It’s postseason, so survive and advance. That’s what King (barely) and Belmont Abbey did Tuesday in Conference Carolinas as that league’s postseason tournament got underway with an automatic NCAA Tournament bid on the line.
Play opens Wednesday in the MPSF and EIVA, continues in the MIVA, and gets going in the NEC.
In the MPSF at Stanford, second-seeded BYU plays seventh-seeded Concordia Irvine, third-seeded Stanford plays No. 6 USC and fourth-seeded Grand Canyon plays No. 5 Pepperdine. Only BYU and GCU stand a chance of getting an at-large bid out of that group. The semifinals are Thursday with the lowest remaining seed playing No. 1 UCLA.
In the EIVA at Penn State, top-seeded Penn State and No. 2 Princeton await the winners of the matches between sixth-seeded NJIT and No. 3 Charleston and fifth-seeded Harvard and No. 4 George Mason.
The MIVA semifinals pit top-seeded Ball State against fourth-seeded Lewis and third-seeded Ohio State against No. 7 McKendree, which knocked out second-seeded Loyola in the quarterfinals. Ball State and Lewis split 3-2 matches this season. Lewis won at Ball State on February 9, 18-16 in the fifth. Then April 1 at Lewis, the Cardinals came away with a tough victory after winning the first two sets and pulling it together for the fifth. Ohio State beat McKendree in four in both their meetings.
The NEC doesn’t get an automatic bid, but with three teams finishing the regular season within two games of each other it could make for a fun tournament. Wednesday, third-seeded LIU plays No. 6 Merrimack and No. 4 Sacred Heart plays No. 5 St. Francis Brooklyn. St. Francis Brooklyn is dropping athletics, so when the Terriers lose, that will literally be the end of the line.
Want to watch a match? We have the viewing links in the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming listings.
KING, BELMONT ABBEY WIN: Friday’s Conference Carolinas semifinals are set when top-seeded North Greenville plays fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey and second-seeded Erskine plays No. 3 King.
Warren Davis had 26 kills and King (14-15) pulled off a reverse sweep by getting past sixth-seeded Mount Olive (11-17), rallying for a 15-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-13 victory. Davis had a career high in kills and added and assist, 12 digs and three blocks, one solo. Aaron Milstead had 12 kills, an assists, two aces, three blocks and seven digs. Jack Sarnowski had two kills in four errorless tries, 52 assists, a block and 13 digs, and Justin Sawyer had 17 digs and three assists. King hit .195 and had two aces and 16 serving errors. Mount Olive, which hit .181 and had five aces and 14 errors, got 18 kills from Tate Sandvig, 15 from Hayden Frear and 14 from Justin Gregory.
Belmont Abbey (15-15) swept Lees-McRae (11-15) as Matteo Miselli had 18 kills in the 25-22, 25-23, 25-23 victory. Miselli, who had half his team’s kills, had four digs. Matthew Staskunas had four kills, an assist, 10 digs and four blocks, two solo, and Matthew Maxwell had a kill, 28 assists, two blocks and six digs. His team hit .183 and had one ace and eight errors. Lees-McRae hit .133 and had four aces — three by Bradley Peters — and 14 errors. M.J. Doyle had 10 kills, two assists, a block and 12 digs, and Michael Marsans had nine kills, three blocks and eight digs.
King and Erskine spllit a pair of five-set matches this season. North Greenville beat Belmont Abbey in four sets in both their matches.
AVCA MEN’S POLL: If nothing else, the AVCA Men’s National Collegiate Coaches Poll has maintained consistency this season and this week is no exception. The first 11 spots stayed identical.
Top-ranked Hawai’i got 15 of the 22 first-place votes. UCLA got the other seven.
CSUN dropped out and Princeton moved in at No. 15.
Click here for the complete AVCA Poll.
NCAA MEN’S RPI: The NCAA bracket that gets announced Sunday includes five automatic bids and two at-large. The RPI normally plays a big factor in determining the at-larges and the seeded.
(RPI values are in parentheses)
UCLA (.67058), Penn State (.66029), Hawai’i (.64847) and Long Beach State (.63982), locks for the tournament even with upsets, make up the top four. Since Hawai’i and Long Beach are in the same conference, the Big West, one has to lose, so that will leave one at-large bid.
They are followed by BYU (.60414), Grand Canyon (.60358), Ohio State (.59900), Ball State (.59246) and UC Irvine (.58428).
Click here for the complete NCAA RPI.
AVCA MEN’S POW: The AVCA remained committed to spreading the player-of-the-week wealth, giving the honor this time to James Chretien of independent Limestone. The junior outside from Quebec City, Canada, averaged 3.33 kills and 2.77 digs per set in the IVA Championship. He will be the last winner from that school since Limestone announced this week it is dropping men’s volleyball.
Click here to see the list of winners this season that includes no repeats.
AVCA BEACH POLL: UCLA jumped two spots to No. 1, TCU dropped to No. 2, and USC dropped a spot to third. Florida State stayed No. 4 and Loyola Marymount now No. 5, and LSU, now sixth, traded places.
No one dropped out and except for UCLA no team moved more than a spot and most stayed right where they were.
Click here to see the complete AVCA Collegiate Beach Coaches Poll top 20.
AVCA BEACH POW: As the AVCA continues to spread the wealth, naming a pair from a team that hasn’t been included previously each week, the national pair of the week comes from Hendrix, a small liberal arts school located in Conway, Arkansas.
The top pair consists of Morgan Ford and Mabry Matz. Ford is a junior from Fresno, California, while Matz is a sophomore from McKinney, Texas. They went 3-0 on the No. 4 court and helped Hendrix win the Division III AVCA Small College Beach Championships.
Click here to see the list of winners this season that also includes no repeats.