Wednesday, 7 June 2023

International Volleyball

UCI upsets LBSU, plays Hawai’i; MPSF, EIVA, MIVA, ConfCarolinas finals; EWU win SIAC

UCI upsets LBSU, plays Hawai'i; MPSF, EIVA, MIVA, ConfCarolinas finals; EWU win SIAC

Third-seeded UC Irvine not only upset Long Beach State in the Big West semifinals Friday night, but the Anteaters came away with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 sweep on their home floor.

It followed Hawai’i’s sweep of UC Santa Barbara, which pits the Rainbow Warriors and UCI in Saturday’s final.

Long Beach is now in a group with BYU, Grand Canyon and the loser of Saturday’s MIVA title tilt between Ball State or Ohio State. All are hoping that there are no upsets and that Hawai’i beats UCI, UCLA beats Stanford in the MPSF final and that Penn State wins the EIVA championship match against Princeton.

There are five automatic bids in the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball tournament, one each for the Big West, MPSF, MIVA, EIVA and Conference Carolinas. Then there are two at large bids. 

The NCAA RPI is not the only factor, but through Friday the rankings showed UCLA at No. 1 with an NCAA RPI value of .67314, followed by Penn State (.65980), Hawai’i (.64705), Long Beach State (.63415), GCU (.60555), Ohio State (.59635), BYU (.59531), Ball State (.59280) and UCI (58998).

Edward Waters won the SIAC title on Friday but there are still six conference titles to be decided Saturday.

Want to watch a match? We have the viewing links in the TV & Streaming listings.

UCI’s Hilir Henno takes on the Long Beach State triple block/Jim Wolf photo

Big West

Top-seeded Hawai’i (27-2) vs. third-seeded UC Irvine (18-10) in Irvine.

The winner gets the Big West’s automatic NCAA bid. If UCI wins, it would be hard to imagine Hawai’i not getting one of the two at-large bids. If Hawai’i wins, UCI would be one of the strongest teams under consideration.

In the regular season, the teams played twice in Hawai’i on back-to-back nights. Hawai’i won in four on April 7 and then swept the next day.

Long Beach State’s Sotiris Siapanis gets the best of an overset/Jim Wolf photo

UCI’s Hilir Henno had 20 kills against Long Beach State, hitting .471 to go with two aces, three blocks and seven digs. Francesco Sani had eight kills, an assist, two aces, five blocks and three digs. Joe Karlous had 26 assists, two blocks and two digs. His team hit .329 and had four aces and 12 serving errors. UCI held a 12.5-5.5 blocks advantage.

Long Beach State hit an uncharacteristically low .157 and had no aces and 12 errors. Clarke Godbold had nine kills, three blocks and a dig. Sotiris Siapanis had seven kills but hit .000 and had a block and…

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