NCAA volleyball report: 15-1 Penn St. battles past UCI; Ball St. escapes UCSD; ORU hires


Third-ranked Penn State had to go the distance and then some Sunday at UC Irvine to improve to 15-1.

The Nittany Lions won 32-34, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 15-11 in a match that took three hours. 

In the only other NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball match Sunday, No. 12 Ball State also won in five in California as the Cardinals came away with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12 victory at UC San Diego.

The recaps of those matches and all of Saturday’s follow, plus a hire in NCAA women’s volleyball.

Penn State (15-1) of the EIVA was coming off a win at Concordia Irvine in which it won a set 40-38. Sunday, the 34-32 first-set win UCI (10-6) of the Big West saw 22 ties and seven lead changes.

Penn State, which hit .311 and had six aces and 25 serving errors, got 14 kills from Cal Fisher and 12 from Toby Ezeonu. Fisher had three assists, three aces, nine digs and six blocks, one solo. Ezeonu hit .455 after having two errors in 22 attacks and added an assist, three digs and five blocks, one solo. Owen Rose had nine kills in 17 errorless swings, an assist, an ace, a dig and five blocks. Cole Bogner had five kills in eight errorless tries, 43 assists, four digs and three blocks, one solo. 

UCI hit .239 and had 13 aces — nine by Hilir Henno — and 20 errors. Francesco Sani led with 22 kills, four assists, an ace — but seven errors — four blocks and six digs. Henno, who broke his own school record for aces, also had 20 kills, an assist and six digs. Cole Gillis had 13 kills, two aces and six digs. Joe Karlous had a kill, 47 assists and 16 digs. Cole Power had 18 digs … 

Ball State (11-6) of the MIVA got 21 kills from Kaleb Jenness, who hit .390 and had an assist, two aces, three blocks and two digs. Tinaishe Ndavazocheva had 15 kills, six blocks and five digs. Dyer Ball had seven kills, an assist, two aces, five blocks and nine digs, and Felix Egharevba had six kills with one error in 13 attacks, three digs and 10 blocks. David Flores had two kills in as many tries, 48 assists, an ace, two blocks and nine digs. His team his .378 and had six aces and 14 errors. 

UCSD (6-10) of the Big West got a monster effort by Ryan Ka, who had 31 kills. He hit .431 with six errors in 58 attacks, and added an ace, a block and a dig. Sam Warren had 11 kills, an assist and seven digs. UCSD, outblocked 16-2, hit .272 and had four aces and 20 errors.

SATURDAY: The big match of the day was No. 5 Grand Canyon’s five-set MPSF win over visiting No. 8 BYU. The Lopes (16-1, 5-1) won 22-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-17, 17-15 as Christian Janke had 17 kills, Camden Gianni 13, Jackson Hickman 12 and Cameron Thorne 10. Janke had 10 digs and an ace but nine errors, Gianni had three aces, a block and seven digs and Thorne had two errors in 14 attacks. Nicholas Slight had five kills in six tries, 50 assists and nine digs. Luke Benson had 16 kills for BYU (10-6, 2-4) to go with an assist, two aces, a solo block and four digs. GCU swept their match Friday … 

It was a good non-conference Saturday for the EIVA. Penn State , off to its best start in 14 years, swept at Concordia Irvine (5-12), winning by the wild scores of 25-19, 40-38, 25-20. According to Penn State, the 78 points in the second set were the most in a Penn State match since 2005 when the Lions also won 40-38 in the fourth set at Hawaii. Cal Fisher had 12 kills, Michal Kowal 11 and Toby Ezeonu 10. Cole Bogner had three kills in four errorless tries, 45 assists, three blocks and 10 digs. Penn State had four aces and a whopping 30 errors. CUI had an ace and 12 errors … 

No. 15 Charleston (15-1) got a big victory at the MIVA’s No. 13 Ohio State (11-6) as the Eagles won 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 28-26 for their first victory over a ranked team. Luuk Bavel Hoge had 18 kills and hit .552 to go with an assist, three digs and four blocks, two solo. Lachlan Bray and Garret Schnitker had 14 kills each. Charleston hit .429, which included nine kills by Velt Bils, who hit .538 and had six blocks, one solo. Ohio State’s Sam Clark had 18 kills, two aces and eight digs, Jack Stevens had 13 kills and five blocks, and Jacob Pasteur had 11 kills, two aces, two blocks and four digs …

NJIT (6-9) swept the NEC’s Merrimack (6-8), Harvard (6-8) swept the NEC’s LIU (7-7), and George Mason (5-9) beat Barton (3-11) of Conference Carolinas in four behind 18 kills, an assist, an ace, five digs and five blocks by Liam French …

In the SIAC, Central State (10-12, 3-1) had 16 aces — seven by Marcus Frank — and swept Morehouse (0-8, 0-2) and Fort Valley State (4-10, 1-0) did the same to Kentucky State (2-17, 1-3) …

In the lone MIVA match, No. 9 Loyola Chicago (14-2, 7-0) won 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 15-12 at Purdue Fort Wayne (12-5, 3-4) as Parker Van Buren had 20 kills and Cole Schlothauer 17. Van Buren had two errors in 44 attacks to hit .409 and added three blocks and nine digs. Schlothauer hit .317 and had an assist, an ace, three blocks and four digs. PFW’s Mark Frazier had 12 kills, Jon Diedrich 11 and Bryce Walker 10 … The MIVA’s Lewis (10-9) swept at Maryville (7-11) as John Davis had 12 kills, hit .400, and had two assists, three aces, a block and two digs … 

The only match involving a Big West team saw UCI (10-5) sweep at No. 10 Stanford (9-8) of the MPSF. Sani had 13 kills with one error in 22 attacks in the 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 victory. He added two aces, a blok and seven digs. Henno had 10 kills, six of his team’s nine aces against eight errors, two blocks and seven digs. Stanford, which has lost three in a row, got 21 kills from Will Rottman, who hit .472 … 

Lees-McRae (6-8) of Conference Carolinas swept visiting Randolph-Macon (8-9) and Emmanuel (6-10) got swept by Missouri A&T (7-8).

LOOKING AHEAD: There are three matches on Monday’s schedule, including the MIVA’s Quincy home for Cornerstone. The SIAC’s Edward Waters entertains Thomas More, and Maryville is home for UHSP.

Tuesday shows Loyola Chicago home for independent Queens, while Kentucky State is home twice for two Ohio schools, Mount Vernon Nazarene and Wittenburg.

ORAL ROBERTS TABS WARD: The new coach at Tulsa is Luke Ward, who coached the last eight season at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ilinois. Trinity won the 2022 National Christian College Division I national title. TIU, however, is going all online after this year and dropping athletics.

Ward replaces Frank Craig IIIl, who was fired after three seasons. ORU finished 9-21 last season, 6-12 in The Summit League.

Purdue Fort Wayne’s Zach Solomon tries to push past the block of Loyola’s Cole Schlothauer/Zachary Schuster photo

NCAA volleyball report: 15-1 Penn St. battles past UCI; Ball St. escapes UCSD; ORU hires Volleyballmag.com.

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