NCAA: Ohio State, UCLA stay 1-2 in AVCA, the week ahead plus POWs

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Jacob Schmiegelt of Lewis is the MIVA POW/Steve Woltmann photo

Ohio State and UCLA remained atop the AVCA Division I-II men’s poll, and, while there was some mild shuffling, no one dropped out of the 15-team ranking.

BYU moved up from fourth to No. 3, trading places with Long Beach State, and Hawai’i is fifth. Pepperdine dropped from No. 5 to No. 7 after splitting its Chicago trip, while UC Irvine moved up from sixth to No. 7.

The MIVA announced it will have a hall of fame, Lincoln Memorial won its first match in program history and the four men’s conferences announced players of the week.

But first a look at the matches ahead this week and pre-conference play is all but finished.

In the MPSF on Wednesday, second-ranked UCLA, the league leader at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference, plays host to Cal Baptist (2-3, 1-1). No. 5 Hawai’i (the only team in the league still unbeaten at 5-0) makes its first trip of the season and opens MPSF play at No. 4 Long Beach State (4-1, 1-1). And USC (2-3, 1-1) plays at No. 12 UCSB (4-1, 1-1). There’s a good one on Thursday, too, when No. 3 BYU (3-1) opens MPSF play at No. 14 CSUN (6-1, 1-1).

There are two EIVA-MIVA matches on Thursday, when No. 9 Loyola steps out of conference to go to No. 15 Penn State (2-2), while Fort Wayne (0-6) plays at Harvard (0-2).

Both leagues have full slates on Friday, with more mixing between the conferences, including No. 8 Lewis at Penn State and top-ranked Ohio State at Saint Francis.

Conference Carolinas has two matches on tap for Tuesday, when Barton (1-0) opens league play at Belmont Abbey (0-1) and Mount Olive (1-3) does the same at Pfeiffer, which will be playing its season opener. The league is then idle until Friday.

Lucas Yoder of USC
Lucas Yoder of USC

Players of the week

USC senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder is the MPSF POW. Yoder had 28 kills, hit .404 and had six digs and two blocks in an upset of Long Beach State and then in a loss to CSUN had 19 kills, hit .552 and had a block. He is the first USC player to win the honor since Andy Benesh in May 2015.

Others nominated included Pepperdine’s David Wieczorek, UCLA’s Micah Ma’a, Ben Patch of BYU, Jordan Ewert of Stanford, UC Irvine’s Michael Saeta, TJ DeFalco of Long Beach, Hawai’i’s Stijn van Tilburg and Dimitar Kalchev of CSUN.

Jon Wheaton of King
Jon Wheaton of King

King University’s Jon Wheaton is the Conference Carolinas POW. The sophomore middle averaged 2.33 kills and 1.5 blocks per set in two sweeps, while hitting .400.

The EIVA POWs are Chris Nugent and Kevin Gear of Penn State.

Nugent, a senior outside, is the offensive player after getting 17 kills against Ball State and 13 more against Fort Wayne.

Gear, a junior middle, had eight blocks in those two matches. He also had three digs and 14 kills and hit .619.

And in the MIVA, POW honors were shared by Ball State’s Connor Gross and Lewis’ Jacob Schmiegelt. Gross is the defensive winner, while Schmiegelt the offensive honoree.

Gross averaged 3.29 digs per set in Ball State’s victories over Saint Francis and Penn State. The senior setter had 11 in Ball State’s sweep of the Red Flash and then 12 digs with three blocks (one solo) against Penn State.

Schmiegelt hit .526 as the Flyers defeated Harvard and Pepperdine. The senior middle hit .737 with 15 kills on 19 swings and had five blocks against Pepperdine. He had 10 kills against Harvard.

MIVA hall of fame: The league will honor its first class May 4-6 at the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Collegiate Championship at league member Ohio State.

“This is an honor long overdue for the league,” MIVA commissioner Craig Barnett said. “It is something we’ve talked about for a while and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”

Railsplitters break through: Lincoln Memorial beat visiting Alderson Broaddus in five Saturday for the first victory in program history. The 21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 16-14 victory left LMU 1-2 after the match of independents in Harrogate, Tenn.

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