Thursday saw a light schedule around the men’s and women’s college beach games, however the big news centers on Olympic gold-medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings suing the AVP for unpaid monies related to a sponsorship deal.
Before we get to that, Friday has a full slate of action in the EIVA where Harvard is at Princeton, Charleston travels to Penn State, George Mason is at Saint Francis and Sacred Heart heads to NJIT. Matches to keep an eye on include Penn State, which is 9-3 and in first place in the EIVA, and Saint Francis, which is a game behind at 8-4 in a parity-filled league this season (five teams have either 7-5 or 6-6 records). EIVA teams close out the regular season Saturday ahead of next week’s conference tournament that is hosted by the regular-season champion.
Walsh Jennings vs. AVP
Back to the situation with the AVP and Walsh Jennings. A story appeared Thursday on the website www.Law360.com reporting Walsh Jennings served a breach of contract suit Tuesday looking to recover $150,000 she claims to be owed by the AVP for a sponsorship deal. The suit is in relation to a three-year agreement she signed with the association in 2013 for the AVP to use her name, likeness and “other indicia” of her identity in exchange for $450,000.
VolleyballMag.com attempted to contact Donald Sun, Kerri Walsh-Jenning’s agent, and Kerri Walsh-Jenning’s attorney and have not yet received a response, and will have more on this developing story in the near future.
MIVA and MPSF tournaments
Both the MIVA and MPSF tournaments start Saturday at the higher seeded teams. VolleyballMag.com will have previews of those two tournaments on our website throughout Friday.
Long Beach State sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco recently was named the MPSF player of the year. DeFalco is the only player in the conference who is ranked among both the hitting-percentage and kill leaders, hitting .400 (NCAA No. 9) while averaging 4.10 kills per set (NCAA No. 6). DeFalco is the second 49er to earn MPSF player of the year honors, joining Paul Lotman (2008). He is the second MPSF player in the conference’s history to earn freshman and player of the year honors in back-to-back years, joining BYU’s Ryan Millar.
UC Irvine middle blocker Scott Stadick is the MPSF freshman of the year. The Wisconsin native has a conference-high 22 solo blocks heading into the postseason. He’s one solo block away from breaking into the MPSF’s all-time single-season top-20 list and into the top 10 in the rally-scoring era. He ranks fifth in the country in blocks at 1.20 per set. Stadick is the third Anteater to win the award, joining Carson Clark in 2009 and Brent Asuka in 2006.
The all-MPSF first team features DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga (setter, Long Beach State), Jake Langlois (outside hitter, BYU), Stijn van Tilburg (opposite, Hawaii), Jake Arnitz (outside hitter, UCLA), Michael Saeta (setter, UC Irvine), Kyle Ensing (opposite, Long Beach State), Tamir Hershko (outside hitter, UC Irvine), Mitch Stahl (middle blocker, UCLA), Lucas Yoder (outside hitter, USC), David Wieczorek (outside hitter, Pepperdine) and Jennings Franciskovic (setter, Hawaii).
Second-team selections include Amir Lugo-Rodriguez (middle blocker, Long Beach State), Brenden Sander (outside hitter, BYU), Price Jarman (middle blocker, BYU), Andrew Sato (libero, Long Beach State). Thomas Hodges (outside hitter, UC Irvine), Kevin Rakestraw (middle blocker, Stanford), Bryce Yould (middle blocker, Long Beach State), Arvis Greene (opposite, Northridge), Andy Benesh (middle blocker, USC), Larry Tuileta (libero, Hawaii), Hendrik Mol (middle blocker, Hawaii) and Tanner Syftestad (opposite, UC San Diego).
Action in the Conference Carolinas tournament begins next week on Tuesday (April 18) at the higher seeded team. The semifinals and championship match will be contested at the highest remaining seed on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22. The CC champion receives an automatic bid into the upcoming NCAA men’s finals in Columbus, Ohio.
Barton College is the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Barton shared the regular-season title with King. Both teams were 16-2. King is the No. 2 seed, followed by Mount Olive at No. 3 (14-4) and Limestone at No. 4 (12-6). The rest of the championship field includes No. 5 Belmont Abbey (8-10), No. 6 Lees-McRae (8-10), No. 7 North Greenville (7-11) and No. 8 Erskine (4-14).
We wrap it up with a quick twirl around the top 10 beach programs in the country. No. 1 USC is off until April 18 when it heads to Stanford.
Pepperdine, ranked in a tie at No. 2 in the nation with UCLA, heads to Tallahassee, Fla., Friday and Saturday to take part in the Florida State Invitational along with No. 9 Stetson, host and No. 4 FSU, and Florida International.
UCLA is off until next Saturday when it heads to USC and Merle Norman Stadium to face Cal Poly and the Trojans.
Earlier in the week, Long Beach State, ranked in a tie at No. 5 in the nation with Hawai’i, defeated Cal Poly (4-1) and Loyola Marymount (3-2) earlier this week on Manhattan Beach. The 49ers return to action April 20 against CSU Bakersfield and USC.
Hawai’i is hosting the First Foundation Bank Easter Classic Friday and Saturday at the Ching Complex where it will face Saint Mary’s in a pair of contests.
No. 7 LSU, which has won 16 matches in a row and sits at 18-5, hosts Texas A&M-Kingsville and Louisiana-Monroe Friday and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and No. 10 Georgia State on Saturday.
No. 8 Arizona (13-8) is off until next week when it hosts Stanford and Cal in Tucson. No. 9 Stetson is at the Florida State Invitational this weekend. No. 10 Georgia State heads to LSU Friday and Saturday, while Grand Canyon, tied with Georgia State at No. 10, also is at the Florida State Invitational in Tallahassee.