NCAA: Cal Baptist gets an MPSF win, Surf & Turf set at FIU

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Soren Dion-Kindem, left, and Mitchell Penning put up the block for Pepperdine against UCSD/ Martin A. Folb photo

Cal Baptist, which perhaps gained some confidence by winning three matches against Conference Carolinas teams on its recent East Coast swing, finally broke a long MPSF drought on Thursday night by beating visiting No. 15 UC Santa Barbara, 27-25 in the fifth set.

In more what you might have expected in men’s Division I-II volleyball, No. 8 Pepperdine swept UC San Diego.

It sets up a busy Friday both in men’s indoor and women’s NCAA beach.

Start with the men and the EIVA, where the top four teams are within a game of each other. First-place Penn State (6-2), dealing with more injuries than can be imagined and likely to play just eight players once again, is home for Princeton (6-3), which is tied with NJIT (6-3), which goes to Saint Francis (4-4). Sacred Heart (5-3), a game back of the Nittany Lions, goes to George Mason (3-5). And Harvard (4-4) goes to last-place Charleston (0-10).

In the MPSF, UCSB tries to bounce back at No. 11 USC. Both teams are tied for eighth, 1.5 games behind seventh-place Stanford, in the race for the eighth and final spot in the MPSF tournament. No. 5 UC Irvine goes to No. 9 Stanford and No. 2 Long Beach State goes out of conference to play host to Concordia Irvine.

There are four MIVA matches, including No. 1 Ohio State playing host to McKendree and No. 12 Ball State entertaining Quincy. No. 10 Loyola gets Grand Canyon and Lindenwood is at Fort Wayne.

And in Conference Carolinas, first-place King (13-1) goes to second-place Mount Olive (13-2), Barton (13-2) tied with Mount Olive, is home for Lees-McRae and Emmanuel plays at Belmont Abbey. The plot thickens even more Saturday when King goes to Barton, while Mount Olive plays host to Lees-McRae.

Cal Baptist, Pepperdine win: The Lancers, last in the MPSF at 7-18 overall and 2-13 in the league, not only won their fourth match in a row but broke a seven-match league losing streak with a come-from-behind 16-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 27-25 victory.

“I have to give credit to both teams,” Cal Baptist coach Derek Schmitt said. “We knew we could compete with this team. I’ve never been a part of a game that went this long in the fifth set.”

Kevin Viaz led CBU with 16 kills, had seven blocks and three digs. Luis Palos had 11 kills despite hitting .097, and had two blocks and eight digs. Rohit Paul added 10 kills, two blocks and seven digs.

Cal Baptist recently went on a road trip during which it lost to the EIVA’s Penn State and Saint Francis, but finished with wins over Limestone, Erskine and Belmont Abbey of Conference Carolinas. The Lancers won their other MPSF match on Feb. 3 against Grand Canyon.

UCSB, which fell to 10-13, 5-10 and did itself no favors in trying to get into that eighth spot for the MPSF tourney, got one third of its 60 kills from Jacob Delson. He had 20, one of his team’s two aces and three of its 20 service errors, two blocks and six digs.

Keenan Sanders had 12 kills and six digs and Connor Drake had nine kills and three blocks.

In the fifth set, which was tied 15 times, UCSB had a 14-12 lead and was up again 24-23. An ace by Paul ended it.

Pepperdine celebrated its senior night with a 27-25, 25-20, 25-15 win over UC San Diego that left the Waves 9-10, 7-9. UCSD, 7-16, 3-12, is just a game ahead of Cal Baptist for last place in the MPSF standings.

David Wieczorek led with 17 kills, hitting .556. He had both of Pepperdine’s aces, three of its 11 errors, and four blocks. Noah Dyer had nine kills and seven digs. Michael Wexter and Mitchell Penning had five kills each.

UCSD’s Tanner Syftestad had 14 kills, two of his team’s three aces and three of its nine errors.

Beach

FIU’s Surf & Turf: No. 15 Florida International in Miami is the host for a Friday-Saturday gathering that includes No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 FSU, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Florida Atlantic, the University of New Orleans and Tulane.

No. 1 USC is in Santa Cruz on Saturday and plays San Francisco and then plays Saint Mary’s and San Jose State on Sunday in Monterey.

No. 2 Pepperdine has the week off.

No. 5 Hawai’i plays Saturday-Sunday in Huntington Beach in a field that includes No. 6 Long Beach State, Cal Poly, Sacramento State and CSUN.

No. 7 LSU is at the Georgia State Diggin’ Duals, which includes No. 10 Georgia State, Jacksonville State (Ala.), UAB and Austin Peay.

No. 8 Arizona is the host to No. 13 Grand Canyon, New Mexico, CSU Bakersfield and Santa Clara.

No. 9 Stetson goes to Jacksonville (Fla.) Friday-Saturday for a field that includes North Florida and Mercer.

And No. 11 South Carolina, in between watching both its basketball teams in the respective final fours, is at UNC-Wilmington’s tournament that also includes Coastal Carolina, Mercer and College of Charleston.

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