No. 4 Pepperdine took a big step towards hosting the MPSF tournament Thursday, defeating No. 5 UCLA in four sets 25-21, 29-31, 25-16, 25-17. There were two other matches in NCAA men’s Division I-II volleyball Thursday as No. 11 Loyola swept McKendree in the MIVA and Conference Carolinas leader Barton defeated Belmont Abbey.

It was a quiet day for NCAA beach as the AVCA top ten were idle.

Friday’s men’s play includes two matches in the Big West as No. 1 Hawai’i plays San Diego, and No. 3 UC Santa Barbara takes on No. 12 CSUN.

In the MPSF, No. 4 Pepperdine plays again, this time at GCU, and No. 6 Stanford heads to No. 9 USC.

There are four MIVA matches Friday, with No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne at Quincy, McKendree at No. 8 Lewis, No. 13 Ball State at Lindenwood, and Ohio State at No. 11 Loyola.

It’s a full EIVA schedule as Charleston is at Lawrence Tech, Princeton goes to No. 13 George Mason, Penn State gets Harvard, and Charleston plays at Lourdes.

The Conference Carolinas has four matches Friday with Belmont Abbey at Mount Olive, Lincoln Memorial at Erskine, Lees-McRae at Limestone, and Queens at Barton.

On the NCAA beach side, the biggest competition of the weekend features No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 LSU, No. 8 FIU, and No. 10 Stetson at the FIU hosted Surf and Turf Invitational in Miami, Fla.

Friday UCLA plays LSU and Stetson. FSU plays No. 16 GCU and Tulane. LSU takes on UCLA, Stetson, and FIU.  FIU will meet Stetson, Grand Canyon, and LSU. Stetson’s opponents are FSU, LSU, and UCLA.

No. 7 Cal Poly beach hosts the Big West challenge and will entertain duals against CSU Bakersfield, Sacramento State, and CSUN.

The remainder of the AVCA top 10 is off Friday.

No. 4 Pepperdine (17-6, 6-3) kept its spot at the top of the MPSF by defeating No. 5 UCLA (16-7, 6-3) Thursday at the Firestone Fieldhouse 25-21, 29-31, 25-16, 25-17.

The win is a big step towards hosting the MPSF post-season tournament April 18 and 20. The Waves are tied with UCLA and BYU, but hold tiebreakers over both. Pepperdine is guaranteed to host if they win out against Grand Canyon, USC, and Concordia-Irvine.

The Waves had four players exceeding the .500 mark as outside Kaleb Denmark hit .593 (18 kills, two errors, 27 attempts), opposite Michael Wexter hit .536 (17 kills, two errors, 28 attempts), middle Kevin Vaz hit .778 (seven kills, no errors , nine attempts), and middle Max Chamberlain hit .833 (five kills, no errors, six attempts).

Pepperdine hit .485 as a team to .316 for UCLA.

Bruin setter Micah Ma’a moved to the outside in this contest and led with 13 kills, three assists, two aces, 10 digs, and two blocks, one solo. Opposite Brandon Rattray had nine kills but nine errors to hit .000, adding two blocks and a dig.

No. 11 Loyola (16-7, 9-2) swept McKendree (11-10, 6-5) 26-24, 25-19, 25-13. Paul Narup became the second player in Rambler history to register a perfect hitting percentage, going 10-for-10 to hit 1.000.

Loyola outhit the Bearcats .230 to .175, outserved their opponents seven to two, and outdug them 37 to 28. McKendree outblocked Loyola 10 to five.

Barton (19-3, 13-1) defeated Belmont Abbey (11-10, 6-6) in the only Conference Carolinas match of the evening 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-17. The win is the Bulldogs’ 13th consecutive. Angelos Mandilaris led all attachers with 15 kills, two aces, three digs, and three blocks, one solo. Brother Vasilis and Adrian Iglesias followed with 12 kills each, Vasilis contributing four aces, three digs, and a block, while Iglesias added two assists, two aces, six digs and three blocks.

Liam Maxwell led the Crusaders with 14 kills, two assists, four aces, two digs and a block. Andrew Kohut scored 12 kills, an ace, two digs, and two blocks.

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