NCAA men: Pepperdine, UCLA win as races tighten near regular-season end

Fourth-ranked Pepperdine and No. 5 UCLA both won NCAA Division I-II men’s matches Thursday, guaranteeing that they will finish in the top two places in the MPSF standings, while No. 11 BYU — despite 26 kills by Davide Gardini — took a big hit by being upset at Grand Canyon.

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In the MIVA, Jake Hanes had 30 kills as Ohio State upset No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne and Ball State put the brakes on McKendree.

Here’s a look at all five men’s leagues and where things stand.

MPSF: The MPSF regular season ends Saturday when Pepperdine (19-6, 8-3) plays host to No. 14 Concordia (14-17, 3-8), UCLA (18-7, 8-3) goes to No. 6 USC (15-9, 6-5), and No. 9 Stanford (14-10, 5-6) plays at Grand Canyon (13-14, 3-8).

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The MPSF tournament begins April 13 and the only one of the seeds that is set is USC at No. 3.

Pepperdine and UCLA are tied for the lead and Grand Canyon and Concordia are tied for the bottom. Pepperdine can clinch the top spot with a win and the first-round tournament bye that goes with it.

In Thursday’s action, Pepperdine beat USC 25-16, 25-23, 25-21 as David Wieczorek led with 13 kills and hit .571 after having one error in 21 swings. He had two digs and two aces. Kaleb Denmark had 11 kills and hit .348 and Michael Wexter had 10 kills and like Denmark had two blocks. Max Chamberlain had three kills in five errorless swings, four of his team’s seven aces, three digs and a block.

Gianluca Grasso had 12 kills and hit .556 for USC, which got 11 kills from Jack Wyett. USC, which had won four in a row, dropped to 1-8 on opponents’ home courts this season.

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UCLA’s swept Concordia 25-19, 25-19, 25-19 behind 14 kills by Daenan Gyimah. He had five blocks, one solo, and three of the Bruins’ six aces. Grant Maleski, who had three kills in five errorless attacks, also had three aces and two blocks.

Concordia hit .110 and got nine kills from Jordan Hoppe.

Grand Canyon beat BYU 19-25, 27-25, 19-25, 25-22, 16-14, ending the Cougars’ regular season at 12-11, 6-6. BYU will finish either fourth or fifth depending on Stanford’s outcome against GCU.

GCU is 8-2 in five-set matches. David Kisiel led with 23 kills and hit .415 to go with four blocks. Christian Janke had 16 kills, hit .522, and had two of the Lopes’ three aces to go with nine digs and three blocks. And Alex Shmelev had 11 kills and hit .500 to go with a dig, three blocks and an assist.

Gardini’s big match saw him hit .432. He had an ace, three blocks and five digs. Gabi Garcia Fernandez added 17 kills, an assist, an ace, five digs and three blocks, one solo.

Big West: The two leaders are in action Friday as No. 1 Hawai’i (23-0, 6-0) is home for third-place and third-ranked UC Santa Barbara (17-5, 4-2), while No. 2 Long Beach State (23-1, 6-0) is home for UC San Diego (7-15, 0-6). Eighth-ranked UC Irvine (14-9, 2-4) goes to No. 12 CSUN (10-12, 0-6).

MIVA: No. 7 Lewis (20-5, 11-1) plays host to Quincy (5-20, 0-12) and No. 10 Loyola (17-7, 10-2) is home for Lindenwood (9-16, 5-7).

The regular season wraps up Saturday with four matches and the league tournament starts Wednesday.

Thursday, Ohio State (9-18, 4-9) held off visiting PFW (16-10, 8-5) 18-25, 25-16, 21-25, 32-30, 15-9.

Hanes had a monster night, getting his career-high 30 kills on 52 swings. He hit .404 and had an assist, two of the Buckeyes’ five aces, five digs and five blocks, one solo. Sean Ryan added a career-high 16 kills and hit .444 to go with an assist, three digs and three blocks, one solo. Blake Leeson had 11 kills with one error in 18 swings to hit .556 and he had seven blocks, one solo. Former PFW player Austin Gerwig, who had three kills in three errorless swings, got the last two points against his former team.

Alex Dickmann had 16 kills and nine digs for PFW. Pelegrin Vargas had 13 kills but hit .154 to go with three assists, an ace, three digs and three blocks.

Ball State (14-13, 5-7) won at McKendree (11-11, 6-6) 25-12, 19-25, 23-25, 28-26, 15-12.

Matt Szews led with 20 kills and added two aces, six digs and five blocks. David Siebum had 11 kills, Lemuel Turner 10 and Blake Reardon nine.

Wyatt Dimke led McKendree with 15 kills. He hit .522 and had an assist, a dig and eight blocks.

EIVA: The regular season still has four more playing dates, starting with four matches Friday. That includes first-place Princeton (11-12, 9-1) playing host to Harvard (6-12, 5-5) and second-place Penn State (12-12, 8-2) home for Charleston (9-16, 1-9). Also, No. 15 George Mason (14-7, 7-3) goes to Saint Francis (13-11) in a battle to hold onto third place, and NJIT (7-13, 2-8) is home for Sacred Heart (3-13, 1-9).

Conference Carolinas: It’s a two-team race between Barton (20-3, 13-1) and King (16-9, 12-2) and they play at King on Friday. Also, North Greenville goes to Limestone, Mount Olive is at Lees-McRae and Erskine is at Belmont Abbey.

The post NCAA men: Pepperdine, UCLA win as races tighten near regular-season end appeared first on Volleyballmag.com.

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