NCAA volleyball: Pepperdine women, men win; recaps; AVCA beach poll

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FIU's Myrthe Maring hits against Jacksonville's Sydney Bolding/FIU photo

Pepperdine, BYU, and Saint Mary’s won West Coast Conference matches Wednesday in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball, the AVCA preseason NCAA women’s beach poll came out, and Pepperdine and Erskine got men’s volleyball victories.

Thursday’s NCAA Division I women’s volleyball schedule includes one Pac-12 match when Washington State plays at Arizona State.

There’s plenty of MAC-tion when everyone in the Mid-American is playing. Kent State is at Central Michigan, Miami goes to Akron, Ball State is at Buffalo, Ohio is at Eastern Michigan, Toledo is at NIU, and Bowling Green is at Western Michigan.

Two Texas teams face off when Stephen F. Austin of the Southland plays at Houston of the American Athletic twice at 1 p.m. Central and again at 6 p.m. 

Four Louisiana teams are in action as Southeastern Louisiana of the SLC goes to Tulane of the AAC, and the SWAC’s Grambling goes to Northwestern State of the SLC. 

Gonzaga was to play Montana, but that match was canceled. 

Men’s matches include Ball State home for Lincoln Memorial and Belmont Abbey at Queens.

Go to the VolleyballMag.com TV and Streaming listings to get links to any match that is being broadcast.

WEST COAST CONFERENCE — Pepperdine beat visiting San Francisco again, this time in four after losing the first set and going overtime and then some in the second. Rachel Ahrens led with 18 kills as she hit .306 and had 16 digs, an ace, and a block in the 23-25, 31-29, 25-17, 25-17 victory. Emma Ammerman had 15 kills and hit .387 and Meg Brown had 12 kills, hit .588, and had five blocks. Isabel Zelaya. Had two kills in five errorless tries, 46 assists, six blocks, and 12 digs. 

Greta Corti and McKenna Marshall had 17 kills each for San Francisco. Corti had two assists, a block, and 12 digs, while Marshall had two assists, a block, and 14 digs. Valeria Alegria Cambindo had 15 kills, an assist, and three digs, and Aylen Ayub had two kills in five errorless attempts, 45 assist, an ace, and 13 digs …  

BYU battled to a 25-23, 26-24, 25-22 sweep at Portland. Kennedy Eschenberg led a balanced attack with 11 kills while hitting .474. Her team hit .245, while Portland hit .304.

Taylen Ballard-Nixon had nine kills, four aces, five digs, and a block, and Kate Grimmer had eight kills and two blocks. Mia Wesley had 17 kills and hit .433 for Portland to go with seven digs and a block. Jayde Harris had 10 kills …

Saint Mary’s gained a split with a five-set victory at Loyola Marymount, 17-15 in the fifth. It was the first time Saint Mary’s beat LMU since 2012.

There were no official final stats available from either team’s website. LMU, the home team, had an incomplete live-stats boxscore and no recap, and the Saint Mary’s recap mentioned no stats, but did have this quote from coach Rob Browning:

“A great win for the Gaels. The team battled and believed. LMU is a good team, and to bounce back after last night’s loss shows the character our team has. We fought off set points in the third and had chances to win in four but couldn’t close it out. That could have been a dagger for a weaker team, but our team just kept fighting. We had match point against us but didn’t fold. Quite the opposite – the Gaels didn’t hesitate to play our game and finish.”

Also in the WCC, Gonzaga’s matches against San Diego that were postponed have been rescheduled for February 5-6. 

ALSO — Jacksonville of the ASUN won in five at FIU of Conference USA. Hannah Edelma led with 16 kills and 14 digs and Isa Dostal and Barbora Romancova had 14 kills each. It was the first win for new Jacksonville coach Maggie Couture … 

Eastern Washington of the Big Sky swept Division II Northwest Nazarene …

UNC Greensboro was set to play host to NC A&T, but that match was postponed Wednesday “due to positive COVID tests and quarantine requirements within North Carolina A&T’s program. UNCG is scheduled to return to action on Sunday when it visits Chattanooga in its SoCon opener at 4 p.m.”

AVCA POWWisconsin senior middle Dana Rettke is the first AVCA spring 2021 national player of the week. The Badgers beat Purdue twice to open the Big Ten season and Rettke had 25 kills and hit .523 and had 11 blocks in the two matches, seven solo.

AVCA BEACH POLL — Action doesn’t start for another month, but the AVCA announced its preseason Collegiate Beach Volleyball preseason ranking. LSU, which was No. 1 when the season ended last spring and has everyone back and then some, is No. 1 again. UCLA is No. 2, followed by Florida State and USC. LSU received 12 of the possible 16 first place votes. UCLA and USC got two each.

Click here for the complete AVCA beach poll. 

MEN — Pepperdine won in three at Concordia as the Waves hit .387. Spencer Wickens led with 10 kills while hitting .421. Raymond Barsemian had 21 kills for Concordia, as he hit .543 and had three aces and six digs. When Pepperdine beat CUI on Monday, Barsemian also had 21 kills … 

Erskine of Conference Carolinas won in five at Reinhardt. Jacob Whyte had 21 kills, two aces, 15 digs, and a block in the 28-26, 20-25, 35-33, 19-25, 15-13 victory. Jason Sall had 13 kills, three acees, seven digs, and two blocks, two solo. Reinhardt’s Matthew Corrales had 20 kills and Chase Cross 16. 

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