Late night, an early Sunday morning flight and daylight savings time to boot.
But it was all worth it for No. 6 UC Irvine, which will take being tired any day after stunning and sweeping Ohio State on its home court Saturday to end the Buckeyes’ record 42-match winning streak.
It was the exclamation point on a busy Saturday in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball that also saw unranked George Mason upset No. 11 CSUN.
The Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams all won in sweeps and No. 5 Lewis semi-salvaged its West Coast swing with a victory at No. 15 UC Santa Barbara.
But the big one was UCI winning in Columbus, where the day before the Anteaters beat Ball State and then got to watch top-ranked Ohio State beat UC San Diego.
“It’s always nice to get a live scout on a team before you play them.,”
UCI coach David Kniffin said. “Ohio State’s really good. They’re really good and they do what they do really well but I think we’re pretty good, too. And we’re starting to do what we do well.”
Evidently, because the 28-26, 25-19, 25-20 scoreline doesn’t show that UCI held Ohio State to .222 hitting. The Buckeyes (.373) entered the weekend second only to Long Beach State (.380) in NCAA attack percentage.
“We had them out of system a little bit more than most teams have,” Kniffin said. “They didn’t get a lot of opportunities to get a lot of clean swings. We were pretty set up on them because they didn’t have the advantage of being in system much.”
It left Ohio State 19-1 after its first loss in 399 days. It was the longest streak ever by an MIVA team and tied for the third-longest in NCAA history. UCLA twice won 47 in a row (1979-80, 1983-85) and won 42 in a row from 1981-83. Defending national-champion Ohio State last lost on February 16, 2016.
UCI, which hit .361, improved to 15-6 as Aaron Koubi led with 13 kills and hit .455. Tamir Hershko added 11 kills and hit .261 and Thomas Hodges had 11 kills and hit .304.
“That’s a big match with big numbers,” Kniffin said of Koubi’s effort.
“He’s a good volleyball player. But he’ll be the first one to tell you that he gets away with some stuff because everybody’s worried about all the other options we have. Everyone knows Tamir, everyone knows Thomas, everyone knows our 7-foot middle (Scott Stadick), so he gets some cleaner looks sometimes.”
The first set was critical. After it was tied at 22, Ohio State had four of its 15 service errors. The Buckeyes had nine aces. UCI had three aces and just seven errors. Back-to-back kills by Koubi and Hershko ended that set, the first time Ohio State lost the first set of a match since January 6.
Miles Johnson led Ohio State with 12 kills but hit .147. He had six digs and three blocks. Maxime Hervoir added 11 kills and hit .500 to go with three digs and three blocks. Nicolas Szerszen added seven kills but hit .077.
Kniffin said UCI is in week nine of a 10-week quarter, so there was a lot of off-court studying to be done by the Anteaters.
“But the time felt right when we scheduled this Midwest trip and I was hoping we would walk away from it having a sense of who we are as a team and not just with our lineup but how we play the game. It was cool to see us do what we do well.”
There was a lot of Zot! Zot! going on Saturday.
After the game, the Anteaters hoped to see an end to a great day in UCI athletics as they gathered to watch UCI’s mens basketball team play UC Davis for the Big West title and automatic NCAA Tournament bid that comes with it. Earlier in the day, UCI celebrated back-to-back wins over No. 1 TCU in baseball, big wins in men’s and women’s tennis, and some big performances in track and field. But the basketball team fell just short, 50-47, and will go to the NIT.
MPSF: Hawai’i, BYU win league matches
Fourth-ranked Hawai’i swept No. 8 Stanford 25-13, 25-19, 25-20 for its 15th win in a row. The Rainbow Warriors (20-2, 10-2 MPSF) broke the program-record for consecutive sets won, extending the streak to 32 with their 10th straight 3-0 victory. UH also tied the school-record with its 19th straight home win, last set in 1989.
Stijn van Tilburg and Kupono Fey had 11 kills each as van Tilburg hit .450 and had six digs and two blocks while Fey hit .381 and had three digs and four blocks. Patrick Gasman had six blocks and Jennings Franciskovic had five.
Stanford dropped to 11-9, 6-7. Clay Jones led with 10 kills, two digs and a block. Gabriel Vega and Kevin Rakestraw had seven kills each.
No. 3 BYU beat No. 9 Pepperdine 25-22, 25-22, 26-24, its second sweep over the visiting Waves in two nights.
Jake Langlois led with 19 kills and hit .378 to go with three blocks as his team improved to 17-2, 11-1 MPSF. Brenden Sander had 10 kills and seven digs. Tim Dobbert added nine kills.
“This was a great weekend for our team,” BYU coach Shawn Olmstead said. “Pepperdine is a phenomenal program, and I’m proud of our guys battling both Friday and Saturday night to get two wins here on the road. It was a great effort from our entire team. I loved our ability to focus when we really needed to sideout or score a point.”
Pepperdine dropped to 6-9, 4-8. Michael Wexter led with 15 kills and hit .560 and had eight digs. David Wieczorek added 11 kills.
MPSF vs. MIVA, EIVA
The results were mixed for the league that has 10 of the 15 ranked teams in the AVCA poll.
No. 2 Long Beach State swept visiting Loyola of the MIVA 25-13, 25-20, 25-19, improving to 19-2 while dropping the 10th-ranked Ramblers to 11-7.
TJ DeFalco hit .500 and had 11 kills for Long Beach, which also got 11 kills from Kyle Ensing, but he hit .000. Bryce Yould had six kills and four blocks.
Ben Plaisted led Loyola with 10 kills but hit .103 in a match where his team hit .026.
Earlier in the Pyramid, the EIVA’s Mason upset CSUN 27-25, 26-24, 25-23 as Jack Wilson had a big match with 19 kills, hitting .324. He also had five of Mason’s seven aces and three blocks.
Sam Greenslade had 11 kills and hit .318 and also had three blocks.
Mason is 8-10, while CSUN fell to 12-10. Friday the Matadors lost to Loyola in five.
“Our team showed resilience tonight and just flat out competed,” Mason coach Jay Hosack said after his first win over MPSF opposition since he took over the program and a day after getting swept by Long Beach. “I am proud of them for responding after the prior night’s performance.”
Arvis Greene had a match-high 19 kills on .406 hitting to go with five blocks for CSUN. Sophomore Dimitar Kalchev had eight kills on .118 hitting.
UCLA swept visiting Harvard 25-11, 25-17, 25-17 as the No. 7 Bruins improved to 13-7. They hit .560 and had 13 aces. Harvard of the EIVA fell to 6-8.
Christian Hessenauer led a balanced attack with nine kills and hit .389. He had two of his team’s 13 aces, five of its 20 errors, two blocks — one solo — and five digs. Dylan Missry had eight kills and hit .667, also with two aces and five errors. He had seven digs. And Jake Arnitz had six kills and hit .667, while Michael Fisher had six kills and hit .417.
Harvard got seven kills from Casey White and six from Erik Johnson.
Lewis of the MIVA was reeling after losing UCLA and USC, but the Flyers bounced back at UCSB 25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22. It left the Flyers 16-5 after their third match in four days, while UCSB fell to 9-11.
Mitch Perinar led Lewis with 17 kills and four blocks, one solo, while hitting .316. Ryan Coenen had 15 kills and nine digs and hit .414. Jacob. Schmiegelt had nine kills and hit .467 to go with four blocks. Those three had 41 of their team’s 56 kills.
Jacob Delson led UCSB with 22 kills. He hit .348 and had seven digs. Hayden Boehle added 13 kills and had five digs.
In the first match at Ohio State, No. 12 Ball State of the MIVA beat the MPSF’s UC San Diego 25-23, 25-19, 25-19. It was UCSD’s 10th consecutive loss and dropped the Tritons to 5-15. Ball State is 15-6.
Matt Szews and Matt Walsh had 11 kills each for Ball State.
Tanner Syftestad led UCSD with nine kills.
Also, Cal Baptist lost a non-conference match to Concordia 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-8.
Grand Canyon, Princeton win: There was one MIVA match Saturday as visiting Grand Canyon got past McKendree 25-18, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11.
Grand Canyon improved to 12-8 overall, 8-4 MIVA, as Cullen Mosher went off with 24 kills, hitting .404. He also had three blocks and five digs.
Maalik Walker led McKendree (7-14, 2-6) with 16 kills, seven digs and two blocks.
In non-conference matches, Princeton of the EIVA swept Coker and Charleston of the EIVA did the same to Lincoln Memorial, the MIVA’s Lindenwood swept Lees-McRae of Conference Carolinas, and ConfCarolina’s King beat East Mennonite in five and swept Alderson Broaddus.
East Meets West Invitational: UCLA’s tournament at the Manhattan Beach Pier saw No. 1 USC beat No. 12 Florida International and No. 10 LSU 4-1 both times.
“I thought we did really well,” USC coach Anna Collier said. “We always talk about getting a little bit better week by week, and I thought we played better this week.”
Her team, she said, is a tired after playing exhibitions on Friday.
“For us to play this quality of volleyball as tired as we are, and to be better than we were last week, really pleases me.
“I’m really looking for less errors. I think we’re good enough to beat anyone as long as we don’t beat ourselves. We’re looking for the right ratio of kills to errors and service aces to errors. We haven’t gone through and coded it yet and broken it down, but in my mind the ratios aren’t there.”
No. 2 Florida State beat No. 6 Long Beach State Cal Poly (5-0) and Long Beach State (4-1).
“It felt good today. We have only played two duals up until this weekend, so it’s nice to get out here and play and get into some tight situations and see how we react to things,” FSU coach Brooke Niles said.
“We need to clean up our pass-set and our court vision, that’s always a focus of ours, but overall we’re still trying to find the right combination of our pairs. That’s our main focus for right now, is to find the set teams that we’ll move forward with.”
No. 3 Pepperdine plays Florida State and No. 7 Georgia State on Sunday.
No. 4 UCLA beat LSU 3-2 and FIU 4-1.
Gamecock Challenge: At South Carolina’s tournament, the host team beat Mercer and No. 11 Grand Canyon.
Queen’s Cup at Hawai’i: The Sandbows swept Loyola Marymount and No. 9 Stetson.
Sun Devil Challenge: No. 8 Arizona beat the host team, No. 12 Arizona State, 3-2.