NCAA men: Ohio St. beats Mason, conference roundups, POWs

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Ohio State's Nicolas Szerszen Is the MIVA POW/OSU athletics

Most NCAA men’s volleyball teams are just two or three matches into their respective seasons, although Cal State Northridge (CSUN) is 5-0 and UC Irvine is 4-0.

There were two matches Tuesday.

No. 1 Ohio State improved to 3-0 when the Buckeyes of the MIVA swept visiting George Mason of the EIVA and the visiting King Tornado of Conference Carolinas swept the Lincoln Memorial to give the Railsplitters a loss in the program’s first match.

Moving forward, it’s a busy week with a full slate ahead and awards to report from all four men’s conferences. And there’s another conference ready to join the party in 2018.

MIVA:  Start with the Buckeyes’ 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 victory over 11th-ranked George Mason (2-1). Ohio State has won 26 matches in a row — including the NCAA-championship match last May and 78 of 96 sets during that stretch.

Nicolas Szerszen led with 16 kills and hit .522. Miles Johnson had 14 kills, hit .393 and had three blocks.

Jack Wilson led Mason with 10 kills and hit .368.

“I am happy in the way that my guys fought, but I think we left a few points on the table in each game that could have been the turning point,” Mason coach Jay Hosack said, adding that Ohio State is “a good team and they are going to win a lot of matches just because they don’t make a lot of mistakes. Their hitters are always available and always making swings.”

The only MIVA match on tap for Wednesday has Grand Canyon (1-1) at Hawai’i (3-0) of the MPSF. On Thursday, Ball State (2-1) entertains Saint Francis (2-1) of the EIVA.

The MIVA also announced that Szerszen is the offensive player of the week and Ball State’s Nick Lavanchy the defensive POW..

As Ohio State beat USC and No. 2 UCLA, Szerszen averaged 3.50 kills and hit .340.

Lavanchy, a freshman libero, averaged three digs against Princeton and Hawai’i in the Outrigger tournament.

MPSF: There are four matches involving MPSF teams on Wednesday, including three league battles as Long Beach State (3-0) goes to USC (1-2), CSUN (5-0) plays at Cal Baptist (1-2) and UC Irvine (4-0) travels to UCSB (3-0). Also, Hawai’i (3-0) plays host to Grand Canyon of the MIVA.

On Thursday, there’s a big MPSF match when UCI goes to UCLA (2-1). BYU (1-1) plays host to McKendree of the MIVA.

CSUN sophomore Dimitar Kalchev, an outside hitter from Kardzhali, Bulgaria, was named the MPSF POW after he hit .534 and averaged 4.38 kills per set in four wins.

CONFERENCE CAROLINAS: King beat independent LMU 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 in the season opener for both teams.

Jeff Sprayberry led King with 11 kills and hit .320, while Sean Luhmann had nine kills and hit .562.

Evan Cory, a freshman opposite who is the first player from Louisiana ever mentioned in a boys volleyball roundup, led with Railsplitters with eight kills. He added three digs and two blocks.

Wednesday’s schedule shows one match, North Greenville opening its season at NJIT of the EIVA. On Thursday, North Greenville goes to Princeton of the EIVA.

Mount Olive opposite Robert Poole is the Conference Carolinas POW. The junior from England averaged 4.43 kills per set and hit .250 as the Trojans dropped two matches against top-15 teams.

EIVA: As mentioned, Mason lost at Ohio State.

The only match Wednesday is NJIT (0-2) playing host to North Greenville.

On Thursday, Mason opens league play at Charleston, which also opens its season.  Princeton (1-2) gets North Greenville, and Saint Francis (2-1) goes to Ball State of the MIVA.

The EIVA offensive POW is Jeff Hogan of Saint Francis. The senior opposite averaged 3.9 kills and hit .421 in three matches.

The defensive POW is teammate Keith Kegerreis. The junior middle had 13 blocks last week.

NORTHERN ATHLETICS CC ADDING MEN:  The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference announced the addition of men’s volleyball next school year.

The NCAA said in a news release that the NACC will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship in 2018, the ninth league with a ‘Pool A’ bid or commonly referred to as an AQ. The NCAA has crowned five champions at the men’s Division III level, the first which came in 2012.

The members of the NACC include Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Lakeland University, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Five member institutions currently sponsor the sport — Benedictine University, Dominican University, Lakeland University, Marian University and Milwaukee School of Engineering — while spring of 2018 will serve as the inaugural season for both Aurora University and Concordia University Wisconsin, bringing NACC membership to seven.

The NACC began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006, then known as the Northern Athletics Conference. The conference consists of 12 private colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin, all of which are NCAA Division III members.

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