George Mason clinched the EIVA regular-season title by beating Harvard in five and will be the host for the league tournament for the first time.
There were a handful of matches on Friday with a busy Saturday ahead. Among the results, No. 9 South Carolina won twice, beating No. 19 Tulane and Coastal Carolina, and no. 17 Stetson beat Jacksonville and North Florida in ASUN action. A look at those matches and Saturday’s schedule follows.
Big West: Long Beach has already clinched the regular-season title, but was finishing with a two-match trip to No. 6 Hawai’i before the conference tournament begins Thursday.
Long Beach (24-0 overall, 9-0 Big West) took 3 hours, 13 minutes to win 25-16, 17-25, 26-24, 25-27, 22-20. The Rainbow Warriors (17-7, 5-4) dropped into a tie for second place with No. 3 UC Irvine, which had the night off.
Also Friday, No. 9 CSUN beat UC San Diego. Saturday’s schedule has CSUN at UC San Diego and No. 12 UC Santa Barbara at UCI.
Long Beach saved its best for last as the Beach hit .464 in the fifth set. It had 15 kills on 28 swings and committed just two attack errors. For the match, Long Beach hit .250 and had 60 kills, 22 by TJ DeFalco, who had four blocks. Kyle Ensing had 16 kills, five of his team’s eight aces, 12 digs and four blocks. Nick Amado had six kills and seven blocks, including the match-winner with setter Josh Tuaniga, who finished with six, one solo.
Hawai’i had 67 kills, 20 each by Brett Rosenmeier and Rado Parapunov. Parapunov hit .300, had an ace and added four digs and four blocks. Rosenmeier had an ace, 10 digs and two blocks. Dalton Solbrig had 12 kills, hit .500, and had two aces, two digs and seven blocks.
CSUN beat visiting UCSD 25-22, 25-14, 19-25, 25-17 to improve to 14-10, 4-5. Arvis Greene continued to lead the Matadors, this time with 17 kills while hitting .351. He had an ace, four digs and two blocks, one solo. Josiah Byers had 10 kills and hit .818 to go with three solo blocks.
UCSD (9-17, 0-9) has one last chance to win its first Big West match in this inaugural season. Tanner Syftestad led with 12 kills.
EIVA: George Mason beat visiting Harvard 25-22, 27-29, 25-27, 27-25, 15-11 to be the tourney host for the first time since 1994. The teams play again Saturday afternoon, but second-place Harvard (11-12, 10-3) can’t catch the home team (16-11, 12-1).
Mason’s balance attack was led by Jack Reese, who had 16 kills and hit .385. He added three blocks, one solo. Kyle Barnes and Hayden Wagner had 12 kills and nine digs each, while Barnes had two aces and Wagner had four blocks, three solo. Christian Malias had 11 kills and 13 digs to go with two aces, while Bryce Gatling had 10 kills and hit .500 to go with two digs and three blocks.
“Mason Nation should be very proud of their team tonight. We’ve done something that has not been done in 24 years here on this campus and that is a huge accomplishment,” Mason coach Jay Hosack said.
“Harvard is a great team. They fought tooth and nail, they’re well coached and are a really good program. It was a great match to be a part of and I’m looking forward to sending our seniors off tomorrow with a bang.”
Harvard’s Brad Gretsch led all players with 23 kills while hitting .313 to go with 11 digs and a block. Setter/opposite Marko Kostich had nine kills, an ace, nine digs and three blocks, one solo, while counterpart Matthew Ctvrtlik had three kills, two aces, seven digs and a solo block.
There were three other EIVA matches Friday, all ending in sweeps as Princeton (11-14, 7-6) stunned Penn State(14-10, 9-4) on its home floor 25-23, 25-17, 25-17, Charleston (15-10, 4-9) blanked visiting Sacred Heart (6-14, 2-11) and NJIT (8-16,5-9) did the same at Saint Francis (8-20, 3-10).
Princeton hit .471 as George Huhmann had 19 kills and hit .531 to go with an ace, three digs and three blocks. Penn State hit .175 and had one ace and 13 errors.
The EIVA ends its regular-season Saturday with Harvard again at Mason, NJIT at Penn State, Sacred Heart at Charleston and Princeton at SFU.
MPSF: There are three matches Saturday as Wieczorek’s Pepperdine (15-7, 8-4 MPSF) plays host to USC (7-19, 3-9), Grand Canyon (18-10 , 4-8) goes to Concordia (15-14, 8-7) and Stanford (6-19, 3-9) is at UCLA (22-6, 9-3). The three winners advance to the semifinals on April 19 at BYU (20-6, 10-2) with the championship match April 21 at BYU.
MIVA: The tournament begins Saturday with Quincy (12-18, 0-14) at Ohio State (20-5, 11-3). Ohio State is the two-time-defending NCAA champion. McKendree (11-14, 6-8) is at Ball State (17-11, 10-4), Lindenwood (9-15, 3-11) goes to Loyola (21-6, 11-3) and Fort Wayne (18-10, 6-8) plays at Lewis (18-10, 9-5). The semifinals are April 18 with the title match April 21. The higher seeds will continue to host.
Conference Carolinas: The field is set for Tuesday’s quarterfinals. Top-seeded King (20-5, 15-1) plays host to Lees-McRae (4-21, 2-14), North Greenville (13-15, 7-9) plays Belmont Abbey (12-15, 8-8), Limestone (8-19, 5-11) faces Mount Olive (15-12, 11-5) and Erskine (7-19, 4-12) plays Barton (19-7, 15-1). The semifinals are Friday with the final Saturday. The highest remaining seed is the host for the semifinals and final.
South Carolina rolls: The Gamecocks beat Coastal Carolina 4-1 and then grinded past Tulane 3-2. Earlier, Tulane beat No. 20 College of Charleston.
South Carolina was buoyed by the return of Lydia Dimke, the graduate transfer from Creighton who was hurt in the team’s first dual on February 23. While she and new partner Aubrey Ezell lost to Coastal, they clinched the win against Tulane’s Lauren Orlich and Anna Chin at No. 3 21-19, 18-21, 15-10.
Saturday’s schedule includes No. 2 Pepperdine at home for No. 5 Cal Poly and No. 12 Arizona.
No. 3 Hawai’i is home Saturday and Sunday for Arizona State and Boise State.
Fourth-ranked USC is at Washington, where it plays the hosts and No. 14 Stanford on Saturday and No. 13 Cal and Oregon on Sunday.
No. 6 Long Beach State is home Saturday for Long Beach City, Utah and CSU Bakersfield and plays No. 16 Loyola Marymount on Sunday.
The weekend slate includes a big gathering for No. 8 LSU, which includes No. 7 Florida State (they play each other Sunday), No. 11 Georgia State, TCU, New Orleans and Houston Baptist. Rain, however, started just before 8 a.m. in Baton Rouge and was predicted to last all day.