George Mason gave Penn State all it could handle, but the Nittany Lions won in four and will play Princeton in the EIVA Championship Tournament final.
The MPSF title match is set as Stanford knocked out BYU in five and UCLA swept Grand Canyon.
UC Irvine and UCSB won their Big West quarterfinal matches to move into Friday’s semifinals, Friday’s SIAC championship match pits Edward Waters against Central State, and Conference Carolinas has its semifinals.
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Fourth-seeded George Mason (13-15) saw its season end but not before the Patriots bowed up at top-seeded Penn State (25-3). The Nittany Lions eventually came away with a 19-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15 victory that included breaking a 21-21 tie in the third set.
The second seed, Princeton (14-11), advanced with a 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19 victory sixth-seeded NJIT (9-17) in the other semifinal.
The final is Saturday. Penn State swept both their regular-season meetings in mid-February. Princeton has gone 10-3 since.
Against Mason, Penn State his .381 and had 10 aces with 18 serving errors. Cal Fisher led with 23 kills while hitting .514 and had three aces and four digs. Brett Wildman had 14 kills, hit .500, and had two assists, three aces, two blocks and eight digs. Cole Bogner had 45 assists, two aces, four blocks and four digs, and Ryan Merk had 12 digs and an assist.
Mason, which hit .283 and had four aces and 16 errors, got 17 kills from Liam French. He hit .517 and had two assists, two aces, a block and two digs. Omar Hoyos had 14 kills, an ace, a block and seven digs. Their teammates combined for 10 kills. Georgi Zahariev had two kills in three errorless tries, 32 assists, seven digs and two blocks, one solo. He did not have an ace but had six errors.
Princeton’s Ben Harrington had 16 kills, hit .393 and had two assists, two aces, two blocks and three digs. Owen Mellon had 12 kills, hit .455, and had four blocks and two digs. Brady Wedbush had eight kills and four aces and Nyherowo Omene had six kills with one error in 11 swings and four aces. Henry Wedbush had four kills in five errorless tries, 43 assists, two blocks and four digs.
NJIT hit .146 and had three aces and 13 errors. Alessandro Negri had 13 of his team’s 34 kills. He hit .385 and had an assist and six digs. Carson Williams had six kills with one error in 13 attacks and five blocks.
Princeton won the EIVA title in 2019 and 2022. There was no tournament in 2020 and Penn State won in 2021.
Top-seeded UCLA (28-2) swept third-seeded Stanford (15-12) in back-to-back matches at Stanford a month ago. The Cardinal get one more chance Saturday when they play host to the MPSF final.
UCLA hit .435 and advanced with a 25-23, 25-19, 25-20 victory over fourth-seeded Grand Canyon (22-7), which now has to wait to see if it gets one of the NCAA Tournament at-large bids.
UCLA had 46 kills with 10 errors in 79 attacks to go with five aces against 12 errors. Ido David led with 15 kills as he hit .565 and had two digs. Ethan Champlin had 12 kills, hit .474 and had two blocks and four digs. Merrick McHenry had 10 kills with no errors in 11 swings, an ace, a dig and six blocks, one solo. Andrew Rowan had two kills in three errorless tries, 39 assists, two aces, four digs and two blocks, one solo.
GCU, which hit .235 and had five aces and nine errors, got 11 kills from Camden Gianni and 10 from Christian Janke. Gianni had two aces, three blocks and five digs. Jackson Hickman had seven kills with one error in 16 attacks, an ace and four digs.
BYU (19-7) is in the same situation as GCU after its 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12 to Stanford.
Stanford, back in the MPSF final for the second straight year, got 26 kills from Will Rottman, who had two errors in 49 attacks to hit .490. He also had two assists, three aces, seven digs and six blocks, one solo. Nathaniel Gates had 10 kills, hit .438 and had a dig and six blocks, one solo. Theo Snoey had eight kills, an assist, a block and 13 digs and Ethan Hill had six kills in 16 errorless attacks, an ace, five blocks and five digs. Setters Theoren Brouillette and Nathan Lietzke combined for five kills in seven errorless attacks, 53 assists, three blocks and five digs.
BYU hit .149 and had seven aces and 12 errors. Luke Benson had 13 kills, hit .310, and had two assists, an ace, 15 digs and two blocks, one solo. Miks Ramanis had 10 kills but hit negative, an assist, an ace, three blocks and four digs.
Friday’s semifinals at UC Irvine have top-seeded Hawai’i playing UCSB and second-seeded Long Beach State taking on the home team.
Hawai’i (26-2) swept at UCSB (8-16) in both their meetings three weeks ago in Santa Barbara. UCSB has won three matches in a row after losing five in a row an seven of eight. Long Beach State (20-3) ended the regular season with a home sweep of UCI (17-10) before winning in Irvine in five just last Saturday.
UCSB advanced with a 25-18, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20, 15-12 win over UC San Diego (8-17) in which the teams combined for 54 serving errors. The Gauchos got 53 of their 58 kills from three players. Nick Amoruso led with 20 as he hit .415 and had an ace, a block and two digs. Ryan Wilcox had 17 kills, hit .406, and had two assists, an ace, three blocks and nine digs. Ben Coordt had 16 kills, hit .361, and had two assists, an ace, two blocks and four digs. Jack Walmer had 50 assists, six digs and six blocks one solo. His team hit .348 and had four aces and 30 serving errors.
UCSD, which hit .283 and had four aces and 24 errors, got 21 kills from from Ryan Ka, who hit .390 and had a block and five digs. Josh Schellinger had 14 kills, four assists, two blocks and six digs. Jim Garrison had 10 kills with one error in 16 attacks, two blocks and two digs. Gabriel Dyer had 48 assists and nine digs.
UCI beat CSUN 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 and hit .405 with eight aces, four by Hilir Henno and three by Francesco Sani, and 14 errors. Henno led with 12 kills and also had an assist an a dig. Sani had nine kills and added an assist, two blocks and a dig. Joe Karlous had 31 assists and six digs.
CSUN lost its last 11 matches yet was ranked in the AVCA Poll as recently as two weeks ago. The Matadors hit .274 and had three aces and 14 errors. Four players had six or more kills, eight by Luke Krzmarzick.
Friday’s semifinals at King in Bristol, Tennessee, pit top-seeded North Greenville vs. fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey and second-seeded Erskine vs. third-seeded King. The championship match is Saturday with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
North Greenville (18-7) beat Belmont Abbey (15-15) in four in February and then again in four at home to end the regular season.
Erskine (14-12) lost at King in five in February and then beat King (14-15) in five at home on March 24.
North Greenville is the defending champion.
Top-seeded Saint Francis (PA) plays third-seeded LIU in Saturday’s championship. The first-year NEC does not get an at-large NCAA bid. LIU won in four in their first regular-season meeting at Sacred Heart, but then Sacred Heart won in five at LIU to end the regular season this past Saturday and the score is worth noting: 21-25, 27-25, 25-23, 22-25, 29-27.
Saint Francis (15-11) hit .461 and advanced with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 sweep of Sacred Heart (12-13). Blake Liprando had 14 kills and hit .480, Andrew Deardorff had 11 kills and hit .391 to go with four blocks, and Thomas Leahey had nine kills with one error in 11 attempts, an ace, four digs and five blocks, one solo. Ryan Parker had six kills in as many tries, 34 assists, an ace, a block and three digs. His team had 50 kills with nine errors in 89 attacks and had three aces and 19 errors.
Mark Berry had 11 kills with no errors in 16 attacks for Sacred Heart.
LIU (18-11) knocked off second-seeded Daemen (17-7) 25-19, 25-21, 25-22. Luke Chandler had 16 kills and hit .414 for the Sharks to go with two aces, four digs and seven blocks, one solo. Caden Satterfield had eight kills with no errors in 20 attacks. Kasey Clouet had three kills in seven errorless swings and six blocks. LIU had six aces and eight errors.
Daemen got 19 kills from Zach Schneider, who had a block and six digs. Henry Moffitt had 14 kills with one error in 22 attacks and hit .591.
Edward Waters (15-4), which has won seven in a row, plays Central State (17-4) for the title after a busy Thursday. The SIAC does not get an automatic NCAA bid.
Central State beat EWU in last year’s inaugural final. This year in the regular season, Edward Waters won both meetings.
Thursday, the tournament began with fourth-seeded Fort Valley State sweeping fifth-seeded Kentucky State and third-seeded Benedict sweeping sixth-seeded Morehouse.
Then EWU swept Fort Valley and Central State beat Benedict in four.