Hawai’i and Lindenwood both ended the Grow the Game Challenge at 3-0 with victories on Sunday, defeating No. 14 Grand Canyon and vote-getter Barton respectively. The Rainbow Warriors moved to 6-0 on the year with an offense showing in a sweep, while GCU used a strong service and blocking game to get past Barton to go 3-0 on the year.
Across the country in California, No. 2 UC Irvine picked up a key road victory with a four-set win over No. 11 Pepperdine, behind the play of VolleyMob Player of the Week Karl Apfelbach.
Lindenwood def. Barton (RV) 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-13)
- Lindenwood moves to 3-0; Barton falls to 0-3
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Lindenwood Recap / Barton Recap
- Box Score
Key Statistics: Lindenwood served up nine aces and bested Barton 10-5 on the block en route to the sweep Sunday afternoon and the Grow the Game Challenge title. The Lions also outdid the Bulldogs 38-27 in kills and .262 to .152 in hitting percentage. Lindenwood got more efficient as the match went on, wrapping up the win with a .391 effort in Set 3, while holding Barton to a .100 effort.
Statistical Leaders: Sophomore opposite Charley Hlavin and senior outside Nathan Van Dellen paced Lindenwood with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Hlavin hit at a .409 clip, while Van Dellen hit .286 and added five blocks and two aces. Junior middle Connor Hipelius put up a team-best six stuffs and served up four aces.
Sophomore right side Angelos Mandilaris put down 11 kills to lead the way for Barton, while also accounting for a team-high three blocks. Junior outside Aleksa Brkovic chipped in seven kills and a team-best six digs.
It Was Over When: Lindenwood jumped out to a 15-4 lead in Set 3, including three Hipelius aces and four kills and an ace by Hlavin. Barton would get no closer than nine the rest of the stanza. Van Dellen notched two kills and a block and Hipelius added two putaways as the Lions reached match point at 24-11. A service error and Madilaris kill kept things going, but a service error gave Lindenwood the final point.
#7 Hawai’i def. #14 Grand Canyon 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-20)
- Hawai’i moves to 6-0; Grand Canyon falls to 5-1
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Hawai’i Recap / Grand Canyon Recap
- Box Score
Key Statistics: Hawai’i used a balanced and efficient offense to make its way past Grand Canyon on Sunday, hitting at a .409 clip, including a .517 effort in the final stanza, while four players notched seven or more kills.
The Rainbow Warriors outdid GCU in kills (47-36) and blocks (8-7), but the Lopes outserved Hawai’i 3-1.
Stat Leaders: Junior outside hitter Stijn van Tilburg downed a match-high 14 kills at a .407 clip, while sophomore opposite Rado Parapunov followed with 10 kills, a team-best five blocks and five digs. Junior middle blocker Dalton Solbrig (8) and junior outside Brett Rosenmeier (7) also contributed to the offense. Solbrig hit at a team-high .667 clip (8-0-12) and also notched five blocks.
Senior outside Shalev Saada was tops among the Lopes with 12 kills, followed by sophomore middle Caleb Blazer (7) and redshirt senior middle Ashton King (6), who each hit over .500 for the match (.545 and .556 respectively). King put up a team-best four blocks.
It Was Over When: After trading points to the midway point of Set 3, the score stood at 17-16 Hawai’i. The Rainbow Warriors broke away with a 5-1 run, including kills by redshirt sophomore middle Patrick Gasman, Rosenmeier and junior setter Joe Worsley, to go up 22-17. Senior outside Luke Turner cut the margin to three at 23-20 with a trio of kills, but another Worsley kill and a hitting error clinched Hawai’i the 25-20 victory and the sweep.
#2 UC Irvine def. #11 Pepperdine 3-1 (25-21, 15-25, 25-19, 29-27)
- UC Irvine moves to 4-1; Pepperdine falls to 1-1
- Malibu, California
- UC Irvine Recap / Pepperdine Recap
- Box Score
Key Statistics: UC Irvine outhit Pepperdine .281 to .226 and outblocked the Waves 10.5 to 7 in the match, which allowed the Anteaters to overcome an 8-1 deficit in aces.
Stat Leaders: Junior opposite Karl Apfelbach notched a match-high 19 kills and four blocks for UCI, while senior outside Aaron Koubi added 10 putaways and eight digs. Sophomore middle Scott Stadick and freshman outside JB Kam chipped in eight kills apiece. Stadick hit at a team-high .538 clip, with just one error in 13 swings, and put up five blocks. Sophomore middle Matthew Younggren also managed five stuffs.
Senior outsides Alex Harthaller (18) and Colby Harriman (14) led the way for Pepperdine with double-digit kill efforts. Harthaller also served up five aces and added seven digs, while hitting at a .317 clip. Senior opposite Clay Carr and redshirt sophomore middle Jack Cole chipped in seven kills, while Carr and sophomore outside Noah Dyer paced the team at the net with four blocks apiece.
It Was Over When: UC Irvine boasted an 8-4 lead in Set 4, but Pepperdine chipped away, eventually knotting the score at 12 with a pair of Harriman kills. The teams tied six more times, last at 20-all, before the Waves built their largest lead at 23-20. A pair of UCI hitting errors helped Pepperdine to the advantage. The Anteaters called timeout and scored three straight, including two Younggren blocks. A service error made it 24-23 Waves, giving the squad its first of four set-point tries. UCI answered each Pepperdine point and down 27-26 eventually broke through with three straight to take the win. A kill and a block by Stadick set up the final point, which came on Wave hitting miscue.