NCAA men’s play-ins: BYU routs Barton, Hawai’i gets past Penn State

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Penn State's Jalen Penrose hits into the Hawaii triple block/Brianna O'Mara photo

The NCAA men’s season is down to three teams from the MPSF and defending-champion Ohio State.

That’s because Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, in the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship, third-seeded BYU rolled past sixth-seeded Barton in one play-in match and then third-seeded Hawai’i escaped fourth-seeded Penn State in five to set up the following Thursday-night semifinals:

Long Beach State (27-3) vs BYU (25-4), 6 p.m. Eastern: They met twice in the regular season in back-to-back matches in Provo. BYU won 3-2 on March 24 but the next night Long Beach won in three.

Ohio State (30-2) vs. Hawai’i, 8 p.m. Eastern: This will be the first meeting between the teams since early in the 2015 season.

The championship match is at 7 p.m. Eastern Saturday and will be shown on ESPN2.

The attendance for the nightcap in St. John’s Arena was listed as 695. What’s more, between the four men’s conferences — MPSF, MIVA, EIVA and Conference Carolinas — only three times since the post began has a lower seed won, and that was No. 3 teams beating No. 2 teams.

BYU 3, Barton 0: This one was no contest as the Cougars of the MPSF crushed the Conference Carolinas champion 25-19, 25-11, 25-15.

No team from Conference Carolinas has won a set since the play-in matches were added in 2014 when the league got an automatic bid. The Bulldogs’ ended their season 23-6. On the upside, that was the most wins in school history and they battled BYU tough in the first set, trailing just 20-17 before the Cougars pulled away. And in the third set they were as close as 17-14 before BYU closed on an 8-1 run.

BYU hit .351 and had 18 blocks, while Barton hit .067 and had just two blocks. What’s more, in a sport where just the opposite usually happens, BYU had 10 aces and only six errors.

Brenden Sander led BYU with 11 kills, hit .409, and had a career-high eight blocks, one solo. Jake Langlois added seven kills and hit .316 to go with four blocks, and Tim Dobbert had six kills and hit .333. Price Jarman had two kills and six blocks, one solo. Ben Patch, who had four kills, had five aces and Leo Durkin had three aces.

The BYU players met with media after the match. Click here to watch the news conference.

After the players finished, BYU coach Shawn Olmstead answered questions as well.

Aleksa Brkovic led Barton with eight kills and Vasilis Mandilaris had six.

Click here to watch the Barton post-match news conference.

Hawai’i 3, Penn State 2: The Nittany Lions went up 2-1, but then Hawai’i did more than answer the challenge by outscoring Penn State 40-28 in the last two sets for a 23-25, 27-25, 17-25, 25-14, 15-4 victory.

The Rainbow Warriors got a monster performance from Stijn van Tilburg, who had 20 kills, hit .289, to go with seven digs and six blocks, one solo.

Brett Rosenmeier had 13 kills and hit .409 to go with nine digs and six blocks. And Patrick Gasman and Austin Matautia had seven kills each as Hawai’i played without injured senior middle Hendrick Mol.

Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade and players Matautia, van Tilburg and Jennings Franciskovic met with the media after the match. Click here to see the news conference.

Penn State, which won the EIVA, finished its season 21-11.

The Nittany Lions hit just .143. Calvin Mende had 18 kills, his last came at 5-3 in the fourth set.

Kevin Gear added 10 kills and hit .333 and had six blocks, one solo. Aldan Albrecht added nine kills but hit minus .030. He had one of his team’s three aces, but four of its 13 errors to go with five blocks.

Penn State coach Mark Pavlik and his players met with the media after the match. Click here for the news conference.

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