Busy Valentine’s Day in NCAA men’s volleyball

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Penn State's Calvin Mende is the EIVA player of the week/Mark Selders photo

By: Dennis Michael Stuart for VolleyballMag.com

Volleyball for Valentine’s Day. For you romantics, there are eight NCAA men’s matches scheduled Tuesday.

Ohio State maintains its stranglehold on the top spot of the AVCA Division I-II poll, and Mount Olive’s Robert Poole is the AVCA national player of the week. All that and more, but first Tuesday’s schedule.

No. 4 Hawaii (12-2) of the MPSF travels to McKendree (5-10) of the MIVA for back-to-back matches. There are five EIVA teams in action, including two conference matches; No. 13 Penn State (8-4, 3-0) at Saint Francis (4-8, 0-3) and NJIT (5-5, 1-1) at Princeton (3-6, 1-1). Also, Charleston (7-5), welcomes independent Alderson Broaddus (2-10) .

In Conference Carolinas there are five teams taking the court. Limestone (3-4, 3-3 in CC) plays host to Belmont Abbey (3-5, 2-3) and North Greenville (3-9, 3-3) travels to last-place Pfeiffer (0-4, 0-4). Conference leader King (9-1) visits Lincoln Memorial.

AVCA Division I-II Poll: Ohio State (13-0, 4-0 MIVA) remained the unanimous No. 1. Long Beach State (11-2, 7-1 MPSF) remained at No. 2 followed by BYU (10-2, 5-1 MPSF). UCLA (10-4, 7-3 MPSF) falls to No. 5 and is replaced by No. 4 Hawai’i (12-2, 5-2 MPSF). Click here for the full AVCA Division I-II poll.

AVCA Division I-II POW: Mount Olive junior Robert Poole. The right side averaged 5.57 kills per set in two victories. He hit .393 and also averaged 1.71 blocks and .36 blocks.

AVCA Division III Poll: Springfield (10-1) remains No. 1, but the next six spots had movement. That included Stevens, which rose one spot to No. 2. Also, UC Santa Cruz moved up a notch to No. 3, and SUNY New Paltz dropped two spots to No. 4. 

Click here for the full AVCA Division III poll.

AVCA Division III National POW: Tristan Davis, a senior outside hitter for Lasell College. He averaged 3.22 kills and hit .382 in five matches, all victories. He was also the Great Northeast Athletic Conference offensive POW.

MIVA

Offensive Player of the Week: Ohio State senior opposite Miles Johnson for the third consecutive week. The Buckeye hit .611 and had averaged 5.29 kills.

Defensive Player of the Week: Grand Canyon junior libero Sky Engleman, who averaged 2.78 digs in two matches.

Key matches this week:. No. 11 Ball State (11-2, 3-1) travels to No. 7 Lewis (9-3, 4-2) and No. 10 Loyola (7-4, 3-1).

Last week’s key results: No. 1 Ohio State beat Lewis and Loyola. Lewis came from two sets down to spoil McKendree’s upset bid. Ball State squeaked by Fort Wayne in a five-set slugfest.

Worth noting: Grand Canyon (7-5, 5-1) received votes once again in this week’s poll as the Lopes moved into sole possession of second place in the MIVA standings.

Click here for the MIVA standings

Robert Poole of Mount Olive is the ConfCarolinas POW
Robert Poole of Mount Olive is the ConfCarolinas POW

Conference Carolinas

Player of the Week: Robert Poole of Mount Olive. The junior from England had 39 kills (5.57 kills/set), hit .391 and added 12 digs in Mount Olive’s two victories.

Key matches this week: King (9-1, 5-0) plays host to Mount Olive (7-4, 6-0) with sole possession of first at stake. The following day King entertains Barton (7-3, 6-1. Mount Olive has a doubleheader Saturday as it takes on Lees-McRae (4-6, 2-3) and Alderson Broaddus (2-10). There will be a lone CC match on Monday, Presidents Day, when Emmanuel (1-9, 0-6) welcomes Belmont Abbey (3-5, 2-3) to Georgia.

Last week’s key results: King beat Emmanuel and Erskine.

Worth noting: North Greenville’s Aaron Campbell had 20 kills in a five-set victory over Limestone and the sophomore added 14 kills in a three-set loss to independent Coker. Mount Olive senior Andrew Sydow had a career high eight blocks against Emmanuel.

Click here for the Conference Carolinas standings.

MPSF

Player of the week: Jordan Ewert of Stanford. The Cardinal outside hitter combined for 48 kills (4.80 kills/set) with a .301 hitting percentage in five-set wins over No. 6 UCLA and No. 12 UCSB.

Key matches this week: It’s another busy week in the MPSF that begins Wednesday as UCSB (6-7, 3-7 MPSF) plays host to No. 2 Long Beach State (11-2, 7-1) and UCLA (10-4, 7-3) welcomes No. 14 CSUN (9-5, 2-5). The visiting institutions then switch places for matches being played over the weekend. USC (3-9, 2-7) entertains No. 6 Stanford (8-4, 5-2) and No. 9 Pepperdine (5-4, 3-3).

Last week’s key results: UCSD pulled a huge upset over CSUN, sweeping the Matadors 27-25, 25-13, 25-14 at home in RIMAC Arena. Stanford beat UCLA and UCSB and both five-set matches ended with 15-10 scores. UCLA bounced back to defeat Pepperdine.

Worth noting: In every AVCA poll this season the same nine universities have been ranked. UCSD received votes in this week’s AVCA poll for the first time this season.

Click here for the MPSF standings.

EIVA

Offensive player of the week: Calvin Mende of Penn State. The redshirt freshman hit .551 in a 2-0 week for the Nittany Lions. Mende averaged 4.30 kills/set and added 12 blocks.

Defensive player of the week: Taylor Bloomquist of Sacred Heart. Bloomquist finished with 10 blocks (1.67 blocks/set) in a 2-0 week for SHU.

Key matches this week: Sacred Heart (9-1, 2-0 EIVA) travels to Saint Francis (4-8, 0-3) and to No. 13 Penn State (8-4, 3-0). The winner of the EIVA clash between SHU and PSU will be atop the conference standings.

Last week’s key results: Penn State won twice in five, at NJIT and Princeton. And in a rare Sunday match that had been postponed due to the severe winter storm in the New England area, No. 15 George Mason (5-5, 2-1 EIVA) swept Harvard (3-4, 1-1). GMU’s Jack Wilson had 16 kills and added two service aces.

Worth noting: Sacred Heart at 9-1 is off to its best start in the program’s 13 year history.

Click here for the EIVA standings.

Division III

There are currently 89 teams vying to play in the 2017 NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championships will take place April 28-30 in Springfield, Mass.

Top-ranked and independent Springfield (10-1) travels to No. 6 Wentworth (7-2) on Tuesday and has a doubleheader on Saturday, first against Wells (4-7) and then against No. 15 Lasell (14-1). The Springfield Pride are led by senior Luis Vega, who has 117 kills on the year, averaging 4.50 kills/set. The outside hitter is hitting .467 through 11 matches.

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