In this NCAA report, we’ve got the weekly AVCA update on men’s and beach, two NCAA women’s coaching openings, and a breakdown of the men’s field as postseason play nears with an eye on the NCAA Tournament set for May 4-6 in Fairfax, Virginia.
AVCA MEN’S TOP 15: The top five — Hawai’i, UCLA, Penn State, Long Beach State and UC Irvine — stayed the same. Hawai’i go 16 first-place votes and UCLA the other six.
No one dropped out, but in the remaining 10 spots there was modest shuffling. The biggest jump was two spots by Ohio State to No. 11 and the biggest drop was two notches by Loyola Chicago to No. 12.
Click here for the complete AVCA Men’s National Collegiate Coaches Poll.
AVCA NATIONAL MEN’S POW: The honoree is Hawai’i junior opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias. The junior averaged five kills per set and hit .466 in victories over UC Irvine. He is the second Hawai’i player to win this year (Spyros Chakas, the Rainbow Warriors’ other Greek) won January 15. Mouchlias won last year on April 17.
AVCA BEACH TOP 20: TCU stayed No. 1 and got all 28 first-place votes, and USC remained No. 2. After that, the usual shuffling near the top as UCLA moved up a spot to third, Florida State dropped one notch to No. 4, and LSU stayed No. 5.
There was minor movement throughout. North Florida dropped out and Arizona moved in at No. 20.
Click here for the complete AVCA Collegiate Beach Coaches Poll.
AVCA NATIONAL BEACH POW: The honor went to Arizona’s Dilara Gedikoglu, a senior from Turkey, and Kali Uhl, a senior from Temecula, California. They went 4-0 as the Arizona No. 4 pair last week at the Pac-12 North Invitational, notching wins over USC, UCLA, Stanford and Utah.
Women’s coaching carousel
HOGAN STEPS DOWN AT DENVER: Tom Hogan resigned after seven years. From the Denver news release:
University of Denver head volleyball coach Tom Hogan announced Thursday that he will be stepping away from his position to focus on his health after seven years at the helm and 11 years with the University.
Hogan led the Pioneers to a 133-36 overall record and an 81-14 mark in the Summit League in his first six years as head coach prior to missing the majority of the 2022 season while he battled cancer. He was named the Summit League Coach of the Year three times and coached Denver to six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances (two as an assistant coach, four as head coach).
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce today that I’m stepping away from Denver volleyball to focus on my health,” Hogan said. “The last 11 years have been nothing short of amazing, and it has been one of my greatest honors to be a part of building this program into something truly special. I have such deep gratitude for all the incredible student-athletes who have been the heart of this program throughout my 11 years and who have brought true teamwork, passion and dedication to the gym and to our team each and every day. I have gratitude for Peg Bradley-Doppes and Ron Grahame for hiring me, believing in me, and supporting this program for so many years. I have gratitude for the staff who have joined us on our journey, and each left their own imprint, and to the DU faithful for their unbelievable support throughout the years. Though I’m stepping away, this program will always have a special place in my heart.”
Denver volleyball reached new heights under Hogan’s leadership. In each of his six full seasons as head coach, he amassed 20 or more wins, and a top-25 winning percentage in the NCAA. He also led the Pioneers to four Summit League regular-season championships and three conference tournament titles as head coach.
MCFATRICH OUT AT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Charleston Southern had this statement on its website Tuesday:
Charleston Southern Athletics has announced a change in the head coach of the volleyball program, effective immediately. A national search for the next head coach will begin immediately.
The statement never mentioned the coach who left/was fired, David McFatrich. He was there since 2019. Last season, Charleston Southern went 15-16, 8-8 in the Big South. McFatrich was previously the head coach at Mississippi State and Central Arkansas.
Charleston Southern has never been to the NCAA Tournament.
Men: 5 automatic bids, 2 at-large
Five Division I-II men’s conferences get automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, the Big West, Conference Carolinas EIVA, MIVA and MPSF.
Two other teams will get at-large bids to the seven-team field, and it would be hard to imagine a bracket without the Big West loser of either Hawai’i or Long Beach State.
Here’s how all five conferences stand.
BIG WEST: Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Hawai’i (24-2, 7-1, No. 2 RPI) has the upper hand as Long Beach State (18-3, 7-1, 4 RPI) and UC Irvine (16-8, 6-2, 9 RPI) battle it out. Hawai’i is home for two matches with UC San Diego (8-14, 2-6), while UCI goes to Long Beach on Friday and then they play at Irvine on Saturday.
The Big West tournament starts April 20 at Irvine and two of those teams will have a bye into the semifinals as the No. 4 plays the No. 5 and the No. 3 plays the No. 6. The next day is the semifinals with the final on ESPNU on April 22.
UCI needs to win or, at best, lose in the championship match and have Penn State win the EIVA and probably have Ohio State win in the EIVA.
CONFERENCE CAROLINAS: North Greenville (17-7, 10-3) holds a two-game lead with one to play over Erskine (13-12, 8-5), Belmont Abbey (14-14, 8-5) and King (13-14, 8-5).
Thursday, North Greenville is at Belmont Abbey, Erskine is home for Emmanuel, King is home for Lees-McRae and Mount Olive is at Barton.
The quarterfinals are Tuesday as the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds with the semifinals and final April 21-22 at King in Bristol, Tennessee. This is a winner-take-all situation.
EIVA: Penn State (22-3, 8-0) is the only team that could get an at-large bid if the Nittany Lions fail to win the tournament. Princeton (12-11, 6-3) is coming off two wins at Charleston (16-14, 5-3), seemingly the only teams that could knock off Penn State.
There is still a round of regular-season matches to be played with the tournament beginning April 19.
MIVA: Three teams tied for first. Ball State (18-8), which won the top seed, Loyola Chicago (21-6) and Ohio State (19-9) all went 11-3 in conference play, four games ahead of Lewis, Purdue Fort Wayne and Lindenwood.
The tournament starts Saturday with Ball State playing Quincy, second-seeded Loyola Chicago playing McKendree, third-seeded Ohio State facing Lindenwood and Lewis taking on Purdue Fort Wayne. The semifinals are at the higher seeds on April 19 with the championship on April 22 at the higher seed.
Could one of the top three teams get an at-large bid? Ohio State is No. 6 in the RPI and Ball State stands No. 8. You can bet they will be rooting for Penn State in the EIVA tourney and no upsets in the Big West or MPSF.
MPSF: Grand Canyon and BYU are living on the edge, ranked No. 5 and 7, respectively, in the latest RPI. UCLA (25-2, 10-0) has been a runaway winner, followed in the standings by BYU (16-6, 6-4) and Stanford (13-10, 6-4). Grand Canyon is 21-6, 6-6 and Pepperdine 16-11, 5-5.
The end of the regular season looms large and will decide a lot. Thursday, UCLA Is at Pepperdine while Friday, Stanford is at BYU. Then Saturday, Pepperdine goes to UCLA and Stanford goes to BYU.
Again, Ohio State, Ball State and Loyola will be rooting hard for UCLA, just as GCU and BYU will be rooting hard for themselves and Penn State.
There are two other leagues plus independents.
Neither the NEC nor SIAC get automatic bids this year and no at-large bids are forthcoming. Daemen of the NEC is the highest ranked RPI team, No. 17, outside the aforementioned five leagues. Independent Lincoln Memorial comes in at No. 20.