Penn State, Stanford, Hawai’i men win; NCAA recommends changing volleyball challenge rules

Penn State swept BYU again to claim early 2022 NCAA men’s volleyball dominance, Stanford improved to 3-0 by topping UC Irvine in five, Hawai’i beat Loyola again, USC defeated UC Santa Barbara again, Ohio State swept Central State, and the NCAA women got some common sense from the rules committee.

There are no matches Sunday, but Conference Carolinas play resumes this week when Belmont Abbey plays host to LIU on Monday and Tuesday and North Greenville goes to Tusculum on Tuesday. Lewis of the MIVA also gets its season underway when it plays host to Maryville on Tuesday.

For links to all matches that are being televised or streamed, go to our VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings.

NITTANY LIONS ROLL — Fifth-ranked Penn State of the EIVA swept visiting No. 6 BYU of the MPSF again, this time 25-21, 25-19, 26-24, two days after opening the season by also sweeping the Cougars. 

“This is a group that loves to compete and a group that loves to be pushed,” Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said. “It’s going to be real interesting to see them develop over the next three or fourth months.”

His team hit .403, led by Brett Wildman, who had 10 kills with two errors in 18 attacks, an assist, a block, and six digs. Cal Fisher had seven kills in 10 swings with one error, an assist, six digs, and, most importantly, six aces. 

BYU had won the previous 10 matches against Penn State before this road trip. Alex Ah Sue had 12 kills with two errors in 17 attacks and three digs, but had six serving errors and no aces. BYU, which hit .286, had four aces and 21 errors. Davide Gardini had eight kills, two aces, an assist, and a dig.

STANFORD IS 3-0 — The Cardinal of the MPSF had to go the distance and then some for a 25-23, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 20-18 over 12th-ranked UC Irvine (1-1) of the Big West, which got huge offensive performances from Francesco Sani and Hilir Henno. 

Will Rottman led Stanford with 16 kills, two aces, and seven digs. Luke Turner had 12 kills, two blocks, and four digs, and Nathaniel Gates had 11 kills with no errors in 14 attacks and four blocks. Nathan Lietzke had two kills, 47 assists, two aces, four blocks, and six digs.

UCI’s Sani had a career-high 24 kills, hit .333, and had five assists, an ace, three blocks, and four digs. Henno had 22 kills, an assist, two aces, five blocks, and a career-high 19 digs. Doug Dahm had five kills and six blocks, one solo, and Connor Campbell had four kills and seven blocks.

HAWAI’I WINS — The top-ranked Rainbow Warriors of the Big West won 25-19, 25-16, 18-25, 25-14 over visiting No. 7 Loyola of the MIVA  to complete the two-match home-opening sweep. 

Hawai’i, which hit .354, got kills from 10 different players. Chaz Galloway led with 12 to go with two aces, two blocks, and four digs. Dimitrios Mouchlias had 11 kills, an assist, an ace, four blocks, and six digs. Guilherme Voss had nine kills in 13 errorless swings and four blocks.

Loyola got 14 kills from Parker Van Buren, 11 from Colton Brooks, and 10 from Cole Schlothauer, who had 11 digs.

USC TOPS UCSB AGAIN — The Trojans of the MPSF won 20-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-22 Friday at AVCA preseason No. 11 UC Santa Barbara of the Big West two days after beating the Gauchos in five. Simon Gallas led with 16 kills and Sam Kobrine had 15. UCSB’s Haotian Xia had 13 kills and Ryan Wilcox 12.

OHIO STATE, GCU, LM WIN — Ohio State of the MIVA was scheduled to open its season against the EIVA’s Charleston, but when those matches were canceled the Buckeyes brought in another Ohio school, new program Central State, and swept the Mauraders twice.

Friday, Ohio State, the AVCA preseason No. 13, won 25-16, 25-20, 25-20. Jacob Pasteur had nine kills, five aces, two digs, and three blocks, one solo. In a 25-19, 25-17, 25-14 victory Saturday, Martin Lallemand had nine kills, hit .438, and had three digs. Pasteur had eight kills, two aces, five digs, and four blocks. Central State’s Yaron Afek had nine kills and four digs …

Grand Canyon (2-0) of the MPSF beat visiting McKendree (0-2) of the MIVA 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-14. Camden Gianni had 14 kills for the Lopes to go with an assist, an ace, a block, and five digs. Hugo Fisher had 12 kills, three blocks, and 12 digs. Heath Hughes had five kills with one error in eight tries, 39 assists, 12 digs, and four blocks, three solo. McKendree’s Patrick Ross and Jacob Gall had 10 kills each. Ross had four blocks, one solo, and Gall and six blocks, two solo … 

Lincoln Memorial of the IVA opened its season with a sweep of the MIVA’s Purdue Fort Wayne as the Railsplitters hit .438 in a 25-23, 25-20, 25-14 victory. Cole Campisan and Justin Sharfenaker had nine kills each for LM and Johansen Negron had eight. Jon Diedrich had 14 kills for PFW. His teammates combined for 10.

NCAA WOMEN’S RULES — Finally.

Here is the NCAA news release concerning the challenge: 

The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee recommended allowing women’s volleyball teams to begin a match with two video coach’s challenges in all matches, starting with the 2022 season.

Committee members, who met virtually this week, also proposed that if a challenge results in the reversal of the original call, the team would retain the challenge. If the original call is confirmed or there isn’t video evidence to overturn the original call, the coach loses that challenge for the rest of the match.

If a match reaches the fifth set, each team would be awarded an additional challenge. Teams would be allowed to carry a maximum of two challenges into the fifth set.

All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is tentatively scheduled to discuss women’s volleyball rules proposals Feb. 22.

During the 2021 season, 15 Division I conferences and one Division II conference experimented with this coaches review system rule.

“We had an overwhelming response from the coaches that this was a positive change,” said Lyndsey Oates, committee chair and coach at Northern Colorado. “One of the reasons was that challenges were less misused as timeouts since they are only retainable if the coach is correct. The challenges were used with the correct intent.”

Data from the experimental rule also showed that there wasn’t an increase in the number of overall challenges.

The rules committee also proposed allowing coaches to request a video challenge to see if a libero committed a violation by stepping in front of the 10-foot line while setting the ball to a hitter.

The NCAA also, it appears, is clamping down on assistant coaches who prowl the sidelines and talk to the down official as the head coach sits and watches. Also from the NCAA:

The committee proposed that the head coach will be the only person allowed to address the officials when the ball is out of play. Head coaches may address the referees for the purposes of quickly clarifying a nonjudgmental ruling, requesting a challenge or lodging a protest.

“We want to keep officials in the game, and anything we can do to protect the officials in a reasonable way is good,” Oates said. “To have only one voice asking questions is good for the game.”

And the NCAA is going to deal with the “double,” at least this spring:

For upcoming spring matches only, teams will be allowed to experiment with a rule that eliminates double contact when the ball remains on the same side of the net it was played on (second contact). Rationale for experimenting with the rule is to see if it relieves pressure off the referees to make controversial double contact calls in critical moments of a match. The rules committee will seek feedback from officials and coaches who use the experimental rule.

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