NCAA men: EIVA final, Big West, MPSF semifinals set

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NCAA men's volleyball 4/23/2021-Simon Andersen-Long Beach State men's volleyball
Simon Andersen

George Mason and Penn State both swept their EIVA semifinals Thursday, setting up Saturday’s winner-take-all final.

Long Beach State and UC San Diego won their Big West quarterfinal matches Thursday night and have moved into Friday’s semifinals at Hawai’i.

In the MPSF, UCLA, Grand Canyon, and Pepperdine all won and moved into Friday’s semifinals at BYU. It also marked, presumedly, the end of the Stanford men’s program.

The MIVA final is Saturday, too, with Loyola at Lewis. Belmont Abbey already won the Conference Carolinas automatic NCAA bid.

EIVA — Third-seeded George Mason (15-6) swept NJIT (13-6) as Hayden Wagner had 14 kills and five blocks.

“I am very proud of our team,” Mason coach Jay Hosack said. “It wasn’t pretty volleyball but it was gutsy. Both teams had not played a match in three weeks and it showed. But we refused to give up and executed at a high level. Win, lose or draw they just want to leave it all out on the court and have no regrets. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Wagner had two assists, an ace, and three digs. Sam Greenslade had eight kills, two aces, three blocks, and six digs. Jack Reese had five kills with one error in 10 attacks, and six blocks. Zach Talamoa had two kills in as many tries, 28 assists, and 10 digs.

Alvaro Gimeno led NJIT with 12 kills, an assist, an ace, five blocks, and four digs …

Top-seeded Penn State (20-3) ousted Saint Francis (8-19) as the Nittany Lions hit .390. Michal Kowal led with 12 kills and hit .455 to go with four assists, an ace, and four digs. Brett Wildman had 10 kills and hit .348. He had three assists, four digs, and two blocks, one solo. Cole Bogner had three kills in eight errorless attempts, 23 assists, an ace, two blocks, and three digs.

“I thought that for 85-percent of the match, we were playing like we had the second half of the entire season,” Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said.

“We were making good decisions offensively. I thought our serve was limiting the amount of times they could get the ball to the middles and I thought, defensively, we were playing pretty good defense. It was tough to put a ball down against us.”

Penn State and Mason split their two matches this season.

BIG WEST — At Hawai’i, Long Beach State (7-4) hit .432 and swept UC Irvine (2-14) and will play UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s semifinals. Spencer Olivier led with 18 kills as he hit .424 and had an ace, two blocks, and five digs. Ethan Siegfried had 10 kills, hit .444, and had two assists, two aces, three blocks, and four digs. Clarke Godbold had nine kills, hit .375, and had an assist, an ace, two blocks, and three digs. Aidan Knipe had 42 assists, two aces, a block, and three digs.

UCI’s Alexandre Nsakanda led with 11 kills as he hit .429 and had two blocks and two digs …

In the other semifinal, UC San Diego (4-12) got its first postseason Division I victory in program history as it beat CSUN (2-9) in four and will play the top-ranked and unbeaten home team.

Kyle McCauley led with 18 kills, three aces, a block, and 12 digs. Ryan Ka had 17 kills, two assists, an ace, six blocks, and five digs. Blake Crisp had two kills, 45 assists, an ace, two blocks, and seven digs, and Matt Palma had 14 digs and two assists.

Daniel Wetter had 18 kills for CSUN and Ryan DeWeese had 13, three blocks and nine digs.

MPSF — The semifinals are set at BYU where the top-seeded home team plays Grand Canyon and UCLA faces Pepperdine.

Cole Ketrzynski had 24 kills and UCLA (15-5) hit .425 as it beat Concordia (3-14) in four. Ketrzynski had four errors in 42 attacks to hit .476 and had an assist, an ace, two blocks, and seven digs. Alex Knight had 15 kills, and Kevin Kobrine and Daniel Matheney had 10 each. Sam Kobrine had 59 assists, a kill, two aces, a block, and 10 digs.

Concordia lost despite hitting .352. Raymond Barsemian had 19 kills, hit .405, and had an ace, three blocks, and three digs …

GCU (9-10) lost the first set 30-28 but then came back and beat USC (5-13) in four as Camden Gianni had 24 kills with one error in 33 attacks to hit .697. His team hit .375. Gianni had four aces, a block, and two digs. Hugo Fisher and Christian Janke had 10 kills each. USC, which hit .316, got 18 kills from Billy Fauntleroy, 16 from Brandon Browning, and 12 from Clay Dickson …

Pepperdine (12-5) beat Stanford (3-14) in four. Stanford, which got 24 kills from Will Rottman, announced last year that this would be the end of its men’s program, but there is a strong movement afoot to save the sport at the school.

Pepperdine hit .339 as Spencer Wickens and Jacob Steele had 14 kills each and Austin Wilmot had 12 while hitting .647. He also had five blocks. Stanford’s Rottman had three errors in 42 swings to hit .500 and he had an assist, a block, and three digs. Luke Turner had 13 kills and Nathan Lietzke had 45 assists, a kill, a block, and 10 digs.

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