before a crowd of 1,263 in Malibu, the visiting Cougars took the second end of a weekend series sweep, both victories coming in tense five-setters.

BYU notched the last five points of the tiebreaker. Benson, a 6-foot-7 junior, got his career-high kills total on 41 swings with five errors, hitting .512. Middle blocker Gavin Julien contributed seven kills and 11 blocks (two solo).

Cole Ketrzynski led the Waves with 19 kills, an ace, nine digs and four blocks.

MIVA: No. 12 Ball State (17-8, 10-2) pushed its lead at the top of the league standings to two matches over idle 10th-ranked Ohio State. But the Cardinals were pressed to the limit by host Purdue Fort Wayne (11-10, 5-7) and one-man gang Jon Diedrich during a titanic 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 27-29, 15-11 tussle.

Fifth-year senior OH Diedrich racked up 38 kills, the most in an NCAA match this season and tops by a PFW player since 2011. Diedrich compiled his total on 73 attempts against four errors, a mind-boggling .466 percentage. He added two aces, six digs and three blocks. Bryce Walker had four of the Mastodons’ nine aces.

But it wasn’t enough. Kills by Tinaishe Ndavazocheva, who enjoyed a big night with 25, scored the 14th and 15th points of the tiebreaker for Ball State. Ndavazocheva’s 25 came on 55 attacks with five errors. Ryan Bartz contributed 14 kills, playing in four sets.

Meanwhile, a seven-match winning streak by No. 11 Loyola Chicago (15-9, 9-4) screeched to an abrupt halt when No. 18 McKendree (14-8, 8-5) took down the Ramblers 26-24, 25-18, 25-21. The host Bearcats dialed up nine aces, three by Tyler Tripp (12 kills, nine digs, three blocks), and shut down Loyola’s go-to hitter, 6-foot-9 Parker Van Buren, who logged four kills against three errors.

Also, Daniel Haber and Max Roquet each collected 10 kills as No. 14 Lewis (14-11, 7-5) swept at Queens (5-10, 2-10). … Visiting Lindenwood (10-11, 6-7) ground out a five-set triumph over spunky Quincy (5-15, 1-12), 15-13 in the fifth, The Lions attacked at .419 efficiency and got 19 kills from Ian Schuller, offsetting 23 kills by the Hawks’ Raje Alleyne.

EIVA: No. 15 Princeton (10-9, 3-3) took care of business on the road against last-place New Jersey Institute of Technology (8-12, 0-5) 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 25-15 in the lone conference match. Ben Harrington led the way with 16 kills, six aces and five blocks. … No. 17 George Mason (13-7) swept visiting independent Tusculum (6-18) for the second time in two days. Omar Hoyas loomed large again with 15 kills, an ace, eight digs and three blocks. … Harvard (11-6) won in four over ECC visitor Dominican (10-10) as Zach Berty went off for 20 kills on 27 errorless attacks, five aces and seven digs. … Host Charleston (10-10) needed five to put away NAIA member Georgetown (17-5) of Kentucky, 15-11 in the tiebreaker.

CONFERENCE CAROLINAS: A road sweep by Belmont Abbey (14-4, 9-1) and a five-set home-court stumble by Mount Olive (13-8, 6-4) allowed the Crusaders to gain separation from the Trojans. Belmont Abbey’s 25-14, 25-23, 25-21 victory at Barton (10-9, 5-5) was helped by 13 kills each from Zach Puentes and Matthew Staskunas and the hosts’ .046 hitting. … Mount Olive fell in five (15-9 in the tiebreaker) to North Greenville (9-8, 7-3), which moved into second place in the league. Kory Grant cracked 13 kills and middle blocker Maksim Kazanov posted six kills on nine errorless swings and nine blocks (one solo) for the visiting Crusaders. … Erskine (11-8, 7-3) swept upstreaming host Lees-McRae (1-22, 0-10) and also is in second in the standings, two games behind Belmont Abbey. … King (5-16, 3-7) won in three tight sets over visiting Emmanuel (8-15, 3-7).

NEC: Host Saint Francis (14-8, 6-0) handled Daemen (13-5, 6-2) for the second day in a row, again prevailing in four sets. The Red Flash enjoyed advantages of 11-6 in blocks and 7-4 in aces. … Host Long Island U. (11-11, 5-3) swept Sacred Heart (7-15, 2-6) as Livan Moreno logged eight kills, .636 hitting and two aces. … Fairleigh Dickinson (8-11, 2-4) won in three over Merrimack (7-11, 2-4), limiting the visitors to minus-.012 hitting.

ACROSS THE NATION: In an ECC match, Saint Thomas Aquinas (7-12, 3-1) topped host Roberts Wesleyan (6-13, 1-3) in four sets with Gabriel Viera picking up 21 kills. … Behind Luke Duncan’s 19 kills, 12 digs and four blocks, visiting Thomas Moore (12-11) stunned fellow independent Maryville (19-5) in a five-setter (15-8 in the tiebreaker). …

In the SIAC, Fort Valley State (10-7, 5-0) crunched Edward Waters (6-12, 3-1), outpointing the visiting Tigers 75-35.

The post Pro Volleyball Federation’s Fury signs Olympian Bartsch-Hackley; CSUN men upset Hawai’i appeared first on Volleyballmag.com.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here