USC dealt visiting third-ranked Long Beach State its first loss of the season in an MPSF match on Wednesday, No. 7 UC Irvine had to go five to win at No. 12 UC Santa Barbara and Cal Baptist upset No. 13 CSUN in five.

Also in men’s action Wednesday, No. 6 Hawai’i swept visiting Grand Canyon and NJIT of the EIVA beat visiting North Greenville of Conference Carolinas in four.

Middle Tennessee has hired Auburn assistant Chuck Crawford as its head coach, Nebraska has a new assistant and the Hawai’i’ and LSU women’s teams have new players for beach season.

All that and more, but first a look at Thursday’s NCAA men’s schedule.

There’s a big one in the MPSF as UC Irvine (5-0) goes to second-ranked UCLA (2-1). Also, BYU (1-1) plays host to McKendree (0-4) of the MIVA.

Speaking of the MIVA, Ball State (2-1) entertains Saint Francis (2-1) of the EIVA.

And in the EIVA, North Greenville goes to Princeton of the EIVA (1-2).

Wednesday’s matches:  Lucas Yoder had 28 kills in USC’s 25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22 over Long Beach State in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener for both teams.

USC improved to 2-2 , while Long Beach is 3-1.

Yoder hit .404 and added 6 digs. Andy Benesh had 12 kills while hitting .526 and also had five digs and four blocks, Connor Inlow had a career-high nine kills (hitting .600) along with four blocks, Matt Douglas had a match-best 10 digs and Aaron Strange had five kills and nine digs.

TJ DeFalco led Long Beach with 13 kills and eight digs, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez added 10 kills, Kyle Ensing had nine kills, five digs and two aces, Bryce Yould had seven kills (hitting .545) and four blocks and Andrew Sato had nine digs.

UCI won 28-26, 21-25, 29-31, 25-17, 15-9 to improve to 5-0, 2-0 in the MPSF, while UCSB dropped to 3-1 in their league opener.

Tamir Hershko led UCI with 14 kills, while Michael Saeta had 11 kills without an error in 14 swings to hit .786 and tied his career-high with five aces.

Jacob Delson led UCSB with 14 kills, Hayden Boehle had 11 and Keenan Sanders 10.

In the MPSF opener for both teams, Cal Baptist beat CSUN 25-23, 13-25, 17-25, 25-16, 15-9 to improve to 2-2, while the Matadors dropped to 5-1.

“I’m just really proud of the team,” Cal Baptist coach Derek Schmitt said. “We played a really solid first set and then they really dominated us in the second and third, but we responded great. It wasn’t easy. It was a five-set match last year, but it was closer. This is our third one of the season so we’re used to it. It was great to be at home and have our fans cheering us on.”

Rohit Paul, Luis Palos and Kevin Vaz had 11 kills each for the winners. Enrique de Diego Garcia added 10.

“It feels great,” Palos said. “We were prepared for this and were excited.”

Arvis Greene led CSUN with 19 kills and hit .342. Dimitar Kalchev added 16 kills and hit .414 to go with seven digs and four aces.

“We’re capable of hitting really well and playing well, we just didn’t do it for three sets tonight,” CSUN coach Jeff Campbell said. “We didn’t play terrible in the sets we lost, we just didn’t play well enough. We’ve got to serve tougher and be a little more consistent.”

Hawai’i beat Grand Canyon 26-24, 25-21, 25-23. Stijn van Tilburg led Hawai’i with 15 kills and hit .333. Austin Matautia added 13 kills and five blocks and Kupono Fey had nine kills. Patrick Gasman had seven kills and four blocks.

The Rainbow Warriors (4-0) and ‘Lopes (1-2) will meet again on Friday in the rematch of a two-match non-conference series.

Shalev Saada and middle blocker Austin King led Grand Canyon with seven kills each.

“We battled tonight,” GCU coach Matt Werle said. “We are pleased with our effort but we can’t leave as many plays out there. Hawai’i is a very big and physical team and we didn’t match their elevation tonight.”

NJIT improved to 1-2 by beating North Greenville 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 25-15.

Goodridge led the Highlanders with 23 kills and hit .541. Luke Robbe had  10 kills on 12 attempts with only two errors for a match-best .667.

North Greenville got 10 kills from Aaron Campbell in the Crusaders’ season opener.

Chuck Crawford
Chuck Crawford

Middle Tennessee gets a coach: The Blue Raiders hired Chuck Crawford, an assistant at Auburn the past three seasons. He’s also been an assistant at Georgia Tech.

Middle Tennessee finished 5-24 last season, 2-12 in Conference USA. First-year coach Dan Ahiers resigned in late September and assistant Jeff Heubner served as interim head coach the rest of the way.

And forget the volleyball. This is from the MTSU news release:

Crawford and his wife, Lori, have four children, Carson, Drew, Ty and Ava. An avid rock and mountain climber, Crawford was featured in the Weather Channel TV series Epic Conditions climbing the nose of El Cap (3,300 feet) in Yosemite. He has also summited 14,400-foot Mount Rainer in Washington state and spent three years riding bulls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA).

The remaining Division I vacancies include Stanford, Texas-Arlington, Delaware and Virginia Tech.

Banwarth to Nebraska, Kan and Bunn to Hawai’i: Former Nebraska libero Kayla Banwarth has been hired at her alma mater after Dani Busboom Kelly, another former Husker, got the head-coaching job at Louisville. Banwarth, 27, was the libero on the USA team that won the bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She previously was a volunteer coach for the Pepperdine men’s team.

One of the best players in the Southeastern Conference finished her indoor career at Missouri and will play beach back home. Carly Kan, the 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Honolulu who confounded opponents the past four years, will be able to play this season and next.

Hawai’i also welcomed another transfer in Cali Bunn, a Californian who left Tulane after one semester.

Also, LSU brings in former Gonzaga indoor player Emmy Allen to its beach program. Allen, who started at Washington State, has graduated from Gonzaga and will have two seasons of beach eligibility at LSU.



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