NCAA volleyball: Unpredictable beach openers, big MIVA win for Loyola men

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Jonathan Predney-Concordia-Irvine-MPSF
Jonathan Predney attacks for Concordia against CSUN/Concordia photo

If the first couple of days of the NCAA beach volleyball season is an indicator, things could be quite unpredictable this year.

Top-ranked USC had to go five both times, but the Women of Troy went 2-0 Saturday to open their season. No. 2 Pepperdine bounced back from being upset by preseason No. 14 Cal Poly to beat No. 6 LSU and No. 10 Grand Canyon. No. 3 UCLA split, beating Stanford but getting blanked by No. 5 Hawai’i.

The NCAA beach roundup follows.

The tops of three men’s conferences look a little different after Saturday’s action when No. 8 Loyola knocked off No. 4 Ohio State in the MIVA, No. 7 Penn State beat Charleston in the EIVA and Barton topped King in Conference Carolinas.

The NCAA Division I-II men’s results — and a key DIII match — follow. There are two matches Sunday, including No. 5 UC Irvine back at No. 3 Hawai’i after losing to the Rainbow Warriors on Friday.

NCAA beach
USC first played at Grand Canyon in Phoenix and beat the 10th-ranked Lopes before driving over to Tempe and beating Arizona State. The season-opening win at GCU it came down to the No. 2 pair of freshmen Haley Hallgren and Sammy Slater, who beat Grand Canyon’s Jessica Stanfield and Brianna Sizemore 22-24, 21-15, 15-11.

Then shortly after after, the dual was decided a bit earlier, but it was Hallgren and Slater winning again to clinch it. Click here for both USC stories and results.

Also in Phoenix, Pepperdine downed LSU 4-1, winning all but No. 1, and then the Waves beat the home team, GCU, 4-1, losing only at No. 5. Click here for complete Pepperdine results. 

LSU bounced back to sweep Nebraska. The No. 1 pair of Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss opened the season 4-0. Click here for complete LSU results. 

It was all or nothing for UCLA at Hawai’i’s Rainbow Wahine Classic, which beat no. 17 Stanford 5-0 but then got swept by Hawai’i. Click here for complete UCLA results. Meanwhile, Hawai’i beat Stanford 4-1, finishing a 2-0 day for the No. 1 pair of former Missouri indoors star Carly Kan and Laurel Weaver, whose day included a three-set win over UCLA’s McNamara twins, Nicole and Megan. Click here for the complete Hawai’i results. 

The gathering at Stetson in DeLand, Fla., included Florida State, which beat No. 12 Georgia State and No. 15 Stetson, 4-1 in both. Click here for results of both matches. Also at Stetson, No. 8 South Carolina won twice, beating Stetson and No. 16 Florida Atlantic. Click here for the recap and results.

NCAA men
MIVA: Loyola and Lewis are now tied for the MIVA lead after Loyola beat Ohio State and Lewis beat McKendree.

Loyola (12-3, 5-1 MIVA) beat visiting Ohio State (11-4, 4-2) 20-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-23, 17-15. The last set was tied at 14 before the Ramblers won it. Collin Mahan led Loyola with 13 kills, six digs and three blocks. Ryan Jamison and Paul Narup had 10 kills each, with Narup hitting .643 to go with two digs and five blocks.

Defending NCAA-champion Ohio State, which lost at Lewis on Thursday and has now lost back-to-back MIVA matches for the first time in forever, got 41 of its 63 kills from two players. Jake Hanes led with 21 kills, two of the Buckeyes’ whopping 14 aces, six digs and two blocks. Nic Szerszen added 20 kills, hit .457, had three aces and 10 digs. OSU had just two blocks.

Lewis (11-4, 5-1) beat McKendree (6-8, 3-3) 25-16, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16. Tyler Mitchem led with 12 kills, hitting .667. He had four blocks. Ryan Coenen and Mitch Perinar had eights kills each. Nolan Rueter had 13 kills for McKendree.

Also in the MIVA, No. 14 Ball State won at Lindenwood in five and No. 15 Fort Wayne won at Quincy in five.

Blake Reardon and Mitch Weller led a balanced attack for Ball State (9-7, 4-2) with 12 kills each. Parker Swartz added 11. Ball State won despite hitting .224 and having three aces and 28 serving errors. Lindenwood is 6-9, 1-6.

Fort Wayne (11-4, 3-3) got 17 kills from Pelegrin Vargas and 16 from Colton Stone. Vargas had five aces and Stone three… Quincy is 8-9, 0-7.

EIVA: George Mason (8-7, 4-0) leads the league after winning at Saint Francis. Mason, coming off its upset at Penn State, got 14 kills from Kyle Barnes, who hit .500 and had four digs and four blocks, one solo, in its 25-13, 25-14, 15-25, 28-26 win. Christian Malias had 13 kills and hit .429 and Hayden Wagner had 11 kills, four digs and three blocks. SFU is 7-10, 2-3.

Penn State (9-3, 4-1) bounced back by handing Charleston (8-2, 3-1) its first league loss 25-21, 25-20, 25-15. The Nittany Lions hit .466 with five players getting five or more kills. Aidan Albrecht led with eight, hitting .412 to go with three aces, two digs and two blocks. Jalen Penrose had six kills, hit .444, and had five of his team’s nine aces, two digs and three blocks.

Also in the EIVA, Princeton (2-11, 1-4) broke a nine-match losing streak with a 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18 win over Sacred Heart (2-8, 0-5), and Harvard (3-8, 2-2) won in five at NJIT (3-9, 1-2) as Brad Gretsch had 19 kills, hit .500, and had 10 digs and four blocks, one solo.

MPSF: Stanford (3-13, 1-4 MPSF) may be struggling, but the visiting Cardinal gave No. 6 BYU (12-4, 5-0) all it could handle 23-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-10, 15-12.

BYU, which won in four at Stanford this past Wednesday, was led by Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga, who had 16 kills. He hit .500, had an ace, four digs and four blocks. Brenden Sander had 14 kills, three digs and two blocks. Stanford’s Jaylen Jasper had 18 kills and Eric Beatty 14.

No. 12 Grand Canyon won at USC 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, leaving the Lopes 12-6, 2-4 and USC 4-12, 1-5. Ashton King led with 17 kills while hitting .583 to go with nine blocks, two solo, and six digs. Shalev Saada added 13 kills. Gianluca Grasso and Ryan Moss had 16 kills each for the Lopes. Kyle Gear had 10 blocks, one solo.

Also, in non-conference action, Concordia beat No. 11 CSUN (8-5) of the Big West in five. Concordia (7-5) won 25-19, 24-26, 35-37, 35-33, 15-13, continuing to make waves after earlier in the week knocking off GCU and USC.

Jonathan Predney led Concordia with 26 kills, hitting .400, to go with three aces, four blocks and four digs. Raymond Barsemian added 13 kills while hitting .545. CSUN wasted two big offensive efforts as Arvis Greene had 28 kills to go with two blocks and four digs and Dimitar Kalchev had 22 kills, 12 digs and two blocks.

Conference Carolinas: Barton is the surprise league leader at 10-6, 8-0, after sweeping King (10-3, 7-1). The 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 victory saw Barton hit .319 as Angelos Mandilaris had 18 kills. King hit .076. Attendance at King in Wilson, N.C., between the league’s two previous unbeatens was listed at 80.

Also, Mount Olive (9-5, 6-2) swept Lees-McRae (2-11, 0-6) and Belmont Abbey beat Alderson Broaddus and Limestone beat Coker in non-conference matches.

Springfield rolls on in DIII: The beat both Sage and Rivier in straight sets on Saturday afternoon. Springfield, ranked No. 1 AVCA Division III poll for the 21st consecutive straight week, is 16-1 after losing its season opener. The Pride has 32 sets in a row.

Click here for the complete Springfield recap.

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