Mason Briggs: The trailblazing libero who amassed a 100K-plus following
December 6, 2023
April 16, 2023
The MIVA quarterfinals got underway Saturday and we had the first NCAA Division I-II postseason upset as seventh-seeded McKendree knocked off second-seeded and 12th-ranked Loyola.
On the last day of regular-season play, top-ranked Hawai’i, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Penn State, No, 4 Long Beach State all won, but Long Beach had to go five to win its Big West match at No. 5 UC Irvine.
Saint Francis (PA) sneaked past Daemen to win the NEC and Lincoln Memorial beat Queens to win the Independent Volleyball Association Tournament.
The NCAA will announce its seven-team field for the NCAA bracket next Sunday. Five conferences — Big West, EIVA, MIVA, MPSF and Conference Carolinas — get bids. Also under consideration are teams for the two at-larges from the NEC, SIAC and independents.
McKendree’s victory is the first time a No. 7 seed won in the MIVA Tournament.
This is the report from the MIVA:
No. 1 Ball State def. No. 8 Quincy 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-15)
No. 1 Ball State used an elite offensive performance to beat No. 3 Quincy 3-0. The Cardinals hit .500 as a team.
All-MIVA First Team member Tinaishe Ndavazocheva led the Cardinals with 13 kills and a .474 hitting percentage. Dyer Ball pitched in 10 kills from the right side. Libero Lukas Pytlak dug out six Quincy attacks.
Quincy was led by 10 kills from AJ Goedheer. Dominik Wagiel had a match-high eight digs.
Ball State moves on to play No. 4 Lewis on Wednesday.
No. 3 Ohio State def. No. 6 Lindenwood 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-23)
Offense was the name of the game in No. 3 Ohio Stateâ€™s 3-0 win over No. 6 Lindenwood. The Buckeyes out-hit the Lions .425-.313.
The All-MIVA performers were on full display on the Ohio State side. Player of the Year Jacob Pasteur had 14 kills (.400), Newcomer of the Year Shane Wetzel had 17 (.464) and All-MIVA First Team member Cole Young had seven kills on eight attempts.
Lindenwood was led by All-MIVA First Teamer A.J. Lewis, who finished with 11 kills.
Ohio State will welcome No. 7 McKendree on Wednesday.
No. 4 Lewis def. No. 5 Purdue Fort Wayne 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 16-25, 38-36)
Lewis outlasted a furious comeback attempt by Purdue Fort Wayne, topping the Mastodons in four sets.
All-MIVA Second Team selections Christian Prayer and Max Roquet had 17 and 16 kills, respectively, to lead Lewis.
All-MIVA First Team honoree Jon Diedrich had 19 kills on .375 hitting for Purdue Fort Wayne.
Lewis will head to No. 1 Ball State on Wednesday.
No. 7 McKendree def. No. 2 Loyola Chicago 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12)
No. 7 McKendree became the first seven-seed to win a MIVA tournament match. The Bearcatsâ€™ two-pronged attack was enough to knock off the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in five sets.
Bryce Wetjen and Kyle Wilson had 22 and 21 kills, respectively. Wetjen hit .341 and Wilson hit .432. Tyler Poulsen and Francisco Comas had 10 digs each.
All-MIVA First Team performer Parker Van Buren had 21 kills with a .526 hitting percentage for Loyola Chicago. Fellow First Team player had 50 assists.
McKendree will travel to Ohio State on Wednesday.
Hawai’i swept UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara knocked off CSUN again.
This is the report from the Big West.
The seedings and bracket have been finalized for the 2023 OUTRIGGER Big West Men’s Volleyball Championship, presented by The Hawaiian Islands, with two-time reigning national champion Hawai’i edging out fellow regular-season co-champion Long Beach State for the top seed by virtue of a tiebreaker.
UC Irvine is serving as the host for the first time this Thursday through Saturday, April 20-22, inside its Bren Events Center on campus. The 2020 edition was scheduled to take place there before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the back end of the season.
Fourth-ranked Long Beach State (20-3, 9-1 Big West), the outright 2022 Big West regular-season champion, clinched a share of this year’s title at the end of Saturday’s dramatic reverse sweep at No. 5 UC Irvine. Preseason coaches’ favorite Hawai’i (26-2, 9-1 Big West) then rejoined the Beach atop the final table by completing its weekend sweep of UC San Diego on Senior Night at the Stan Sheriff Center late Saturday. Both teams had entered the day having already secured the two first-round byes for The Big West Championship.
This is the first year since The Big West began its sponsorship of men’s volleyball that co-champions have been crowned. LBSU is now a record four-time regular-season victor, with UH earning its second regular-season trophy. The Rainbow Warriors are the only team to achieve a top-two seed in all four conference championships, so they have yet to face a first-round tilt.
With Hawai’i and Long Beach State having split their two-match Big West series on O’ahu in mid-March, the seeding at the top came down to tiebreakers. The Warriors held the narrow advantage in total points won that weekend, 144-141. The Beach are thus the No. 2 seed.
UC Irvine (16-10, 6-4 Big West) settled into the No. 3 seed. UC Santa Barbara (7-16, 3-7 Big West) swept its home-and-home series with No. 14 CSUN (12-15, 1-9 Big West) to move up to the No. 4 seed. Those losses dropped the Matadors into the No. 6 spot, with UC San Diego (8-16, 2-8 Big West) taking the No. 5 seed.
Thursday’s first round begins with UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego at 5 p.m. PT/2 p.m. HT. The teams split their regular-season series, with the Gauchos winning 3-1 at home on March 3 and the Tritons rallying to take a 3-2 thriller in La Jolla on April 7. The latter result snapped a 23-match losing skid for UC San Diego against UCSB that dated back over a decade to Feb. 15, 2013. The Gauchos won the only other Big West Championship meeting, a four-setter in the 2021 final.
The late first-round contest pits host UC Irvine against CSUN at 7:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. HT. The Anteaters grabbed both regular-season matchups in straight sets two weeks ago, and have topped the Matadors each of the last four times the sides have played. They have never faced off at The Big West Championship. CSUN has dropped its last 13 at the Bren Events Center since a 3-1 victory on Jan. 16, 2009.
Hawai’i awaits the advancing squad between UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego in Friday’s first semifinal at 5 p.m. PT/2 p.m. HT. The Rainbow Warriors swept both opponents this season, taking two straight-set affairs in Santa Barbara two weeks ago, before 3-1 and 3-0 home decisions over the Tritons this weekend.
Long Beach State then takes on either UC Irvine or CSUN at 7:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. HT. The Beach defeated the Matadors twice last week (3-2, 3-0) and the Anteaters twice this week (3-0, 3-2).
ESPNU will broadcast Saturday night’s OUTRIGGER Big West Men’s Volleyball Championship title match live, with first serve slated for 7:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. HT. Former Team USA Olympians Paul Sunderland and Kevin Barnett have the call. It will serve as the first and only nationally-televised collegiate men’s volleyball contest on ESPN platforms in 2023, prior to the National Collegiate Championship.
Saturday night, UCLA beat Pepperdine in four, BYU swept Stanford and USC swept Concordia Irvine.
This is the tournament preview from the MPSF.
MPSF Tournament Seeds:
MPSF CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
Wednesday-Saturday, April 19-22
Host: Stanford University
Maples Pavilion; Stanford, Calif.
MPSF Quarterfinals: Wednesday, April 19
No. 1 Seed UCLA—Bye
No. 2 Seed BYU vs. No. 7 Seed Concordia—3:05 pm
No. 3 Seed Stanford vs. No. 6 Seed USC—5:35 pm
No. 4 Seed Grand Canyon vs. No. 5 Seed Pepperdine—8:05 pm
MPSF Semifinals: Thursday, April 20
Lowest Remaining Seed vs. No. 1 Seed UCLA—4:35 pm
Highest-Seeded Quarterfinal Winners—7:05 pm
MPSF Championship: Saturday, April 22
Semifinal Winners—6:05 pm
Penn State beat Charleston in four to finish unbeaten in conference play for the second straight year. Penn State is the host for the tournament April 19-22.
George Mason beat Harvard in four.
The tournament begins Tuesday. Click here for the schedule and bracket.
Here is the NEC recap of the end of the season, including the surge by Saint Francis to win the league’s first regular-season title.
And click here for the NEC Tournament website with the schedule and more.
The Railsplittlers swept Queens to finish their season on a 19-match winning streak. Click here to read the recap.