Stanford beat USC and Ball State defeated George Mason on a relatively quiet Thursday in NCAA men’s volleyball.

Friday’s schedule is way busier.

There are six matches involving MPSF teams, starting with No. 7 UC Irvine (6-2 overall, 3-2 MPSF) at No. 3 BYU (6-1, 2-0). The same teams play again Saturday in two matches that could go a long way in determining how things go in the league this season.

No. 2 UCLA  (7-1, 5-0) returns the match from Wednesday, when it beat No. 11 UCSB (6-2, 3-2). This time they play at Santa Barbara and it’s early, but a loss would put the Gauchos in a tough spot.

There is one other MPSF match, with Cal Baptist (2-6, 1-4) trying to stay out of the cellar when it goes to No. 8 Stanford (5-2, 2-0).

No. 4 Long Beach State (6-1) is at Ohio State where it plays the EIVA’s Saint Francis on Friday and then top-ranked Ohio State on Saturday. No. 15 CSUN (7-3) plays host to Hope International (the Royals of the NAIA are 4-2) and No. 5 Hawai’i (6-2) entertains Grand View (3-0), which is located in Des Moines, Iowa and competes in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

There are more MIVA vs. EIVA matches. No. 13 Ball State (7-1), coming off a nice win Thursday over No. 12 George Mason, plays host to NJIT (3-2). Mason (4-3) goes to Fort Wayne (1-8) and Charleston (3-2) is home to McKendree (3-6). No. 14 Penn State (3-4) plays host to Mount Olive of Conference Carolinas (3-3).

Also in the MIVA, No. 1 Ohio State (7-0) plays host to Barton of the ConfCarolinas (3-1) and in a league opener for the Flyers, No. 6 Lewis (5-1, 0-0) goes to Grand Canyon (3-3, 2-0).

Also in ConfCarolinas, Lees-McRae (2-3) goes to independent Lincoln Memorial (2-5).

Stanford, CSUN get victories: The Cardinal overpowered visiting USC 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 in a match that left the Trojans 2-6 overall, 1-4 in the MPSF, which puts them four games back of UCLA in the loss column.

Stanford hit .304 as Kevin Rakestraw led with nine kills and six blocks as he hit .615. Gabriel Vega added six kills and two blocks to go with two aces and Matt Klassen had five kills, four blocks and an ace.

Woody Cook, Andy Benesh and Jon Rivera had eight kills apiece. But Cook hit .000, Benesh .615 and Rivera .385 as USC hit .070 as a team.

The Trojans were without their top player, Lucas Yoder, who sprained his ankle in practice this week.  Their newest player, junior college transfer Gianluca Grasso of Brazil, who joined the team earlier this week, had six digs, two aces and two kills after coming in off the bench.

CSUN swept visiting Cal Lutheran 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 as Dimitar Kalchev had 21 kills with just two errors to hit .670. He also had six digs and three aces. CSUN, 7-3, got 11 kills from Schylar Lillethorup and 10 from Parker Maki. Lillethorup, who also had eight digs, hit .348 and Maki .353.

“Dimitar, Schylar and Parker all hit well tonight; it was good to get those guys some playing time,” CSUN coach Jeff Campbell said. “Our passing was a little shaky at times but we steadied out as the match went on. The one area I’d like to see some improvement is our serving, we missed way too many serves.”

Cal Lutheran is 0-4. The Kingsmen got six kills from Patrick Rowe, but he hit .000.

Ball State beats George Mason: The Cardinals lost a tough first set but then cruised to a 30-32, 25-15, 25-16, 25-19 victory. Ball State improved to 7-1, while Mason dropped to 4-3.

Senior Brendan Surane led the Cardinals with 21 kills — seven in the first set — and hit .342. He also had 10 digs and five blocks.

Junior Mitch Weiler added 14 kills and hit .433, while freshman Matt Szews added nine kills and junior Matt Walsh eight while hitting .545. Sophomore Adam Wessell had 12 digs.

“That’s the player we want Surane to be,” Ball State coach Joel Walton said. “We have three guys that are really demanding respect right now – Surane, Szews and Walsh. Those three are also creating some opportunities for Weiler. We couldn’t get as many balls to Walsh, but we used him as a decoy, which opened things for other people.”

Jack Wilson led Mason with 10 kills but hit .133 and had two of his team’s 14 service errors. Mason only had two aces, while Ball State had five to go with 18 errors.

Sam Greenslade had eight kills and Langston Payne seven. Their team hit .128.

“I thought we showed some grit to hang on, but that is all we did – hung on.” – Mason coach Jay Hosack said.

“We haven’t learned how to get dirty in a fight, so I thought we would give some young guys a chance to see where they fit amongst it all. Bottom line is, we are not at a championship level.

“Hopefully we learn along the way the ability to get dirty, to get in a fist fight, and at the end learn that it’s OK to get bloody. That’s what sport is all about.”

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