UC Santa Barbara, Lewis, Penn State, and BYU won their respective conference tournaments Saturday to earn bids to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball tournament.
The field of seven, which includes five automatic bids and two at-large, will be announced at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on NCAA.com.
The championship tournament is May 6-8 in Columbus, Ohio.
BIG WEST — Second-seeded UCSB (15-4) beat fourth-seeded UC San Diego (5-13) 22-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-20 a day after UCSD stunned prevoiusly unbeaten and No. 1 Hawai’i.
It gave UCSB – which went 6-0 against UCSD this season — its first Big West title, while Hawai’i is a lock to get one of the at-large bids.
“It’s good to finally be back in the NCAA tournament,” UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin said. “We have been working at it for a long time. This team was on its way there last year before we got stopped, but they came back so credit to these guys.”
The Gauchos, who have won 10 in a row, beat UCSD despte hitting .190. Randy DeWeese led with 13 kills, an assist, two aces, five blocks, and nine digs. Ryan Wilcox had 12 kills, an assist, an ace, four blocks, and nine digs. Keenan Sanders had eight kills and six blocks. Casey McGarry had a kill in his only try, 40 assists, four blocks, and 10 digs.
“There are four seniors on this team that were supposed to graduate after last season and we all came back wanting to win it all,” said DeWeese, one of those four.
“We know that the last stretch of the season is a sprint, so now is the time for us to go on our run, and that’s what we think about when we play. We play every single point as hard as we can.”
UCSD got 13 kills each from Collin Shannon and Kyle McCauley and 12 from Ryan Ka. Shannon hit .346 and had an ace, seven blocks, and five digs.
MIVA — Lewis (20-2) swept visiting Loyola (15-6) 25-14, 25-22, 25-19 and earned the bid.
Lewis, which went 3-0 against Loyola after beating the Ramblers twice in the regular season, hit .364. Ryan Coenen had 10 kills, hit .348, and had an assist, an ace, five blocks, and four digs. Kyle Bugee had 10 kills, three aces, two blocks, and five digs. TJ Murray had nine kills with no errors in 12 attacks and five blocks. Kevin Kauling had two kills, 32 assists, three blocks, and a dig. The Flyers have won 12 in a row.
Loyola hit .115. Cole Schlothauer led with nine kills and Luke Denton had eight.
EIVA — Penn State (21-3) beat visiting George Mason (15-7) in four as Cal Fisher had 27 kills and Brett Wildman 22 in the 25-20, 25-20, 30-32, 25-20 victory.
“Having been around for four decades of Penn State-George Mason play, this was a match a match that both sets of alums would say, ‘Yep! This is the way its supposed to be!’
“I can’t believe the effort that was put a part by both teams tonight. It was a great match to be a part of,” Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said.
“I think it came down to the team that ‘streaked clean’ last would win. Cal put on his superman cape and carried us for that final stretch run there. I’m really proud of these guys. Our work is not over. We’re looking forward to playing a national championship that all of men’s volleyball missed for the last 15 months.”
Fisher hit .440 as he had five errors in 50 attacks and had an ace, a block, and eight digs. Wildman hit .333 and had three assists, four aces, three blocks, and three digs. Cole Bogner had two kills in four errorless tries, 50 assists, three blocks, and seven digs. His team hit .344. Will Bantle had 13 digs and three assists.
Mason got 15 kills apiece from Hayden Wagner and Jack Reese, who hit .619. Luis Velez had two kills, 44 assists, and eight digs.
“We just didn’t have an answer tonight to slow Penn State down,” Mason coach Jay Hosack said. “Brett Wildman and Cal Fisher are two very good players. We thought we did some things to adjust but unfortunately we didn’t have the answers for them all the time.”
MPSF — BYU hit .471 and beat Pepperdine 25-23, 25-15, 25-19, leaving the Cougars 19-3 and Pepperdine 13-6 and hoping for that other at-large bid.
“I’m just proud, happy, excited and ecstatic for our guys,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “We’ve been through a lot. Hats off to Pepperdine, they gave us all we could handle.
“It means the world to be able to pull off a championship in this venue in front of our fans.”
BYU, which had 42 kills and nine errors in 70 attacks, got 13 kills from Zach Eschenberg. He hit .550 and had an ace, two blocks, and two digs. Gabi Garcia Fernandez had 10 kills, hit .333, and had three aces, four blocks, and a dig. Felipe de Brito Ferreira had six kills in seven errorless attacks and seven blocks, one solo. Wil Stanley had a kill, 38 assists, five blocks, and six digs.
Pepperdine, which hit .185, got 10 kills from Spencer Wickens and nine from Jacob Steele.
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS — Belmont Abbey won the tournament title on April 18 when it beat Mount Olive.
NAIA — Top-seeded Grand View of Des Moines, Iowa, completed a 25-0 season Saturday with a 25-23, 25-18, 25-15 sweep of visiting second-seeded Benedictine Mesa.
Felix Chapman led with 28 kills as he hit .521 and had seven digs and two blocks.