NCAA: Notes, polls, POWs, big week for Penn State and Chris Nugent

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So much volleyball in one place.

We have another tradeoff between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the AVCA men’s Division I-II poll, some movement in the men’s D-III poll, hardly any in the NCAA beach poll, but some good info for beach coaches.

Penn State’s Chris Nugent is both the AVCA and EIVA player of the week.

Just about everything you’d want to know about college volleyball is here in our weekly Tuesday NCAA notebook. All the polls follow — men’s Division I-II, men’s Division III and women’s beach — plus some analysis, the POW’s, and more.

NCAA men

AVCA Division I-II Poll: Penn State’s upset of Ohio State made for some movement on both ends of the poll. Long Beach State jumped a notch back to No. 1, while Ohio State dropped back to No. 2. Spots 3 through 11 stayed the same, but Penn State moved up from 13th to No. 12, trading places with Ball State. And Grand Canyon got back in at No. 15, replacing UC Santa Barbara.

Click here for the AVCA poll

AVCA Division III Poll: Springfield stayed No. 1 and got all 17 first-place votes, but SUNY New Paltz dropped four spots to No. 5 after losing to Vassar. Vassar moved up a notch to No. 2 and Stevens went up two spots to No. 3. Wentworth made a jump from 10th to No. 7.

Click here for the full AVCA Division III poll

National POWs

AVCA Division I-II POW:  Penn State senior outside hitter Chris Nugent. Nugent averaged 3.21 kills and hit .430 for the Nittany Lions in wins over Ohio State and Princeton. He also had four aces, an assist, 23 digs and eight blocks.

AVCA Division III National POW: Vassar junior middle blocker Matt Knigge. He led the Brewers to two victories, including an upset of SUNY New Paltz in which he had 14 kills and hit .478.He also had four digs and four blocks.

EIVA

Offensive Player of the Week: Penn State’s Chris Nugent, see AVCA POW above.

Defensive Player of the Week: George Mason senior libero Johnny Gomez. He averaged 3.89 digs in two victories and jumped up to fifth in the EIVA for digs at 2.16.

Key matches this week: Both Friday and Saturday’s three-match slates have big implications as first-place Penn State goes to Sacred Heart and Harvard, while second-place Harvard has third-place Saint Francis on Friday. George Mason could knock out both fourth-place teams, NJIT on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.

Last week’s key results: It was all about Penn State, which upset then-No. 1 Ohio State in five and then survived a five-setter against Princeton.

Worth noting: Nugent and Gomez won the individual honors for the second time this season … Penn State leads the EIVA in hitting percentage at .283, but Saint Francis, while ranked seventh in hitting percentage at .234, has the most kills (554) … Princeton freshman George Huhmann leads in hitting percentage (.386) but has only 298 kills. NJIT’s Jabarry Goodridge of has the most kills by far (370). Saint Francis’ Jeff Hogan is the next closest with 333.

Click here for the EIVA standings

MIVA

Offensive Player of the Week: Ohio State senior opposite Miles Johnson. Johnson hit .387 and averaged 4.73 kills per set for the Buckeyes in three matches.

Defensive Player of the Week: Quincy sophomore libero Kolbie Knorr. Knorr averaged 3.21 digs for the Hawks in three matches and had just two receiving errors in 67 attempts.

Key matches this week: Lewis plays at Ball State on Thursday and Loyola goes there on Saturday.

Last week’s key results: Ohio State’s victory over McKendree not only saw the Buckeyes bounce back from being upset by Penn State, but gave them the MIVA regular-season title. Lewis wrapped up second place by beating Loyola in five and then Loyola secured the deal by splitting with Grand Canyon, which needed a sweep.

Worth noting: Ball State’s Matt Walsh is fourth in the nation in hitting percentage (.443), while Lindenwood’s Connor Hipelius leads the nation in blocks per set (1.39). Loyola’s Jeff Jendryk is fourth in blocks (1.19) and sixth in hitting (.434).

Click here for the MIVA standings

MPSF

Player of the Week: UCLA junior outside hitter Jake Arnitz. Arnitz hit .450 in the eight sets UCLA played last week with 33 kills on 60 swings. He hit a career-best .632 in a win at No. 11 USC with 12 kills and no errors on 19 attacks. Arnitz had a career-high tying 21 kills and hit .366 on 41 swings in a five-set win at Cal Baptist.

Key matches this week: First-place Long Beach State will try to clinch the top MPSF tourney seed with a win against visiting CSUN on Friday. BYU goes to UCSB for matches Thursday and Friday, while UCLA plays host to Hawai’i on Friday and Saturday.

Last week’s key results: Last-place Cal Baptist upset UCSB and then took UCLA to five, 20-18 in the fifth. USC also beat UCSB in the battle to play in the postseason.

Worth noting: The longest current streak in the league right now is CSUN, which has lost six in a row. The longest winning streaks are three by UC Irvine and UCLA … Cal Baptist beat UCSB 27-25 last week in the second-longest set five in MPSF history … BYU’s only hope for the tourney No. 1 seed is to win twice this week and have CSUN upset Long Beach State. Click here for the scenarios and possibilities regarding the MPSF Tournament.

Click here for the MPSF standings

Conference Carolinas

Player of the Week: Barton senior setter Federico Pagliara. The Italian averaged 10.92 assists per set and also had 17 digs and eight blocks in a 3-0 week.

Key matches this week: There aren’t many. First-place Barton plays Tuesday in a non-conference match against Coker. Second-place King plays host to Limestone on Saturday. Third-place Mount Olive has the week off. Looking ahead, a week from Tuesday Mount Olive is at Barton.

Last week’s key results: King’s five-set win at Mount Olive and Barton’s five-set win over King.

Worth noting: Jeff Sprayberry had 27 kills for King against Mount Olive. Teammate Nick Drooker had seven aces against Barton. And Barton’s Justice Lord, had nine blocks against King in the best performances of last week. Not surprisingly, Sprayberry leads the league with 316 kills, although Isaac Lanier of Erskine leads in kills per set (3.67). Jon Wheaton of King lead in kills per set (.445).

Click here for the ConfCarolinas standings

NCAA Beach

AVCA Collegiate Beach Poll: There are few things more predictable than this poll, where in spots through 1 through 11 there was one change as Long Beach State moved from sixth to No. 5, changing places with Hawai’i. USC remains No. 1, followed by Pepperdine, UCLA and Florida State. Grand Canyon moved up a notch to No. 12 and FIU jumped two places to No. 13, while Arizona State fell three spots to No. 15.

Click here for the entire AVCA Beach poll

CCSA top pair: Florida International’s top pair of Margherita Bianchin and Federica Frasca took the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association honors. They went 6-0 and playing at Nos. 1, 2 and 3. They are 12-0 this season.

Big West top pair: Rachel Nieto and Nele Barber of Long Beach State. They went 6-1 last week and are 19-1 for the season.

ASUN top pair: Kristin Lind and Darby Dunn of Stetson are the Atlantic Sun honorees for the second straight week and third time this year. Lind, from Sweden, and Dunn, from British Columbia, won all four of their matches in straight sets.

Pac-12 top pair: Who else but Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes of USC? They went 8-0 in straight sets and had five sets in which they held opponents to single-digit points to improve to 26-0 this season, extending their record-setting winning streak to 99 matches.

Key matches this week: Top-ranked USC plays host Friday and Saturday to Washington and No. 15 Arizona State on Friday and then goes to Manhattan Beach on Saturday to play ASU, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s.

Before heading to Hawai’i, No. 2 Pepperdine plays Wednesday at Zuma Beach against Grand Canyon and No. 5 Long Beach State. LBSU also plays Grand Canyon.

Fourth-ranked Florida State is home Friday and Saturday for a tournament that includes TCU, No. 14 Florida Atlantic, No. 11 South Carolina and No. 10 Georgia State.

No. 6 Hawai’i has Pepperdine and Cal Poly. It’s the last play for the Wahine before the Big West Championship April 28-29 on Pismo Beach in California.

No. 3 UCLA has Wednesday home matches against Cal Poly and Loyola Marymount and goes to Santa Monica Saturday and Sunday to play Washington, Concordia, Long Beach State and No. 8 Arizona.

Speaking of Beach, it goes to Santa Monica and plays Washington, Arizona, Concordia (Irvine) and UCLA.

No. 7 LSU goes to the Houston Baptist Invitational that also includes Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Tulane and Central Arkansas.

There’s a big gathering at Stetson in DeLand, Fla., where the No. 9 Hatters play host Friday and Saturday to Mercer, Coastal Carolina and Florida Gulf Coast.

Worth noting: USC won its 50th in a row and the pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes have now won 99 in a row.

AVCA Collegiate Beach Conference: It will be in conjunction with the NCAA Beach Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala. The conference is May 6-7 and is free to AVCA members with a purchase of an NCAA all-session ticket. It’s for current college beach coaches in addition to coaches and/or administrators interested in starting a beach program. Click here for all the info from the AVCA

NCAA women

Top players going to Thailand: USA Volleyball announced a 12-player group it’s calling the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team Thailand Tour. The coach is Jerritt Elliott of Texas and they’ll practice in Bangkok May 19-30.

According to USA Volleyball, the match schedule will include playing the Thailand National Team, the Thailand U23 Team and Bangkok Glass, the top team in the Thai professional league. The CNT-Thailand team will also play against two other teams yet to be confirmed. The team training and competition matches will be at the FIVB Development Center in Bangkok, one of only four such centers in Asia.

The roster:

Name (Position, School, Height, College Eligibility Remaining, Hometown)

Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani (OPP, University of Texas, 6-4, 2, Los Angeles, Cal.)
Kaz Brown (M, University of Kentucky, 6-4, 1, Waterloo, Iowa)
Ashley Dusek (L, University of Kentucky, 5-7, 1, East Bernard, Texas)
Taylor Hughes (S, Ohio State University, 2, 6-1, Carroll, Ohio)
Lily Johnson (OH, Missouri State University, 5-11, 1, Wildwood, Mo.)
Morgan Johnson (M, University of Texas, 6-3, 2, DeSoto, Texas)
Taylor Nelson (S, Cal Poly, 1, 6-0, Granite Bay, California)
Chiaka Ogbogu (M, University of Texas, 6-2, 1, Coppell, Texas)
Madison Rigdon (OH, University of Kansas, 6-0, 1, Pflugerville, Texas)
Jordan Thompson (OPP, University of Cincinnati, 2, 6-4, Edina, Minn.)
Micaya White (OH, University of Texas, 6-1, 3, Frisco, Texas)
McKenna Woodford (OH, Washington State University, 6-4, 2, Chandler, Ariz.)
Head Coach: Jerritt Elliott (head coach at University of Texas)
Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (head coach at University of Concordia Irvine)
Assistant Coach: Alyssa D’Errico (assistant coach at University of Dayton)

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