Non-conference matchups proved pretty interesting Thursday in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball, as third-ranked UC Irvine bounced back to beat No. 10 Ball State, 14th-ranked Concordia upset No. 6 Loyola, and in Hawai’i, No. 4 BYU beat No. 11 Penn State and No. 2 Hawai’i swept No. 8 Lewis.
Friday’s schedule promises more of the same as BYU plays Lewis and Penn State faces Hawai’i at Hawai’i, and George Mason goes to No. 12 CSUN, and No. 14 Fort Wayne plays at No. 14 UC Santa Barbara.
In NCAA beach volleyball, fourth-ranked UCLA made the most of a Thursday at home and beat No. 3 Hawai’i and No. 17 Loyola Marymount in advance of a huge weekend on Manhattan Beach. Hawai’i beat LMU.
On Friday, action includes No. 18 Tulane at No. 14 Stanford.
UCI sweeps Ball State: The Anteaters of the Big West, upset by Fort Wayne the night before, won 25-23, 25-15, 25-20 to improve to 12-5.
UCI’s Joel Schneidmiller had 10 kills and hit .600. He had an ace, five digs and six blocks. Aaron Koubi and Karl Apfelbach had nine kills each and their team hit .357.
Ball State (11-8) of the MIVA got eight kills from Matt Walsh, who had two aces and four blocks.
Concordia beats Loyola: The Ramblers of the MIVA lost 24-26, 23-25, 25-17, 23-25. Concordia (9-9) of the MPSF was led by Raymond Barsemian, who had 18 kills, an ace, nine digs and four blocks. Jonathan Predney had 10 kills, six digs and two blocks.
Loyola (15-4) got 17 kills from Collin Mahan, who hit .419. Ricky Gevis added 13 kills, eight digs and seven blocks. Their team had two aces and 20 serving errors.
Outrigger Resorts Invitational: BYU of the MPSF had to go the distance to beat Penn State of the EIVA 21-25, 29-27, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13.
The Cougars (15-4) were led by Brenden Sander, who had 20 kills, hit .390 and had an ace, five digs and two blocks. Gabi Garcia Fernandez had 19 kills, hit .419, had three of BYU’s seven aces, and three digs. Felipe de Brito Ferreira had seven blocks to go with two kills.
Penn State (10-5) got 19 kills from Matthew McLaren, who hit .361. He had two of the Nittany Lions’ six aces, three digs and three blocks. Calvin Mende had 18 kills, hit .333 and had four digs and five blocks. Kevin Gear had 10 kills and three blocks, one solo, and Jalen Penrose had eight kills, two aces, and seven blocks.
Hawai’i (12-2) of the Big West made short work of the MIVA’s Lewis (13-6) 25-12, 25-22, 25-19 as Stijn van Tilburg had 13 kills and hit .385. Austin Matautia added 10 kills while hitting .400 and he had four of his team’s nine aces.
Lewis was led by Ryan Coenen, who had 11 kills but hit .069. He had two aces and seven digs.
Also in men’s volleyball on Thursday, Grand Canyon of the MPSF beat Menlo in three.
UCLA wins twice in beach: The Bruins (6-3) woke up early to beat Hawai’i 4-1 in a match that started at 9 a.m., pretty early for the Sandbows, and then came back and swept LMU.
“Nice bounceback by the Bruins,” UCLA coach Stein Metzger said. “After a weekend in Zuma, we were really hungry for a win, and we knew Hawai’i was a great team. We put in a lot of preparation for this match, watched a lot of video and I thought we executed well in a lot of our duals, especially in our two slot.
“When we faced Hawai’i over there, their twos had their way with us, and today Lily (Justine) and Sarah (Sponcil) prepared well and had a great match, and I thought that was a big turn for us.
Metzger is impressed with the level of NCAA beach volleyball across the nation.
“I know that the rest of the country is great. In practice, our training and our practice level has been better than ever by double. But the rest of the country is looking the same, so I think that just speaks to the sport itself, how good athletes are getting at the sport, and the level gets better and better each year.
“Certainly, kids keep coming in and playing great. Look at (Lea) Monkhouse, a freshman for UH, coming into the threes, a great player. People are coming into college playing at a really high level, so instead of us teaching skills now, we’re teaching strategy and some of the finer points of the game. It’s fun for coaches, and fun for the spectators.”
UCLA’s Nicole McNamara recently returned from shoulder surgery.
“It was really good to come out with a win. We got swept by them in Hawai’i the first time, and that was really disappointing, and the second time we played them, it was really close, it was 3-2, so it felt really good to come out strong at home and dominate,” McNamara said.
“A lot of my focus was just making sure to get healthy. I had surgery in July, I knew that when the season started, that was seven months away, but the estimated rehab from surgery was eight months, so it was cutting it close, it was really hard. I was in the training room every day. That was my main focus, staying in shape, and making sure that my shoulder was healthy.”
Click here for the UCLA recap and results from both matches.
Hawai’i beat LMU 3-2 as the Sandbows improved to 4-2 and LMU fell to 4-3. Click here for the Hawai’i recap and results.