UC San Diego took all the mystery out of who will get one of the at-large bids to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball tournament.
That’s because the fourth-seeded Tritons stunned top-ranked and previously unbeaten Hawai’i on its home court and will play UC Santa Barbara in Saturday’s Big West tournament championship match.
In the EIVA, Penn State will play George Mason, which both swept their semifinal matches, for the NCAA bid in Saturday’s final.
In the MPSF, BYU and Pepperdine both swept and meet for the title.
The MIVA match between Lewis and Loyola is Saturday.
BIG WEST — UC San Diego, which improved to 5-12 and had lost to Hawai’i four times previously this season and hadn’t beaten the Rainbow Warriors since 2012, came away with the unlikely 22-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-23, 18-16 victory.
Hawai’i (15-1) will almost assuredly now get one of the two NCAA at-large bids. The Big West, MPSF, MIVA, EIVA, and Conference Carolinas all get automatic bids to the seven-team tournament.
UCSD, which hit .241, got 18 klls from Kyle McCauley, who had three assists, four aces, four blocks, and 10 digs. Ryan Ka had 14 kills, an assist, three aces, four blocks, and five digs. Collin Shannon had 12 kills, hit .346, and had an assist, an ace, three blocks, and four digs. The 10 aces by the Tritons were the most against Hawai’i all season. Shane Benetz had four kills and eight blocks.
Hawai’i hit .281 and 11 aces. Patrick Gasman had 17 kills, hit .519, and had two aces, two blocks, and two digs. Rado Parapunov had 16 kills, an ace, two blocks, and six digs. Colton Cowell had 14 kills, three assists, three aces, a solo block, and eight digs. Chaz Gallowway had 11 kills, hit .391, and had an ace, two blocks, and nine digs.
Jakob Thelle had two kills in four errorless tries, 53 assists, two aces, a block, and 10 digs …
Second-seeded UCSB (14-4) won its ninth in a row with a 16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-15 victory over Long Beach State.
“You know typically when you get beat like that in the first the game, you don’t always come back from that the way we did,” UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin said.
“And that’s a tribute to these guys. They didn’t flinch. They didn’t feel anything after that first game, and I knew they were locked in.”
Ryan Wilcox led with 16 kills and hit .324. He had three aces, two blocks, and five digs. Randy DeWeese 12 kills, two assists, two blocks, and six digs. Keenan Sanders and Donovan Todorov had seven kills each and Todorov had no errors in 10 attacks and six blocks. Ryan Pecsok had 17 digs and three assists, and Casey McGarry had a kill in his only try, 35 assists, two blocks, and four digs.
Long Beach State (7-5) got 18 kills from Spencer Olivier, who hit .448 and had two assists, an ace, two blocks, and four digs. Ethan Siegfried and Clarke Godbold had eight kills each. Aidan Knipe had 38 assists, three blocks, and five digs.
EIVA — Top-seeded Penn State (20-3) swept Saint Francis (8-19) 25-16, 25-22, 25-20. The Nittany Lions, playing at home, hit .390. Michal Kowal led with 12 kills as he hit .455 and had four assists, an ace, and four digs. Brett Wildman had 10 kills and hit .348 and added three assists, a block, and four digs. Cal Fisher had eight kills and hit .400 and had three assists, two aces, and six digs. Cole Bogner had three kills in eight errorless tries, 23 assists, an ace, two blocks, and three digs.
Saint Francis got 13 kills from Michael Fisher, who had two aces and four digs …
George Mason (15-6) escaped a wild first set and beat NJIT (13-6) 32-30, 25-15, 25-23.
The Patriots, who hit .270, got 14 kills from Hayden Wagner, who had two assists, an ace, five blocks, and three digs. Sam Greenslade had eight kills, two aces, three blocks, and six digs. Zach Talamoa had two kills in two attempts, 28 assists, and 10 digs.
NJIT’s Alvaro Gimeno had 12 kills, an assist, an ace, five blocks, and four digs.
MPSF — Top-seeded and host BYU (18-3) hit .390 and swept Grand Canyon (9-11) 25-14, 25-19, 29-27.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez led a balanced attack with 12 kills as he hit .417 and had four aces, four blocks, and a dig. Zach Eschenberg had 10 kills, four blocks, and five digs. Davide Gardini had eight kills, two aces, two blocks, and two digs. Felipe de Brito Ferreira had four kills in six errorless attacks, an ace, and seven blocks. Wil Stanley had a kill, 35 assists, three blocks, and five digs.
“It was a fun match,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Hats off to Grand Canyon. We expected it to be back-and-forth, and it was. I’m proud of our guys.
“We kept our cool through a few of those plays down the stretch that we needed to convert. It was a fun night to be a part of and to feel the energy.”
GCU hit .188. Camden Gianni led with 15 kills, three aces, and two digs …
Both teams were sharp on offense, but third-seeded Pepperdine (13-5), which had split with UCLA twice in the regular season, swept the second-seeded Bruins (15-6) 25-20, 25-23, 26-24.
Pepperdine, which hit .423, had 42 kills with nine errors in 78 attacks. Jacob Steele led with 13 kills, hitting .409, and had an ace and two blocks. Spencer Wickens had 11 kills, hit .444, and had three assists and three digs.
UCLA, which hit .432, got 17 kills from Cole Ketrzynski, who hit .500, and 15 from Kevin Kobrine, who hit .400. Sam Kobrine had a kill, 41 assists, an ace, two blocks, and seven digs.
MIVA — Lewis (12-2) is the top seed and plays host to Loyola (9-5). It’s the fifth time since 2013 that the two Chicago-area schools have played for the league title.
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS — Belmont Abbey won the title.