Five conference championship matches are set for Saturday as the Big West, Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF decide titles and the NCAA Division I-II tournament bids that go with them.
Friday, Long Beach State and Hawai’i won their Big West semifinal matches, and North Greenville and Mount Olive did the same in Conference Carolinas.
Big West — No. 1 seed Long Beach State (20-4) vs. No. 2 seed Hawai’i (23-5)
Conference Carolinas — No. 1 seed North Greenville (19-5) vs. No. 3 seed Mount Olive (16-6)
EIVA — No. 3 seed NJIT (17-10) vs. No. 4 seed Princeton (14-12)
MIVA — No. 1 seed Ball Sate (22-3) vs. No. 6 seed Purdue Fort Wayne
MPSF — No. 3 seed Pepperdine (18-9) vs. No. 5 seed Stanford (14-13)
There is also an Independent Volleyball Association tournament wrapping up Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina. Daemen (16-5) plays three-time defending IVA champion Lincoln Memorial (19-7) for the title.
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Alex Nikolov did nothing to hurt his chances as national player of the year as Long Beach opened play at Hawai’i with a 22-25, 25-23, 25-19, 29-27 victory over fifth-seeded UC Irvine. Nikolov had 28 kills with four errors in 43 attacks to hit .558 and had two aces, two blocks and four digs. Clarke Godbold had 15 kills, hit .400, and had an ace, a block and five digs. Mason Briggs had 16 digs and six assists and Aidan Knipe had 53 assists, a block and three digs. His team hit .412 and had five aces and 16 errors.
UCI ended it season 11-16. Francesco Sani led with 21 kills as he hit .304 and had an assist, two blocks and six digs. Hilir Henno had 14 kills, hit .423, and added an assist, four aces, two blocks and a dig. Doug Dahm had nine kills with one error in 16 swings, an assist, a dig and four blocks. Aiden Wolf-Nielsen had seven kills with one error in 13 attacks. Cole Poer had 12 digs and five assists and Brian Garcia had three kills in four errorless tries, 42 assists, seven digs and five blocks, one solo. UCI lost despite hitting .367 and the Anteaters had six aces and 19 errors …
Hawai’i put an end to UC Santa Barbara’s season with a 25-18, 26-24, 25-14 sweep. The Rainbow Warriors, playing before a home crowd of 5,238, hit .388 and had four aces and nine errors. Dimitrios Mouchlias led with 15 kills as he hit .419 after having two errors in 31 attacks to go with an assist, an ace, four blocks and eight digs. Spyros Chakas had 11 kills, hit .364, and had two aces, two digs and five blocks, two solo. Chaz Galloway had seven kills with one error in 12 attacks, an asssist, two blocks and seven digs. Cole Hogland had four kills in seven errorless swings and three blocks and Guilherme Voss had three kills and seven blocks, one solo. Jakob Thelle had a kill, 33 assists, two blocks and nine digs.
The Gauchos, who were seeded No. 3 and ranked No. 6 in the AVCA top 15, finished 19-9 after losing to Hawai’i for the third time this season. Ryan Wilcox led with 13 kills, two aces, a solo block and eight digs. UCSB hit .167 and had three aces and 11 errors.
In their only meetings this season, Hawai’i played at Long Beach, losing in four on both April 1 and April 2.
At Mount Olive, North Greenville swept Emmanuel (15-14) 25-19, 25-20, 25-12. Gregory Torres led with 12 kills as he hit .474 and had four digs and two blocks, one solo. His team hit .275 and had four aces — three by Michael de la Cruz — and 12 errors. Emmanuel hit minus .070 …
Mount Olive beat King (17-12) 25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 25-15. Tobi Azeez had 16 kills with no errors in 30 attacks to hit .533 and had an ace against seven errors, two blocks and four digs. Eric Visgitis had 11 kills in 14 errorless attacks and five blocks. Mount Olive hit .409 and had two aces and 23 errors. King hit .196 and had no aces and 11 errors. Suetonius Harris led with 16 kills, an assist and six digs.
If their regular-season matchups are any indication, the final should be something else, because North Greenville beat Mount Olive twice this season, 23-25, 25-22, 19-25, 26-4, 15-12 at home on February 11, and then 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 16-14 at Mount Olive on March 26.
Lincoln Memorial swept Limestone (17-10) 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 behind 15 kills from Cole Campisano. Daemen beat Queens (17-12) as Zach Schneider had 18 kills, hit .394, and had two blocks and six digs.
NCAA men’s committee
After the five automatic bids are decided, the NCAA has to choose two at-large teams for the seven-team field and then seed them all. The bracket announcement will be made on NCAA.com at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday.
The two at-larges will come from either UCLA and Penn State — both upset in their conference tournaments — and the Long Beach-Hawai’i loser.
The five-member committee includes two members whose teams still playing, Stanford coach John Kosty and Hawai’i athletic director David Matlin. They are joined by Princeton executive associate director of athletics Anthony Archbald, MIVA commissioner Tim O’Brien and King coach Ryan Booher.
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