International Volleyball

Volleyball today: Long Beach-UCI showdown; UCLA clinches; Rise win; USA sitting silver

Volleyball today: Long Beach-UCI showdown; UCLA clinches; Rise win; USA sitting silver

Grand Canyonโ€™s Cameron Thorne against the Pepperdine block of Ethan Watson/Rachel Sollazzo photo

A Big West title and top seeding in the NCAA tournament are on the line when top-ranked Long Beach State and No. 4 UC Irvine play back to back matches Friday and Saturday. The first match is at UCI and then Saturday they head to Long Beachโ€™s Pyramid. Long Beach (22-1, 6-0) hold a two-game lead in the loss column over the Anteaters (17-8, 6-2), who have to win both matches to force a tie.

Itโ€™s just one of many on a busy slate in NCAA Division I-II menโ€™s volleyball as the regular season winds down.

In the Pro Volleyball Federation, the Grand Rapids Rise swept the Orlando Valkyries on Thursday. Friday, the San Diego Mojo go to the Columbus Fury.

There was an NCAA Divisioni I womenโ€™s coaching hire and the USA men took a tough loss at the World ParaVolley Sitting Olympics qualifier.

NCAA men

Lees-McRae won! More on that follows.

Also in the Big West, fifth-ranked Hawaiโ€™i plays at UC San Diego and No. 14 CSUN goes to UC Santa Barbara.ย 

Penn State can win the EIVA at home when the No 8 Nittany Lions (19-6, 8-0) play back to back matches against No. 16 and second-place George Mason (17-7, 6-2). Penn State has won six in a row and George Mason 11. Also in the EIVA, No 17 Princeton is home for Charleston and NJIT is at Harvard.ย 

The MPSF has two matches. Third-ranked Grand Canyon, which swept No. 9 Pepperdine on Thursday, is home for the Waves again. Seventh-ranked Stanford is home for No. 13 USC.

The Independent Volleyball Association (IVA)ย tournament begins at St. Thomas in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. Lincoln Memorial, going for its fifth IVA crown in a row, is the top seed and plays No. 4 Tusculum after second-seeded Maryville plays the home team.ย 

The three SIAC matches show Fort Valley State at Edward Waters, Morehouse at Benedict and Kentucky State at Central State.

In the NEC, FDU and Sacred Heart are tied atop the league at 11-3, a game up on Saint Francis (PA). FDU plays at SFU, while Sacred Heart goes to Dโ€™Youville. Merrimack is at Daemen.

The MIVA tournament starts Saturday and the Conference Carolinas tournament begins Tuesday.ย 

THURSDAY: No. 2 UCLA (21-4, 11-1) hit .515 and swept at Concordia Irvine ( 6-17, 0-11) to not only maintain its 1.5-game lead over GCU, but clinch the conference regular-season title. UCLA, which has won 10 in a row, got 12 kills from Ethan Champlin, who had two errors in 22 attacks, an ace, an assist, a block and five digs in…

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