By Larry Hamel for VolleyballMag.com
Two-time defending NCAA titlist Hawaii raised its 2022 men’s indoor volleyball championship banner and got some payback against Ball State with its second victory in as many nights on Friday in Honolulu at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
The No. 1-ranked Rainbow Warriors (2-0) of the Big West Conference dumped the Cardinals, ranked sixth in the AVCA poll and the preseason favorites in the MIVA, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-18 after also beating them in four on Thursday. That avenged two losses to Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, during Hawii’s 2022 championship season and pushed the Rainbow Warriors’ home-court winning streak to 20.
Greek national Spyros Chakas, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 NCAA tournament, made a huge impact again with 22 kills on 31 swings, a .581 hitting percentage, seven digs and two solo blocks. Fellow Greek Dimitrios Mouchlias also shined on the pins. ripping 13 kills, hitting .455 and serving six aces. Norwegian national Jacob Thelle, a returning first-team AVCA All-American, dished out 54 assists in setting an efficient attack that hit .439 overall and .591 in the fourth set. Libero Brett Sheward made 17 digs and had no errors in serve-receive.
Outside hitters Kaleb Jenness (15 kills, three block assists) and Tinaishe Ndavazocheva (11 kills, five digs), a 6-6 sophomore from Zimbabwe, helped Ball State remain competitive on both nights against the nation’s top-ranked squad.
Friday’s recaps and top performances follow. For Saturday’s schedule and a link to all matches that are being show, go to our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.
In another early season meeting of nationally ranked programs Friday, No. 8 Stanford (3-0) of the MPSF swept No. 10 UC Santa Barbara 25-16, 26-24, 25-18 in Palo Alto, dropping the Big West’s Gauchos to 1-3. Ballyhooed 6-foot-8 freshmen Theo Snoey (11 kills, .667 hitting percentage), redshirt senior Kevin Lamp (11 kills) and returning first-team AVCA All-American Will Rottman (10 kills) contributed to a balanced offense that hit .420.UCSB got 13 kills from Ryan Wilcox, but was held to .125 hitting.
Princeton (1-2) of the EIVA surprised No. 2 UCLA in the first set at the cozy John Wooden Center in Westwood, but were handled fairly easily in the next three. The
Bruins (4-0) of the MPSF got 7-for-12 hitting (with no errors), 21 assists, eight digs and four block assists from do-everything first-team AVCA All-American Miles Partain in a 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-14 victory. Senior OH Alex Knight stepped up with 13 kills and five block assists. Ben Harrington led the Tigers with 13 kills and seven digs.
No. 3 Long Beach State of the Big West opened its season with a 25-17- 25-12, 25-14 shellacking of King (0-4) in the nightcap of a doubleheader at the Gold Mine Gym. The Beach blew away the Tornado of Conference Carolinas by siding out at an 86.4% clip, All-Conference OH Spencer Olivier, a 6-foot-8 redshirt senior, opened with a bang, hitting .800 (8-for-10) with four digs. In the first match in Long Beach, No. 11 USC (2-1) of the MPSF made short work of MIVA foe Lindenwood (1-3) 25-16, 25-21, 25-16. Lucas Frassrand (8-for-10) and Kevin Kobrine (7-for-10) combined to hit .750 with no errors for the Trojans, who also got 11 kills from highly touted freshman Dillon Klein. Lindenwood hit .169.
Penn State (3-0) of the EIVA limited Northeast Conference opponent Daemen to an .050 hitting percentage while blasting .457 in a 25-10, 25-19, 25-22 victory at Rec Hall. The No. 4 Nittany Lions got solid efforts from Michael Valenzi (10 kills, .471 percentage, two aces, four block assists) and John Kerr (eight kills, .500 percentage, five block assists). Cameron Milligan paced the Wildcats with eight kills.
Grand Canyon (3-0), ranked No. 9 in the AVCA poll, logged a relatively easy road sweep (25-20, 25-18, 25-16) over EIVA member George Mason (0-1), hitting a robust .478. The efficient Lopes of the MPSF piled up three solo blocks and 17 block assists in holding the Patriots to a .111 hitting percentage, while outdigging them 24-13, Redshirt senior Christian Janke, a returning second-team AVCA All-Amerian, was a one-man gang for Grand Canyon with 12 kills, a .526 percentage, two aces, six block assists and four digs. Omar Hoyas had nine kills and an ace for George Mason.
No. 12 Loyola of the MIVA put an exclamation point on a 3-0 opening-week homestand with a sweep of UC San Diego before a crowd of 1,403 at Gentile Arena in Chicago. The Ramblers, who earlier had disposed of Missouri S&T and King, rang up a .400 hitting percentage against the Tritons (1-3) of the Big West, whose losses have come against nationally ranked UCLA, USC and Loyola. Redshirt senior outside hitter Cole Scholthauer filled up the stat sheet for the Ramblers with 14 kills on 23 attempts, a .435 hitting percentage, four aces, five digs and two block assists in the 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 whitewash. Parker Van Bueren, a 6-9 redshirt sophomore who was MIVA Newcomer of the Year in 2022, had a productive match with 13 kills, a .444 percentage and four aces. UCSD, which was held to .280 hitting, got 13 kills and two block assists from Ryan Ka.
UC Irvine (3-0), ranked seventh nationally, had no trouble with visiting Emmanuel (1-1) of Conference Carolinas. The Anteaters of the Big West were led by Francesco Sani’s 12 kills and three block assists in a 25-12, 25-21, 25-11 cakewalk.
IPFW of the MiVA improved to 2-1 with a competitive 25-22, 25-23, 25-23 triumph over Carthage (0-1), the overwhelming No. 1 pick in the AVCA D-III preseason poll. Jon Diedrich led the way for the host Mastadons with 13 kills on .556 hitting, while freshman middle hitter Emmanuel Jurineack hit .600 with seven kills and added four block assists. Carthage got 12 kills and .444 hitting from junior opposite Kyle Redecki.
After stunning nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara last weekend, Lincoln Memorial (2-3) of the IVA returned home to Tennessee and put away Conference Carolinas’ Mount Olive (1-1) in three non-threatened sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-20). Matthew Gentry, a 6-7 redshirt junior, loomed large in the middle for the Railsplitters with an .800 hitting percentage (8-for-10, zero errors) and five aces.
An opening sweep (25-17, 25-23, 25-16) by Charleston of the EIVA on its home court dropped Conference Carolinas member Belmont to 1-4. Luuk Hoge Bavel, a 6-6 sophomore OH from The Netherlands, hit an eye-popping .818 (13-for-16 with no errors) and had nine digs for the Golden Eagles.
With Zach Berty posting 13 kills and Cade McGovery 12, visiting Harvard of the EIVA topped Sacred Heart of the NEC 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19 in the season opener for both programs. Neither team hit better than .200.
In other matches, No. 5 Pepperdine topped NAIA member The Master’s University 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 in Malibu during a spirited scrummage in which Jacob Steele logged 14 kills; host Cal State Northridge (2-2) rolled over D-III Cal Lutheran (0-1) 25-22, 25-15, 21-12 as Kyle Hobus recorded 12 kills and hit .526; host Maryville (1–0) of the NEC topped Kentucky State (0-1) of the SIAC in four sets (24-26, 25-10, 25-19, 25-21), getting 11 kills from Clayden Klingbeil; the IVA’s Tusculum (1-3) got on the winning track with a five-set victory (19-25, 29-27, 19-25, 25-23, 17-15) against visiting Barton (0-1) of the IVA behind Colby Landy’s 24 kills; visiting Fairleigh Dickenson (2-0) of the NEC swept IVA member American International (0-3); and D-III Juniata (1-0) swept visiting Merrimack (0-1) of the NEC 25-14, 25-20, 25-20.
THURSDAY: Loyola overpowered King 25-20, 25-20, 25-18. Colton Brooks and Parker Van Buren had nine kills each. Colton had two aces, three blocks and three digs, and Van Buren hit .400 and had five aces. The Ramblers hit .333 and had 13 aces and 13 errors. King, which hit .156 and had five aces and six errors, got nine kills from Warren Davis …
In matches involving independents, Limestone beat LIU in four and Mount Olive did the same to Tusculum. Limestone’s Albert Warzocha had 23 kills, hit .415 and had an assist, two aces, six digs and three blocks, one solo.