VB today: Top men win NCAA berths, DIII field set, Park wins NAIA, NCAA beach

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Long Beach celebrates beating Hawai'i to win the MPSF tournament/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Since this story was posted, BYU and Hawai’i got the NCAA’s two at-large bids. Read the story here.

All four NCAA Division I-II men’s No. 1 seeds are moving on.

Later Sunday, they’ll find who they play and when in the National Collegiate Championship May 4-6 in Columbus, Ohio.

Long Beach State, Ohio State, Penn State and Barton — all playing a home — claimed spots in the final six. Two at-large teams will be added.

In Division III, Saturday’s four play-in winners are in the quarterfinals that begin Thursday at Springfield, Mass.

In the NAIA, Park won the men’s national title for the fifth time.

In NCAA beach, Pepperdine won the Big West again, two Florida schools will play for the CCSA title on Sunday, and Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast are in strong positions heading in the last day of the ASUN tournament.

And in China, Brazil’s Barbara Seixas De Freitas and Fernanda Alves and Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen won their respective FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Open titles.

Hawai'i's Kupono Fey snaps the overpass straight down but lost the point when he hit the net on the follow-through/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Hawai’i’s Kupono Fey snapped the overpass straight down but lost the point when he hit the net on the follow-through/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

MPSF: Long Beach State, ranked No. 1 in the nation and winner of the regular-season title, held true to form with its 17-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-23 victory over Hawai’i in the Pyramid on the LBSU campus.

It marked Long Beach’s first MPSF title and will be its fourth NCAA tournament trip under coach Alan Knipe and ninth overall. The Beach is back in the NCAA for back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1990-91.

“I’m incredibly proud of our guys and happy for them for all the hard work they’ve put in to accomplish a goal that we set for ourselves,” Knipe said. “We wanted to host and we also wanted to win the MPSF championship. We’ve been working hard for that, as every team has, but we sit here and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys at this moment.

“I think they are pretty excited right now, which they should be. But I also want to give a huge compliment to Hawai’i and the way they played tonight. They absolutely jumped right out of the gates and put all sorts of pressure on us. They are a good team. They’ve had a great season and they gave a wonderful crowd at the Pyramid, which doesn’t surprise me whatsoever. So proud of the volleyball community around here to come out like they did, but it gave them something special to watch. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys tonight and I’m real happy for them.”

Long Beach State is 27-3. Hawai’i (26-5), has to wait until later Sunday to learn if it gets one of the two NCAA at-large bids.

Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade likes his team’s chances of getting an NCAA bid.

“I think they’re good. We’ve only lost to two teams and we make to the final of our conference championship match, the toughest league in the country. And the teams we lost to, there’s no bad losses. BYU is No. 1 in the RPI and we have a win against them and Long Beach is pretty good too,” Wade said.

“Three of our five losses to them, on the road, all of our losses are the on road. I think we have a compelling argument to get into the field.”

Kyle Ensing led with 15 kills. He hit .367, had six digs and a block. Ensing also had two of his team’s five aces and an error.

Teammate TJ DeFalco, the MPSF regular-season MVP, was named MVP of the tournament. He had 12 kills and hit .429, although no aces and four of Long Beach’s 18 errors. DeFalco had nine digs and a block.

Setter Josh Tuaniga not only had four kills, but three aces to go with three errors, five digs and two blocks.

“It shows on the stat sheet and it also to everyone watching. Josh is a phenomenal setter,” DeFalco said. “I give credit to Kyle, too, in dominating his side of the net because if he didn’t take the blockers that way then I wouldn’t have nearly the success I as I do.

“The teamwork we put together and how we’re running the bic and the middle of the court and Josh distributes all of that I wouldn’t be winning any of these awards without these two or my whole team.”

Hawai’i’s Kupono Fey led the Rainbow Warriors with 14 kills but hit .194. He had one of his team’s three aces and two of its 15 errors. Fey also had four digs and a block. Stijn van Tilburg had 12 kills, two errors and four digs. Their team hit .184, while Long Beach hit .361.

Hendrik Mol, Hawai'i's top middle in kills and hitting percentage, goes down with an ankle sprain early in game two and would not return/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Hendrik Mol, Hawai’i’s top middle in kills and hitting percentage, sprained his ankle early in the second set Saturday and did not return/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Hawai’i was dealt a tough blow when senior middle Hendrik Mol left the match in the second set with ankle sprain and did not return and it forced Wade to make lineup changes. Mol had three kills in six swings, an ace, a block and a dig.

MIVA: Second-ranked and top-seeded crushed No. 14 and third-seed Grand Canyon in the first and third sets 25-16, 25-22, 25-11 in 1 hour, 11 minutes. Ohio State won its 16th MIVA tourney title.

“(In the first set) you saw us taking advantage of the home court, being in a familiar facility, our ability to serve in and stay in system and run our offense,” said coach Pete Hanson, whose team improved to 30-2.

“And I thought you saw a little bit of nerves with the Grand Canyon kids. It was the first time they’re in a championship match, they’re on the road, things like that. Halfway decent crowd (1,020), the energy, and obviously that was an advantage for us.”

Ohio State, which hit .464, was led by Miles Johnson, who had 11 kills, including the match winner, and hit .348. He had three of his team’s six aces and three of its 12 errors, three digs and five blocks.

Nicolas Szerszen, who hit .471, and Maxime Hervoir, who hit .538, added nine kills each.

“Winning that match in three might have been the highlight of the year so far,” Johnson said. “When we played at their place, I don’t even know how to discuss it without cussing. It was kind of a horrible time.”

Ohio State won at Grand Canyon in four on February 24 and in five on February 26 in their regular-season meetings.

Grand Canyon, which ended its best season ever at 19-11, got seven kills from Cody Williams, who hit .400. Drake Silbernagel, who hit .455 had six kills, and so did Matthew Kinnebrew.

“This was the service pressure we knew that they were capable of,” GCU coach Matt Werle said. “Ohio State played every facet of the game really well and they deserve a lot of credit. You could tell that we were fatigued from the long week.”

His team more than exceeded outsiders’ expectations this season. 

“I could not be more proud of this group of young men,” Werle said. “Coming into this season, we were voted sixth the MIVA. It took until the second to last week of the regular season before (AVCA poll) coaches started respecting this team.

“I know the numbers don’t show a lot tonight, but this team has accomplished so much this season. This program is moving in a direction it can be proud of. I am extremely thankful for this group.”

EIVA: After a rare year out of the loop, Penn State is back in the NCAA tournament.

The 13th-ranked Nittany Lions made short work of Saint Francis, also of Pennsylvania, 25-19, 25-14, 25-20 and move on for the 28th time in program history.

Penn State captured its 18th EIVA tournament title in the past 19 years on a kill from Chris Nugent, who had nine kills on 16 swings. He hit .438 and his team .418. Nugent had three of his team’s seven errors — the Nittany Lions had no aces — to go with five digs and a block.

Aidan Albrecht also had nine kills, hit .333, three errors, five digs and four blocks, one solo as a crowd of about 1,300 filled Rec Hall. Calvin Mende and Matt Callaway had six kills each.

“One of the problems we were having earlier in the season was getting off to good starts. This whole tournament we had some of our best starts to sets,” Mende said. “I think it shows, especially in this game, coming out hot and coming out focused and ready to go.”

Saint Francis, which also lost in last year’s EIVA title match to George Mason, ended its season 16-15. It got 12 kills from Michael Fisher, who hit .097. His team hit .075. Jeff Hogan added seven kills but hit .000.

Conference Carolinas: Barton beat Mount Olive 25-18, 25-15, 25-17, taking advantage of playing at home in Wilson, N.C.

Barton, which improved to 23-5, hit .403 and held Mount Olive (18-10) to an .049 hitting percentage.

Barton, in the NCAA tournament for the first time in its six-year men’s volleyball history, used just seven players. Vasilis Mandilaris, a sophomore outside from Greece, led with 13 kills in 17 swings and hit .647. He also had five digs. His brother, freshman Angelo Mandilaris, had 11 kills, four digs and three blocks. Aleksa Brkovic, a sophomore from Serbia, had nine kills, hit .462, had four digs and two blocks.

Mount Olive got nine kills from Robert Poole and six from Bret Rutledge.

Division III: The four winners were Hunter, which swept Penn State-Altoona; Stevens Institute, which beat Endicott in four; defending-champion State University of New York New Paltz, which beat Kean in five; and Juniata, which ousted New York University.

Thursday’s quarterfinals at Springfield have seven teams from the Northeast and one from the Midwest.

Top-ranked Springfield, the home team, plays Hunter of New York, Dominican of Illinois faces Stevens of New Jersey, Vassar of New York plays SUNY New Paltz, and Wentworth of Massachusetts takes on Juniata of Pennsylvania.

Click here for the NCAA DIII bracket.

NAIA: The Park Pirates defeated No. 1 Grand View 36-34, 25-21, 25-16 in St. Louis. Park won national titles in 2003, 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Park, from Parkville, Mo., finished 26-5, while Grand View of Des Moine, Iowa, was 25-4.

Park coach Mike Talamantes has three national titles as the head men’s coach at Park and also won the 2014 NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship.
Tournament MVP Daniel Arteaga led Park with 29 kills and hit .558.

USC's Jo Kremer exults as her teammates provide support/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
USC’s Jo Kremer exults as her teammates provide support/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Beach

NCAA

CCSA: Seventh-ranked LSU beat Charleston and No. 9 Georgia, but then got knocked off by Florida International on Saturday in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association tournament. Meanwhile, No. 4 Florida State beat No. 12 South Carolina, FIU, and No. 15 Florida Atlantic to move to the Sunday title match against FIU, which it has beaten three times this year, twice by 3-2 and 4-1 on Saturday.

Big West: Third-ranked and top-seeded Pepperdine improved to 24-3 as it beat third-seeded Loyola Marymount twice by 4-1 scores in Santa Monica on Saturday to win the league title for the second straight year.

ASUN: The winner will be decided Sunday. In the winner’s bracket, top-seeded Stetson faces third-seeded Florida Gulf Coast and second-seeded Mercer faces North Florida.

USC beats UCLA: The streak is now at 60 as the top-ranked Trojans head into the postseason 30-0 after sweeping Cal Poly and then beat No. 2 UCLA  4-1.

At No. 1, Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes of USC) beat the McNamara twins, Megan and Nicole, 21-15, 22-20.

UCLA’s win came at No. 4 when Jordan Anderson and Izzy Carey beat Abril Bustamante and Joy Dennis 21-13, 21-19.

UCLA is 26-3.

Both teams head to the Pac-12 Championship that begins on Thursday at the University of Arizona.

Arizona State wins: The Sun Devils improved to 16-14 with their first sweep of a Pac-12 school in program history, beating Stanford 5-0.

The No. 1 pair of Bianca Arellano and Whitney Follette beat Kathryn Plummer and Jenna Gray 29-27, 21-15. Stanford is 21-8.

FIVB

Brazil’s Barbara Seixas De Freitas and Fernanda Alves beat China’s Fan Wang and Yue Yuan 21-12, 19-21, 16-14 in a packed stadium where the wind was strong.

“China started a little bit down and we started strong but then they recovered during the game and Yue Yuan has a really hard serve and in this wind, it was really difficult,” Alves said. “You just need to have patience to do one ball after one ball.”

“I’m really happy to get silver. We never played in such a fierce match before, so this match has great significance for us,” Yuan said.

Click here for the full women’s elimination bracket, courtesy of bvbinfo.com.

The men’s championship went to Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who beat Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy in the final 21-14, 21-17 in a match that took just 29 minutes.

Click here for the full men’s elimination bracket, courtesy of bvbinfo.com.

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