Concordia, the last-place team in the MPSF, knocked off visiting No. 10 BYU on Thursday — despite 31 kills by Gabi Garcia Fernandez — leaving three teams within a half game of each other atop the NCAA Division I-II mens volleyball league.
Also Thursday, No. 11 Loyola Chicago won a MIVA match and Barton won in Conference Carolinas.
It sets up a busy Friday that includes three matches in the toughest conference in the country, the Big West. That includes No. 1 Hawai’i (21-0, 4-0) at UC San Diego (7-13, 0-4), No. 2 Long Beach State (19-1, 4-0) at No. 7 UC Irvine (14-7, 2-2) and No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (15-5, 2-2) home for No. 12 CSUN (10-10, 0-4).
There are two MPSF matches as No. 4 Pepperdine plays host to Grand Canyon and No. 6 Stanford is at No. 9 USC.
In the MIVA, No. 8 Lewis is home for McKendree, Loyola plays host to Ohio State, No. 13 Ball State goes to Lindenwood and No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne is at Quincy.
The EIVA slate shows the top teams playing each other as No. 13 George Mason (13-6, 6-2) is at home for league-leading Princeton (10-12, 8-1), while Penn State (10-12, 6-2) goes to Harvard (6-10, 5-3), and Charleston plays non-conference matches against Lawrence Tech and Lourdes.
Conference Carolinas has two league matches when Belmont Abbey goes to Mount Olive and Limestone is home for Lees-McRae. Also, Erskine plays Lincoln Memorial and Barton entertains Queens.
The big NCAA beach gathering this weekend is in Miami, where No. 8 Florida International is the host for a field that includes No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 LSU, No. 10 Stetson, No. 15 Florida Atlantic and No. 16 Grand Canyon.
Saturday, No. 2 USC is at No. 5 Pepperdine for a field that includes No. 5 Hawai’i, No. 7 Cal Poly and No. 9 Long Beach State.
MPSF: Things are tight at the top. Pepperdine (17-6, 6-3) is tied with No. 5 UCLA (16-7, 6-3) and now BYU(12-9, 6-4), which had a chance to take sole possession of the lead, is a game back in the loss column. Stanford (14-8, 5-4) is within reach and so is USC (13-8, 4-4).
But Concordia (13-16, 2-7), which was swept by BYU six weeks ago in Provo, came away with a 25-20, 25-27, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory this time.
The Eagles had season highs of 71 kills — 24 by Raymond Barsemian — and 12 aces while hitting .355.
Barsemian hit .422 and had three assists, an ace and six digs. Jordan Hoppe had 19 kills, hit .306, and added an assist, six digs and a block, and Luke Krzmarzick had 12 kills, a whopping six aces, an assist, two aces, 11 digs and a block. And Hunter Howell had seven kills with no errors in 12 swings to hit .412, three aces, four digs and a block.
BYU’s Fernandez had his 31 kills in 72 swings as he hit .306. He had two of the Cougars’ seven aces, seven digs and four blocks.
Davide Gardini had 20 kills and hit .421 to go with 10 digs and six blocks, one solo. Their teammates combined for six kills.
Also: Loyola (16-7, 9-2) swept visiting McKendree (11-10, 6-5) 26-24, 25-19, 25-13 as Paul Narup had 10 kills in 10 attacks.
Will Tischler led with 12 kills and Collin Mahan had eight and 10 digs.
McKendree, which hit .175, got nine kills from Ethan Carroll, who added two digs and four blocks.
In Conference Carolinas, Barton (19-3, 13-1) beat visiting Belmont Abbey (11-10, 6-6) 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17. Angelo Mandilaris led with 15 kills and hit .542 to go with two aces, three digs and three blocks, one solo. Vasilis Mandelaris had 12 kills, four of his team’s 10 aces, three digs and a block, and Adrian Iglesias had 12 kills, hit .526, and had two assists, two aces, digs and three blocks. Barton his .432.
Belmont Abbey’s Liam Maxwell had 14 kills, two assists, four aces, two digs and a block, and Andrew Kohut had 12 kills, hit .304, and added an ace, two digs and two blocks.