NCAA volleyball: Busy postseason time, men’s and beach polls, MPSF honor

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Shawn Olmstead-BYU-Brigham Young-Cougars-MPSF-Coach of the Year-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
BYU's Shawn Olmstead is the MPSF coach of the year

The men’s Division I-II round of seven gets under way Thursday at Ohio State, the Pac-12 and Big West beach tournaments begin Friday with a lot on the line for both conferences, the latest AVCA men’s and beach polls are out, the men’s Division III semifinals are Friday, and the MPSF has a coach of the year.

Start with the polls:

AVCA men: The AVCA Division I-II Men’s Poll obviously doesn’t matter now that the NCAA field is set, but there was some shakeup and yet another reason for Hawai’i to be upset.

Long Beach State stayed No. 1, but BYU moved up from fourth to No. 2. UCLA is third and Hawai’i is No. 4, a notch above UC Irvine. UCI made the NCAA field of seven and Hawai’i was left wanting. Two of the teams in the final seven, Harvard and King, got votes but didn’t make the top 15. Click here for the AVCA men’s poll. 

AVCA beach: The top 11 teams stayed exactly the same, including UCLA, Pepperdine, Hawai’i, Cal Poly and USC as Nos. 1-5. Click here for the AVCA beach poll.

King men at Ohio State: This is a play-in to the play-ins. Both teams are 23-5, but are worlds apart.

Seventh-ranked Ohio State has won the last two NCAA titles and won the MIVA. King is in the tournament for the first time after winning Conference Carolinas. The winner plays UC Irvine on May 1, while EIVA winner Harvard plays host UCLA.

MIVA teams have won five of the last seven NCAA titles, including the last four (Loyola in 2014 and 2015, Ohio State the past two years). The Conference Carolinas entries have never won a match since the league got a bid.

You might have considered that King would have played host to Harvard in the play-in to the play-in, especially since Ohio State is ranked No. 7 in the NCAA RPI, King is No. 13 and Harvard is No. 20. But travel and fan support may have played a factor, since home attendance figures show that King — located in Bristol, Tenn., and a difficult place to get to — averaged 226 fans this season, Harvard 159, and Ohio State 1,024.

MPSF honors Olmstead: Third-year BYU coach Shawn Olmstead is the league coach of the year for the second time in three years. Olmstead, also honored in 2016, took BYU to its seventh MPSF title overall and second in three three years.

The Cougars are 22-6 and finished 10-2 in league play. They await the winner of UCLA-Harvard in the NCAA men’s national semifinals.

Pac-12 beach: Top-ranked UCLA is the top seed for the tournament at Stanford. The NCAA takes eight teams to its championships next week in Gulf Shores, Ala., three from the East, three from the West and two at-large. UCLA is a lock, but two-time-defending NCAA-champion and Cal will be at the mercy of the selection committee if they don’t do well at the tournament.

The Pac-12 Network is covering the entire event.

Big West beach: The scenario is similar to the Pac-12’s. League-leader and third-ranked Hawai’i, also the host team, is a lock, but No. 4 Cal Poly and No. 6 Long Beach State might need strong performances to get in.

Click here for the Big West schedule and details. Hawai’i reports that there will be no live streaming of the tournament.

DIII men: Top-ranked Springfield plays No. 5 Vassar and then third-ranked Stevens faces No. 7 Dominican at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Springfield lost its first match of the season to Concordia of the MPSF and then won 28 in a row before losing to the EIVA’s NJIT. The Pride (29-2) beat Lancaster Bible in the NCAA DIII quarterfinals.

The title match is at 7 p.m. Eastern Saturday.

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