In the match of the evening, defending NCAA champion and AVCA top-ranked Long Beach swept No. 6 UCLA Saturday night in a rematch of the 2018 final. No. 2 UC Irvine avenged last Thursday’s loss to Stanford, and No. 14 Ball State upset No. 10 CSU Northridge. No. 4 BYU, No. 5 Pepperdine, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, and No. 15 Grand Canyon all added wins, and Conference Carolinas’ Barton College got its second upset of the weekend over USC. All of those recaps and more to follow, but first, a glance at Sunday’s schedule.
At the Grow the Game Challenge in Lebanon, Tennessee, Sunday’s schedule begins with the MIVA’s Quincy against Conference Carolinas foe Limestone. No. 15 Grand Canyon of the MIVA follows against independent Lincoln Memorial. Quincy then returns to the court against Barton of the Conference Carolinas, capped by the MPSF’s USC against Lindenwood of the MIVA.
The Big West is off, but Penn State and Saint Francis face off in an EIVA contest.
The Big West’s Long Beach (6-0) made a statement during its 29-27, 25-22, 25-17 defeat of MPSF foe UCLA (5-2). The 49ers outhit the Bruins .429 to .210 and outblocked their competition 11 to 2.
UCLA jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set on a pair of aces by Micah Ma’a as UCLA amped up their service pressure, outserving the 49ers eight aces to three.
“As the match went on,” coach Alan Knipe said, “we got better and better at handling their service pressure, as we did late in the first set. We got aced six times, we don’t usually get aced six times in a match, we have an overpass, and we still find a way to hit .400 as a team and win the first set by great execution.
“It’s very cliché to say, but we weathered the storm, we actually started to see their serves real-time a little bit, we were a little bit too hyped up for it, and executed great late.”
USA national team member TJ DeFalco led all scorers with 16.5 points on 13 kills, an ace, and 2.5 blocks. 49er opposite Kyle Ensing finished with nine points on six kills, an ace, and two blocks. Long Beach has swept all six of their matches this year.
Brandon Rattray led the Bruins with 12 points on 10 kills and two aces.
No. 2 UC Irvine (6-1) of the Big West avenged Thursday’s loss to the MPSF’s ninth-ranked Stanford (5-1) at Maples Pavilion with a 30-29, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23 win. The Anteaters outblocked the Cardinal 9.5 to six and outserved them six aces to two. Karl Apfelbach led Irvine with 17 kills and only two errors for a .405 percentage, with seven digs and one block.
Stanford’s Jaylen Jasper led all attackers with 21 kills and added an assist and two blocks.
The MPSF’s BYU (4-0), maintained its undefeated record by sweeping Saint Francis (3-1) of the EIVA 25-21, 25-15, 25-18. The fourth-ranked Cougars were led by Davide Gardini, who had 11 kills, four aces, three digs, and 1.5 blocks. Branden Oberender scored seven kills,and two blocks.
Michael Fisher led SFU with eight kills but hit only .069, adding a block.
No. 5 Pepperdine of the MPSF (5-1) defeated the MIVA’s eighth-ranked Lewis (5-2) in Romeoville 25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 25-19. The Waves’ David Wieczorek and Kaleb Denmark both had 16 kills. Wieczorek also had 11 digs, two aces, a block and two assists, while Denmark added 8 digs.
The Flyers’ Ryan Coenen had a match and season-high 18 kills as well as five blocks.
The MIVA’s No. 7 Loyola (5-1) swept the Big West’s UC San Diego (2-4) comfortably in Gentile Arena 25-20, 25-15, 25-16, the program’s 100th win. Collin Mahan and Kyle Piekarski both notched 10 kills. Mahan passed the 1,000 career point mark while adding two aces and a block assist.
The Tritons’ Wyatt Harrison led his team with six kills, while Xander Jimenez had five and Gabe Avillion added four.
No. 14 Ball State (3-4) of the MIVA upset No. 10 CSU Northridge (5-2) of the MPSF in five sets 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12, snapping the Matador’s three match win streak. Dimitar Kalchev again led Northridge with 16 kills and two aces.
The Cardinal’s Kaleb Jenness tied with 16 kills while hitting .355, and contributed two aces, five digs and four blocks.
Ohio State of the MIVA (3-3) swept Conference Carolinas’ Erskine (1-5) 25-12, 25-22, 25-17. The No. 11 Buckeyes’ offense generated 43 kills to the Flying Fleet’s 20, outblocking their opponents 9-3, and hit .434 to Erskine’s .015.
Three Buckeyes hit for double-digit kills as Martin Lallemand had 13, Jake Hanes 12, and Blake Leeson 11. Griffin Spence led Erskine with five kills, while Lancy Aldebol added four.
George Mason (5-1) defeated Charleston (3-3) in its EIVA conference opener in four sets 25-23, 22-25, 25-11, 25-18. Hayden Wagner led the Patriots with 19 kills and five blocks, while Sam Greenslade had 14 kills, three aces and two blocks.
Charleston was led by Brandon Greenway with 12 kills, two aces, eight digs, and an assist.
No. 12 UC Santa Barbara (5-3) of the MPSF topped No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne (4-2) 22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 in Fort Wayne. The Gauchos’ Corey Chavers had a game-high 16 kills for a .387 percentage, while Hayden Boehle added 12 and Keenan Sanders and Randy Deweese each chipped in eight.
Colton Stone led the Mastodons with 14 kills, and added two aces and five digs.
The Grow the Game Challenge hosted five matches Saturday in Lebanon, Tennessee.
The MPSF’s Grand Canyon (4-3) hung on to win a five-setter against the MIVA’s Lindenwood (1-3) 25-16, 25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13, in a match titled “The Clash of the Nashville Thai Massage Twisted Knot.” The Lopes came back in dramatic fashion, making a 7-1 run after suffering a 10-5 deficit in the fifth set. Yesterday No. 15 GCU had a 2-0 lead against Barton College, but failed to close the match.
Freshman outside Christian Janke had his second 20-kill performance with eight digs, while Will Schwob added 11. Charley Hlavin led the Lions with 16 kills and five digs.
Speaking of the Conference Carolinas’ Barton College (2-2), they followed up their upset win over Grand Canyon by defeating the MPSF’s USC (3-2) 26-24, 21-25, 25-17, 26-24. The wins is the DII program’s second consecutive win over a DI program, following yesterday’s victory over GCU. The Mandilaris brothers again figured prominently in the win as both Angelos and Vasilis each scored 15 kills. The Bulldogs’ freshman outside Adrian Iglesias contributed 14 kills.
The Trojan’s Ryan Moss led his team with 19 kills, and Jack Wyett followed with 17.
The MCVL’s Fontbonne (2-0) opened its season with a pair of sweeps against DIII Bluefield (1-2) and the NAIA’s Cumberland (0-2).
The Griffins swept the Rams 25-15, 25-15, 25-21, hitting .352 as a team. Josh Farley had a career-high 13 kills, hitting .320.
Against the Phoenix, the Griffins won the Battle for the Cox Team House Keys as Farley and Brendon Schwartze both had a match-high 11 kills.
Also in Lebanon, independent Lincoln Memorial (4-1) defeated ConfCarolinas’ Limestone (0-2) in the Battle of the Sammy B’s Biscuit Bar, winning 25-22, 25-22, 25-19.
The Railsplitter’s junior Evan Cory had a match-high 19 kills and six blocks. Danny Hermida connected for 11 kills.
F. Salinger Cenzual led the Saints with 12 kills and four digs, hitting .348.
NJIT (3-4) had a pair of wins at the Golden Dome classic in Newark, sweeping both Rutgers-Newark (1-1) 25-13, 25-21, 25-13 of the EIVA and CUNY’s Lehman College 25-10, 25-9, 25-6.
The Highlander’s Piotr Namiotko paced the Highlanders against Rutgers-Newark with 11 kills, three blocks, and two aces, while Marcus Jackson led his squad against Lehman with 11 kills. Lehman was unable to handle NJIT’s service pressure, giving up 19 aces.
The EIVA’s Sacred Heart (1-2) picked up their first win of the season with a sweep of St. Joseph’s-Long Island (1-1)of the Skyline conference 25-13, 25-15, 25-16. The Pioneers’ Shawn Tischler put down 10 kills, hitting .625.
Paul Curaro led the Golden Eagles with seven kills, five digs and two aces.
Conference Carolinas’ Emmanuel (3-1) swept DIII Brewton-Parker (0-1) at their home opener 25-8, 25-15, 25-10. The Lions were in complete control, hitting .509 to to the Baron’s -.123. Aleksa Lakic led all scorers with 11 kills, an ace, five digs, and a block.