A game that wasn’t now is, some big matches are on tap for Wednesday, and the coaching carousel has begun its postseason spin.
Start with UC Irvine, which went five, sort of, to beat visiting Long Beach State after being down 10-4 in the fifth. This was the match that was originally played on September 24 but was rescheduled for Tuesday. More on that match in a bit.
It’s that time of year. As the regular season ended for many mid-majors, coaches leave. Accordingly, there are now openings at Montana and Troy.
Wednesday’s slate includes three matches in the Big Ten, starting with No. 1 Nebraska playing host to No. 15 Penn State. Nebraska won 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11 at Penn State on November 4.
Also, Purdue goes to Indiana and Rutgers is at Iowa.
The only Pac-12 match has No. 9 UCLA playing host to Oregon State.
The only ACC match has No. 6 North Carolina entertaining Virginia.
In the Big 12, No. 4 Kansas goes to West Virginia, while No. 7 Texas — No. 1 in the NCAA RPI — plays host to Texas Tech. Baylor goes to TCU and Oklahoma is at Kansas State, which is not ranked but is No. 19 in the RPI.
The SEC has Texas A&M — another team not ranked but No. 23 in the RPI — at Tennessee and Ole Miss at Mississippi State.
There is a huge match in the Mountain West, with Colorado State at Boise State in a battle of the two teams tied for first at 13-2 in the league.
In the American Athletic Conference, league-leader SMU tries to keep its one-game lead with two matches left over Cincinnati when it entertains Tulsa.
UCI beats Long Beach State
The final score was 25-22, 25-23, 26-28, 17-25, 17-15, but there so much to it than that.
Back on September 24, UCI won the first set 25-22 and was leading 20-18 in the second where — seven weeks later — it would be resumed. But in that first meeting, they played it out and Long Beach won in five. However UCI successfully protested to the Big West, won the appeal, and the match was rescheduled to be played from that point in the second set.
And so Tuesday the Anteaters improved to 11-17 overall, 6-8 in the Big West. Long Beach is 17-10, 11-3.
UCI was led by outside hitter Victoria Dennis with 24 kills, seven digs and two solo blocks. Middle blocker Danielle Geiger tied her career-high with 19 kills and three block assists, while opposite Harlee Kekauoha added 11 kills and 10 digs. Libero Luna Tsujimoto had 20 digs followed by outside hitter Haley DeSales who tied her career-high with 18 digs and pitched in five kills and three aces. Setter Ali Koumelis had 16 digs in the first two sets.
Nele Barber had a career-high 25 kills, getting 16 of them on Tuesday night, and 13 digs.
YiZhi Xue had a career-high 14 kills and hit .400. Ashley Murray and Peyton Grahovac had 11 kills each. Missy Owens finished with a career-high 59 assists, plus had 19 digs and five kills. Libero Hailey Harward had 26 digs to finish just one shy of her career high.
Clearly these two teams were evenly matched: In their other meeting October 28 at Long Beach, UCI won in five 19-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-17, 15-12.
Openings at Troy and Montana
Tuesday Troy coach Sonny Kilpatrick resigned. He was 145-211 in 11 seasons. Troy competes in the Sun Belt Conference and this season was 10-23, 4-12 in the league.
Brian Doyon is out at Montana. He resigned on Monday after Montana finished a 6-26 season, 4-12 in the Big Sky. Doyon was 13-41 in two seasons.
Middle Tennessee’s head coach Dan Ahiers resigned September 27th. The Blue Raiders finished 5-24, 2-12 in Conference USA under assistant coach Jeff Huebner.
That’s just three NCAA Division I head-coach openings. Rest assured more are coming.