NIVC semifinals set, AF hires a coach, ESPN lists announcers

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NIVC semifinals-Lexi Douglas-Tulane
Tulane's Lexi Douglas attacks against Valparaiso/Tulane photo

The NIVC semifinals are set after Charleston, Tulane and UNLV won on Thursday night, Air Force hired a coach, and ESPN told us who will be calling the eight NCAA Tournament round-of-16 matches on Friday.

NIVC: Iowa State was already in the semifinals after beating North Texas on Wednesday 22-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20. Iowa State (19-13) will play host to UNLV (22-11) after the Rebels beat Portland 19-25, 25-19, 30-28, 25-20.

The other semifinal has Charleston (24-11) at Tulane (28-8). Charleston beat Clemson 25-22, 25-23, 25-19, while Tulane held off Valparaiso 25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20.

Iowa State played without senior Grace Lazard, dismissed from the team for violation of team policies. It didn’t affect Jess Schaben, as she continued her strong season with 26 kills while hitting .429 to go with 11 digs and three blocks. Candelaria Herrera added 12 kills while hitting .333 to go with three digs and five blocks, Josie Herbst had 11 kills, Eleanor Holthaus had nine kills, three aces, two digs and three blocks, and Hannah Bailey, in for Lazard, had seven kills with one error to hit .545 and had two aces, five digs and four blocks.

North Texas, which ended its season 19-17, got 15 kills, 14 digs, an ace and block from Valerie Valerian.

UNLV’s Mariena Hayden had 18 kills, 20 digs, an assist, five aces and four blocks. Elsa Descamps had 11 kills without an error in 21 swings and hit .524 to go with two aces, four digs and four blocks, and Jillian Berg had 10 kills, two aces, 13 digs and two blocks. Portland State (20-13) got 15 kills from Izzy Guzik, who had two assists, eight digs and two blocks.

Charleston won the battle of South Carolina teams as Rachel Devon had 18 kills, hit .438, and had two assists, two aces, six digs and a block. Kennedy Madison added 11 kills, hit .474, and had two blocks. Lauren Freed had seven kills, an assist, four digs and two blocks. Clemson (19-15) was led by Solei Thomas, who had 12 kills, and Brooke Bailey, who had 11.

And Tulane’s Erika Hansel had 17 kills and hit .517 to go with two assists, a dig and three blocks against Valpo, which ended its season 27-11. Dayna Kern added 12 kills for Tulane to go with three assists, an ace, two digs and seven blocks. Yvette Burcescu had nine kills, two digs and six blocks. Katherine Carson had 21 kills and eight digs for Valpo.

Air Force promotes Barnett: Keith Barnett, an assistant at the school, was promoted Thursday. Marc Swindle, announced his retirement last month after nine years with the program, the last three as head coach. Air Force finished 17-15 this season, 7-11 in the Mountain West. 

Who’s talking? ESPN announced its announcing teams for the four regionals. All the matches are on either ESPNU or ESPN3.

Tiffany Greene and Missy Whittemore are at Illinois for Marquette vs. Illinois and San Diego vs. Wisconsin; Paul Sunderland and Karch Kiraly are at Minnesota for Kentucky vs. Nebraska and Minnesota vs. Oregon; Sam Gore and Dain Blanton are at BYU for Michigan vs. Texas and Florida vs. BYU; and Courtney Lyle and Jenny Hazelwood are at Stanford for Washington vs. Penn State and Stanford vs. Washington State. 

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