Three men’s teams in the top eight and another in the AVCA Coaches Poll gather in Austin, Texas, Friday for the First Point Volleyball Foundation Collegiate Challenge.
USC had an interesting couple of days, Penn State got a nice transfer, and Texas A&M-Commerce hired a coach.
The First Point action gets underway at 4 p.m. Central when No. 5 Pepperdine of the MPSF plays No. 4 Penn State of the EIVA.
At 7, No. 15 Lewis of the MIVA plays No. 8 Stanford of the MPSF.
The event in the Austin Convention Center will be streamed by VolleyballWorld.TV. It also coincides with the Lone Star Classic 18s girls USA Volleyball Qualifier and a large boys club tournament.
This is the second First Point men’s tournament in Austin. Last year, the participants were Stanford, Hawai’i, Fairleigh Dickinson and Queens. Stanford setter Nathan Lietzke is from Austin and his parents, Glen and Kathy, brought the event to his hometown.
Things got started Thursday night with a boys clinic run by former Texas, USC and USA Olympic coach Mick Haley. All four of the college coaches — Stanford’s John Kosty, Penn State’s Mark Pavlik, Pepperdine’s Jonathan Winder and Dan Friend of Lewis — and their players participated. There were more than 150 boys on the many courts in the convention center.
There are some other key early season NCAA Division I-II matches Friday, not the least of which is No. 2 UCLA of the MPSF playing host to No. 12 UC Santa Barbara of the Big West.
Top-ranked Hawai’i of the Big West plays host to the NEC’s Saint Francis, No. 3 Long Beach State of the Big West plays the NEC’s LIU at George Mason. Harvard of the EIVA is at No. 6 Ball State of the MIVA and No. 11 Loyola Chicago of the MIVA is at NJIT of the EIVA.
Seventh-ranked UC Irvine of the Big West is home for the MPSF’s Concordia and No. 13 BYU of the MPSF is home for the NEC’s FDU.
Want to watch a match? If it’s being shown, we have the viewing links in our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.
FIVES FOR USC: High and low, as the No. 10 Trojans lost in five at No. 7 UC Irvine of the Big West on Wednesday and then won in five at home against UCSB on Thursday.
UCI improved to 4-0 with its 25-22, 25-27, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory that saw Francesca Sani get 23 kills. Dillon Klein had 19 for USC.
Then on Thursday, USC (5-2) won 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 15-12 as Klein had 20 more kills. UCSB dropped to 1-5.
MRUZIK MOVES: Jess Mruzik, an all-Big Ten first-team selection, has left Michigan for Penn State. Mruzik, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Livonia, Michigan, led the Wolverines this past season with 394 kills and was sixth in the conference at 3.68 kills per set. She would likely fill the spot vacated by Kashauna Williams, a one-year player at Penn State after transferring from Long Beach State. She was seventh in the B1G this season with 416 kills.
TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE HIRES: Joe Morales is the new coach at Texas A&M-Commerce, a member of the Southland Conference. Morales was an assistant at UTSA in 2021 and at McNeese State last season.
He replaces Craig Case, who retired in December after 13 years, which includes taking the program to Division I last year. The Lions went 11-23 in 2022, 6-12 in the Southland. Commerce is about 65 miles northeast of Dallas.