Marin Grote of Grand Rapids blasts through the Atlanta block of Anna Lazareva, left, and Shelly Fanning/Rise photo

The Pro Volleyball Federation leads off this report that includes NCAA men’s volleyball, NCAA beach volleyball, and the AVCA news of the week.

Skylar Fields, second in the NCAA in kills last season for USC and coming off her first pro season, has signed with the Orlando Valkyries. Fields, a versatile pin hitter who reunites with Orlando head coach Amy Pauly, who was an assistant at USC, will give the Valkyries a much-needed offense boost.

In PVF action the past two days, the first-place Atlanta Vibe won in four sets Monday at the Grand Rapids Rise and then Tuesday the sixth-place San Diego Mojos surprised the second-place Omaha Supernovas in four.

Pro Volleyball Federation

Skylar Fields in 2023/USC Athletics

ORLANDO SIGNS FIELDS: Fields, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter who also played right side during her first three years of college at Texas, led USC in kills the past two seasons. The high-jumping, hard-hitting product of Missouri City, Texas, played for UYBA Volley Busto Arsizio in Italy the past three months.

“The addition of Skylar comes at a perfect time for our team,” Pauly said. “As we head into the back half of the season and make our run for the playoffs, Skylar will be a valuable new piece to our puzzle and one that will help us tremendously.

“She’s a two-way player with experience on both pins, having played outside in college and getting international experience as an opposite in Italy. She brings instant fire power along with a championship mentality.”

Orlando put Melissa Evans on waivers to make room for Fields

Fields, a first-team All-American who played in 30 of USC’s 32 matches last season, finished the NCAA season with 617 kills, 15 behind Kayley Cassaday of Tulsa.

Evansville’s Giula Cardona led the NCAA at 5.34 kills per set, Fields was second in that category, too, at 5.14, tied with Cassaday, who played in 33 matches. 

We featured Fields last November:

VIBE 3, RISE 1: Atlanta (12-4) won 25-23, 25-10, 18-25, 25-23 at Grand Rapids (6-7) as Leah Edmond had 21 kills and Anna Lazareva 18. Edmond, who hit .450, had 13 digs and six blocks, four solo. Lazareva had 16 digs and six blocks, two solo. Leketor Member-Meneh had six kills, an ace, 13 digs and two blocks, one solo, and Shelly Fanning had six kills, two digs and nine blocks, three solo. Marlie Monserez had 45 assists, nine digs, four block assists and three kills.

The Rise were led by Emiliya Dimitrova, who had 20 of her team’s 43 kills (Atlanta had 58), to go with 13 digs and a block assist. Claire Chausee had nine kills but seven errors, two aces, seven digs and two blocks, one solo. 

Atlanta’s Anna Lazareva cuts the shot past Symone Abbott, left, and Marin Grote of Grand Rapids/Rise photo

MOJO 3, OMAHA 1: San Diego (4-7) came away with a 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 victory over visiting Omaha (10-5), which fell out of a first-place tie in the loss column. 

Temi Thomas-Ailara led with 22 kills, 17 digs and 12 block assist. Kendra Dahlke added 17 kills and had an ace, 11 digs and six blocks, two solo. Valeria Papa had 13 kills, an ace, 15 digs and six blocks, one solo. Nootsara Tomkom had 51 assists, 20 digs, a kill, an ace and seven block assists.

Omaha got half of its offensive production from Bethania De La Cruz, who had a franchise-record 26 kills, hitting .481, and added 13 digs, three blocks, an assist and her league-leading 24th ace of the season. Her teammates combined for 26 kills.

HILLEY IS PVF POW: The league’s player of the week is Omaha setter Sydney Hilley. Hilley averaged 12.2 assists for seven sets, victories over Grand Rapids and Vegas. In the two matches, she had 26 digs and totaled six kills.

THIS WEEK: The Columbus Fury go to Omaha on Thursday, on Saturday the Valkyries are at Grand Rapids, and Sunday Columbus is at San Diego. The Orlando-Grand Rapids match will be the league’s first on the CBS Sports Network cable network. All other matches have been streamed on YouTube.

NCAA men

UP NEXT: There are three matches Wednesday. In Conference Carolinas matches, first-place Belmont Abbey (15-4, 10-1) plays host to last-place Lees-McRae (1-24, 0-11), which has lost 18 in a row. Second-place North Greenville (11-8, 8-3) tries to keep pace when its is home for King (6-16, 4-7).  The SIAC’s Fort Valley State plays a non-league match against Reinhardt.

Thursday’s schedule includes four MIVA matches, including first-place Ball State (18-9, 11-3), which holds a one-game lead over idle No. 12 Loyola Chicago (17-9, 11-4), playing host to last-place Quincy , which has lost 16 in a row.

Also in the MIVA,No. 18 McKendree (14-9, 8-6) goes to No. 10 Ohio State (17-8, 10-5), No. 14 Lewis (15-12, 8-6) is at newly ranked No. 20 Purdue Fort Wayne (12-11, 6-8) and Lindenwood (11-11, 7-7) goes to Queens (9-17, 2-12).  

Daemen of the NEC plays at Roberts Wesleyan of the ECC and independent Maryville is at the SIAC’s Central State.

AVCA POLL: Long Beach State (20-1) remained a unanimous No. 1 and got all 23 first-place votes. UCLA stayed No. 2, but Grand Canyon and Hawai’i moved up a spot each to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, while UC Irvine dropped two spots to No. 5. 

UC Santa Barbara dropped out and Purdue Fort Wayne is in at No. 20, ranked for the first time since February 5.

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

AVCA POW: The national player of the week is George Mason’s Jack Bolz. The 6-foot-7 senior opposite from Park Ridge, Illinois, averaged 3.89 kills per set for the Patriots in victories over Sacred Heart and Princeton.

SACRED HEART RETURNS: Sacred Heart, which was a member of the EIVA from 1993-2022 before heading to the NEC, will rejoin the EIVA in 2025. The EIVA currently has six teams. 

“We are very happy to have Sacred Heart coming back to the EIVA,” commissioner Russ Yurk said in a news release. “With the school’s long membership previously, there was already a lot of familiarity. Combining that with their plans for the future, there was very little debate among our coaches about the decision.”

Click here for the complete EIVA news release.

EIVA HONORS SHAYKA: Ron Shayka will be the only EIVA Hall of Fame inductee this year.

Shayka was an outside hitter for Penn State from 1978-81, a coach at a variety of levels, an administrator for nearly 40 years at George Mason and for eight years served as the EIVA’s president. He will be honored during the EIVA Championship Tournament April 17-20.

NCAA beach

AVCA POLL: After both teams went 4-0 at LSU’s Death Volley Invitational last weekend, UCLA and Stanford moved into the top two spots in the AVCA Collegiate Poll.

UCLA went up a notch to No. 1 and got 15 of the 23 first-place votes. Stanford is up a spot to No. 2 — its highest ranking ever — and got five first-place votes. USC dropped two spots to No. 3 and got the other three first=place votes.

Florida State, now No. 4, traded places with TCU. Cal Poly is up a spot to No. 7, LSU, which went 1-3 last weekend but upset USC, is up two spots to No. 10.

No one dropped out. Click here for the complete poll. 

AVCA POW: The national beach pair of the week is UCLA’s Natalie Myszkowski and Ensley Alden of UCLA, who went 4-0 on court 5 for UCLA last weekend. Myszkowski, 6-foot junior from Manhattan Beach, California, and Alden, a 5-10 freshman from Vista, California, did not lose a set as they beat pairs from Florida State, TCU, FAU and LSU. 

THIS WEEK: Among the top-ranked teams, USC (21-3), UCLA (19-4), Stanford (18-2) and Cal (15-7) go to Seattle for the Pac-12 North Invitational. 

LSU (13-8) goes to a tournament at No. 19 Georgia State that includes No. 17 Stetson.

FSU (20-5) is at home for a gathering that includes FAU (12-11), and TCU (19-5) has its own tournament that includes Texas and Hawai’i. Cal Poly (21-2), with losses only to UCLA and USC, has a home match with No. 9 Long Beach State (18-4) on Saturday.


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