UCI’s triple block of Nolan Flexen, Connor Campbell and William D’Arcy deny LBSU’s Skyler Varga/Jim Wolf photo

UC Irvine served notice that the Big West is anything but decided as the fourth-ranked Anteaters not only won, they swept visiting Long Beach State on Friday to set up a winner-take-all, regular-season-ending match Saturday at Long Beach between the conference leaders. 

Penn State had to go five, but the No. 10 Nittany Lions beat visiting George Mason in five to wrap up the EIVA regular-season title. 

Line of the night: UC Santa Barbara’s Geste Bianchi had 27 kills, hit .440, and had three aces, a block and three digs in a four-set win over CSUN.

In the Pro Volleyball Federation, San Diego Mojo beat the Columbus Fury in five sets to put themselves into the hunt for the fourth playoff spot. 

Recaps and top performances follow, but first Saturday’s schedule.

In NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball, the showdown at Long Beach State starts at 7 p.m. Pacific and can be seen on ESPN+. Also in the Big West, Hawai’i is back at UC San Diego after winning there Friday, and UC Santa Barbara plays CSUN.

The eight-team MIVA Tournament begins Saturday with matches at the higher seeds: No. 1 Ball State vs. No. 8 Queens, No. 2 Loyola Chicago vs No. 7 McKendree, No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Lewis and No. 4 Lindenwood vs. No. 5 Purdue Fort Wayne. 

Second-ranked UCLA, which has already won the MPSF regular-season title, is home for last-place Concordia Irvine. USC goes back to Stanford after getting swept there on Friday. 

The EIVA shows Mason back at Penn State, NJIT at Harvard and Charleston at Princeton.

In the NEC, Saint Francis (PA) is home for FDU, Sacred Heart is at Daemen and Merrimack is at D’Youville.

The two ECC matches have American International at St. Thomas Aquinas and Roberts Wesleyan at Dominican.

After Lincoln Memorial swept Tusculum, the top-seeded Railsplitters play third-seeded Thomas More for the IVA title. Thomas More got past Maryville in five.

There are two PVF matches when the second-place Omaha Supernovas try to close the gap at the first-place Atlanta Vibe and the Vegas Thrill play at the Grand Rapids Rise.

Want to watch a match? If it’s being shown, we have the viewing link in our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.

NCAA men

Long Beach’s Skyler Varga goes into the VIP section to keep the point alive/Jim Wolf photo

BIG WEST: UC Irvine (18-8, 7-2) was 4-4 in its previous eight matches, including a split two weekends ago with CSUN and again last weekend with No. 5 Hawai’i. Long Beach State (18-8, 7-2) had won 12 in a row. But Friday, the Anteaters dominated 25-17, 25-21, 25-21.

Hilir Henno led with 14 kills, hit ..370, and had two assists, a block and seven digs. William D’Arcy had 13 kills with one error in 16 attacks to hit .750 and had an ace, three blocks and four digs. Brett Sheward had 39 assists, a block and five digs. His team hit .397 and had six aces — three by Maxim Grigoriev, who had eight kills with one error in 11 swings.

Long Beach, which hit .273 and had three aces and 13 errors, got nine kills from Sotiris Siapanis. He had one error in 22 attacks to hit .364 and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and four digs. Clarke Godbold had eight kills, hit .375, and had an assist, an ace, two blocks and three digs … 

UC Santa Barbara (9-16, 2-7) beat visiting CSUN (11-5, 2-7) as Gesti Bianchi had 27 kills in the 26-28, 25-21, 25-14, 25-19 victory. Bianchi hit .440 and had three aces, a block and three digs. Ben Coordt had 13 kills, hit .455, and also had three aces, a block and five digs. Jaden Glenn had 14 digs and an assist. The Gauchos hit .394 and had 14 aces and 20 errors. Jalen Phillips led CSUN with 16 kills, hitting .500, and Kyle Hobus had 15 kills …

Hawai’i (22-5, 5-4) won 25-20, 25-16, 12-25, 25-20 at UCSD (11-14, 3-6) behind 15 kills from Alaka’i Todd, 11 from Keoni Thiim and 10 from Louis Sakanoko, who had three aces. UCSD’s Anthony Cherfan had 16 kills, hitting .406 … 

EIVA: Penn State (20-6, 9-0) won the regular-season title, hitting .418 as it beat second-place George Mason (17-8, 6-3), which needed to win both matches at State College to force a tie. 

Penn State, which has won 37 EIVA regular-season matches in a row, got 23 kills from John Kerr, who hit .524 in the 22-25, 25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13 victory. Kerr had one error in 42 attacks, an assist, an ace, four blocks and seven digs. Toby Ezeonu had 13 kills with one error in 17 attacks to go with an ace, two digs, and three blocks, one solo. Owen Rose also had 13 kills and just one error, but he took 20 swings and added an assist, seven blocks and a dig. Michal Kowal had six kills with one error in 16 attacks, an ace, 11 digs and two blocks, one solo. Michael Schwob had two kills, 48 assists, an ace, three digs and three blocks, one solo. Mason’s Jack Bolz had 19 kills and Omar Hoyos 13 to go with six of his team’s eight aces and seven digs … 

Visiting Charleston (12-14, 3-6) hit .132 but still upset No. 17 Princeton (11-11, 4-5) as four players had eight or more kills in the 25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12 victory. Felipe Mendes led with 10 kills, an ace, three blocks and seven digs. Princeton’s Nyherowo Omene had 22 kills, hit .362, and had four aces, four blocks and two digs … 

NJIT (10-14, 2-7) won in five at Harvard (11-11, 3-6) as Carson Williams had 18 kills, hit .387, and had an assist, two aces, a block and two digs. Andrew Fedmasu had 16 kills with one error in 19 attacks to hit .789 and had three aces, three blocks and a dig in the 25-23, 24-26, 21-25, 2725, 15-11 victory. Harvard’s Logan Shepherd had 13 kills, an assist, two aces, four blocks and two digs. Ethan Smith had 11 blocks — one solo — 10 kills in 13 errorless swings, three assists, an ace and three digs.

MPSF: Third-ranked Grand Canyon (22-4, 10-2) finished its home season 10-0 with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-20 sweep of No. 9 Pepperdine (17-10, 5-7). Camden Gianni had 17 kills for the Lopes, hitting .374 and added an assist, a block and five digs. Cameron Thorne had nine kills with one error in 11 attacks and had a dig and six blocks. Ryan Barnett led Pepperdine with 13 kills and Cole Ketrzynski had 11 to go with two aces, three blocks and a dig …

No. 7 Stanford (12-11, 5-6) hit .420 and rolled to a 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 sweep of visiting No. 13 USC (12-13, 3-8). Theo Snoey led a balanced Cardinal attack with 11 kills and hit .625 after having one error in 16 attacks to go with two assists, two blocks and two digs. Kevin Lamp had eight kills in 17 errorless swings and added an assist, three of his team six aces, three blocks and three digs. Nathan Lietzke had three kills, 31 assists, two aces, 11 digs and three blocks, one solo. USC, which hit .200 and had two aces and 12 errors, got 14 kills from Dillon Klein. He hit .522 and had an assist, a block and six digs. 

IVA: Top-seeded Lincoln Memorial swept Tusculum and third-seeded Thomas More beat Maryville in five, putting them into Saturday’s independent schools tournament final.

Lincoln Memorial won 25-17, 25-13, 25-20 to improve to 20-5, unbeaten against all other independents this season. Matthew Gentry had 11 kills in 13 errorless attacks, two assists, an ace, two solo blocks and a digs. Justin Sharfenaker had nine kills with one error in 19 attacks, an assist, an ace, a solo block and four digs. Tusculum’s season ended 7-23 …

Thomas More (16-11) came away with 25-18, 18-25, 22-25, 25-20, 18-16 victory over second-seeded Maryville (21-7). Thomas More, which won despite hitting .127, got 11 kills from Ben Albers, who had 12 digs. Luke Duncan had 10 kills. Maryville’s Makai Scott had 17 kills and Luke Kraft, 15.

AROUND THE NATION: Fort Valley State improved to 9-0 in the SIAC as it won in four at Edward Waters, Morehouse won in five at Benedict and Central State beat visiting Kentucky State in four … 

In the NEC, Saint Francis (PA) improved to 19-8, 11-0 in the league, as 12 players had kills in a sweep of visiting FDU, Daemen hit .441 and beat visiting Merrimack in four and Sacred Heart swept at D’Youville as Patrick Mucherino had 19 kills, hit .389, and had two aces, a dig and two blocks, one solo.

Pro Volleyball Federation

Atlanta (14-4) has a one-game lead in the loss column over Omaha (11-5). The Vibe have won two of their three meetings and Saturday’s is their last match against each other in the regular season. 

Grand Rapids (7-8) has a half-game lead on Orlando (7-9), while San Diego (6-8), 4-3 in its last six matches after starting 2-5, has become a factor.

Columbus is 5-10 and Vegas, 5-11.

San Diego won at Columbus 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 15-10 as four players had nine or more kills, 17 by Temi Thomas-Ailara. She added an assist, 12 digs and three blocks, two solo. Lindsey Vander Weider had 11 kills but hit .093 and had six digs and four blocks, two solo. Morgan Lewis had 10 kills, an assist, 10 digs and eight blocks, three solo. Ronika Stone, who had 10 blocks — four solo — had nine kills and four digs. Ali Bastianelli played the last two sets and had four key solo blocks, two kills, an ace and two digs. Hannah Tapp, whom Bastianelli replaced, had seven kills with one error in 11 attacks, two digs and a block assist. Nootsara Tomkom had 49 assists, 18 digs, two blocks an assist and her team’s other ace.  

Kendall Kipp got off the plane swinging for Columbus. The former Stanford great, just home from her first pro season in Italy, made her Fury debut with 20 kills on a team-high 63 swings. However, she was blocked seven times and had seven hitting errors and hit .095. Kipp added six digs and three blocks, two solo. Reagan Cooper continued her tremendous season with 22 kills, hitting .387, to go with an assist, a block assist and a match-high 23 digs. Their teammates combined for 13 kills.

Long Beach libero Mason Briggs gets low/Jim Wolf photo


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here