Monday, 4 March 2024

International Volleyball

UCLA bounces back against Long Beach; Orlando tops Vegas in Pro Volleyball

UCLA bounces back against Long Beach; Orlando tops Vegas in Pro Volleyball

Long Beach State’s Clark Godbold hits against the UCLA block, from left, of Alex Knight, Guy Genis and Ido David/Andy J. Gordon photo

Top-ranked Long Beach State is no longer unbeaten.

A day after beating No. 4 UCLA at home, the Beach went to Westwood and left on the short end of a 29-27, 27-29, 25-19, 25-20 outcome. It left idle No. 2 Grand Canyon (9-0) as the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball. 

There were more surprises in the men’s game again as Sacred Heart pulled off a wild reverse sweep and dealt No. 10 Princeton its second upset in as many days, Harvard beat Lincoln Memorial, No. 11. Ball State bounced back — barely — and No. 17 UC Santa Barbara lost for the fourth time in five matches.

Both the Orlando Valkries and Vegas Thrill are 1-1 after the Valkries won their Pro Volleyball Federation match Saturday in four sets.

The recaps and top performances follow and, it’s worth noting, Super Bowl Sunday is a volleyball-free day. 

For that matter, the next men’s matches are Tuesday, seven in all, involving only Conference Carolinas, SIAC or independent teams. 

The Pro Volleyball Federation is off Sunday, too, but comes back with two matches on the same day for the first time when the Orlando Valkries go to the Atlanta Vibe and Omaha Supernovas play at the Grand Rapids Rise on Monday. It’s also the first time two PVF teams will compete for the same 7 p.m. Eastern YouTube audience at the same time.

UCLA players look on as Long Beach’s Aidan Knipe tries to make the save/Jim Wolf photo

NCAA men

The MPSF went three-for-three against the Big West on Saturday and 5-0 overall for the day.

UCLA (9-3) of the MPSF drew more than 3,300 to Pauley Pavilion for its rematch with Long Beach State (10-1) of the Big West. Grant Sloane led with 16 kills, hitting .583, to go with an ace, five digs and two blocks, one solo. Alex Knight had 14 kills, hit .345, and had an assist and two digs. Cooper Robinson had 10 kills, an ace, three blocks and five digs. Merrick McHenry had 10 kills, hit .444, and had an ace, seven digs and five blocks, one solo. The solo was his 45th, putting him at the top of the UCLA all-time list, one more than Garrett Muagututia, a USA national-team member who played at UCLA from 2007-10.

The Bruins, who hit .301 and had six aces and 18 errors, saw Andrew Rowan get 59 assists. He had a kill, an ace, three blocks and four digs. Ethan Champlin, playing libero, had 17 digs — most by a UCLA player since 2016 — and…

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