Home court advantage brought No. 1 Long Beach State and No. 13 Ball State the final push they needed in five-set wins Friday night. No. 7 Hawaii cruised at home, snapping a four-match skid, while No. 11 Cal State Northridge held home court in a four-setter.
#1 Long Beach State def. #4 UC Irvine 3-2 (22-25, 25-15, 25-16, 21-25, 15-9)
- Long Beach State moves to 20-0, 5-0 Big West; UC Irvine falls to 17-6, 3-2 Big West
- Long Beach, California
- Box Score
- UCI Recap / LBSU Recap
Key Statistics: Long Beach notched its third straight 20-win season, edging No. 4 UC Irvine with help from a .500 hitting effort in the final stanza. For the match, the 49ers outhit the Anteaters .281 to .197, posting three .350-plus efforts. LBSU also outdid UCI in kills (57-49) and aces (9-3). The Anteaters edged the 49ers 8.5 to 8 in blocks.
Stat Leaders: Junior outside TJ DeFalco piled up 22 kills, five blocks and five aces in the win for LBSU. Junior opposite Kyle Ensing also reached double-digit kills with 13 to go with eight digs and an ace. Freshman middle Simon Anderson and redshirt junior middle Nick Amado chipped in seven putdowns apiece. Junior setter Josh Tuaniga notched a 48-assist, 11 dig double-double to go with four kills of his own and two aces.
Senior outside Aaron Koubi answered with a career-high 21 putaways and junior opposite Karl Apfelbach (10) and sophomore middle Scott Stadick (9) followed for UCI, but it was not enough. Koubi hit at a team-high .410 clip and added nine digs, three blocks and an ace. Stadick put up at a team-leading five stuffs, while Apfelbach added three, but hit just .065 for the match.
It Was Over When: LBSU outhit UCI .500 to .167 in the decisive fifth set. The 49ers raced out to an 8-4 lead with help from three putaways and an ace by DeFalco and three Anteater errors. UC Irvine never got closer than three the rest of the way. Leading just 9-6 after two Koubi kills, Long Beach State wrapped up the match with seven of the final 10 points.
#7 Hawaii def. UC San Diego (RV) 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-19)
- Hawaii moves to 14-6, 2-3 Big West; UC San Diego falls to 9-13, 0-5 Big West
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Box Score
- UCSD Recap / Hawaii Recap
Key Statistics: Seven aces kept UCSD off balance and a 40-27 edge in kills and more efficient offense lifted Hawaii to the sweep and snapped the team’s four-match losing skid. The Rainbow Warriors outhit the Tritons .267 to .125 and outserved them 7-1. UC San Diego boasted a 9-8 edge in kills. After a slow start, hitting just .108 in the opening stanza, Hawaii made just eight errors the rest of the way, hitting .417 and .360 to wrap up the night.
Stat Leaders: Junior outside Stijn van Tilburg and sophomore opposite Rado Parapunov posted double-digit kill efforts with 11 and 10 to pace the Hawaii offense. Junior middle Dalton Solbrig followed with seven putaways on a team-best .778 hitting effort (7-0-9). Van Tilburg also accounted for seven digs and two aces, while Parapunov notched two stuffs. Redshirt sophomore middle Patrick Gasman turned in five kills and a team-leading five blocks.
After a two-match layoff due to injury, senior opposite Tanner Syftestad was back on top for the Tritons, posting a match-high 12 kills on a team-best .308 hitting effort. Senior setter Milosh Stojcic also was back on the court after missing three matches. Freshman outside Wyatt Harrison and senior middle Alec Flowers were the nearest help from Syftestad with four kills apiece. Flowers also chipped in five blocks, while sophomore setter Connor Walbrecht added four stuffs.
It Was Over When: Hawaii burst out to a 15-7 lead in Set 3 behind three kills and a block by van Tilburg and putaways by four other players. After the media timeout the teams split the next 10 points, leading to a 20-12 score. Two Harrison kills and a stuff by Flowers and Syftestad cut the margin to five at 20-15. The Rainbow Warriors countered with four of the next five to earn a match-point try at 24-16. The Tritons thwarted three attempts with a block, a service error and setting miscue, but Parapunov sealed the 25-19 win.
#10 Cal State Northridge def. #11 UC Santa Barbara 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-23)
- Cal State Northridge moves to 13-7, 3-2 Big West; UCSB falls to 9-8, 2-3 Big West
- Northridge, California
- Box Score
- UC Santa Barbara Recap / Cal State Northridge Recap
Key Statistics: Only a few points separated the Matadors and Gauchos in the match and the statistics reflected that. Cal State Northridge owned a .218 to .212 lead in hitting efficiency and a 6-5 edge in aces. UC Santa Barbara outdid Northridge 44-42 in kills and 12-11 in blocks. Both teams had one negative hitting effort with CSUN hitting -.040 in the opener and UCSB notching a -.125 effort in Set 3. Northridge won Set 4 despite being outhit .385 to .233.
Stat Leaders: Senior opposite Arvis Greene racked up a match-high 17 kills to guide Cal State Northridge. Junior outside Dimitar Kalchev (7), freshman outside Maciej Ptaszynski (6), senior middle Josiah Byers (6) and junior middle Eric Chance (5) followed. Byers hit at a team-high .400 clip and chipped in a team-leading five blocks. Chance and Porter put up four blocks apiece, while Ptaszynski served up two aces alongside junior setter Schylar Lillethorup.
Junior outside Corey Chavers downed 13 kills, while redshirt freshman middle Jack Truman (8), sophomore setter Randy DeWeese (7) and sophomore opposite Keenan Sanders (7) rounded out the offense. DeWeese hit .600 and dished out 32 assists, put up seven blocks and served up two aces.
It Was Over When: UCSB boasted the early lead in Set 4, going up 7-3 with a block and an ace by Connor Drake and a kill and a block by Sanders. The Gauchos led by four at 10-6, but Cal State Northridge chipped away into a 11-all tie with three putaways and a block by Greene. Down 14-12, the Matadors scored four straight, including back by back Lillethorup aces, to go up 16-14 and take a lead they would not relinquish. Trailing 19-16, UCSB did not go away, using two Drake stuffs to tie it up at 20. Two Greene kills and two Gaucho miscues put Northridge on the hill at 24-22, before another Greene putdown ended the night two points later.
#13 Ball State def. Lindenwood 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-18, 21-19)
- Ball State moves to 14-11, 7-4 MIVA; Lindenwood falls to 8-13, 2-9 MIVA
- Muncie, Indiana
- Box Score
- Lindenwood Recap / Ball State Recap
Key Statistics: A 64-47 advantage in kills was all Ball State needed to lift the team past Lindenwood in a close five-setter. The Cardinals also outhit the Lions .179 to .127, but trailed the visitors 7-6 in aces and 13-11 in blocks. It was an inconsistent offensive night for both squads and BSU won the decisive fifth set despite being outhit .200 to .175.
Stat Leaders: Senior middle Matt Walsh, sophomore outside Matt Szews and freshman outside Ben Chinnici notched double-digit kill tallies to pace the Cardinals. Walsh posted 14 kills on a team-high .423 clip and put up four blocks, while Szews rounded out a double-double with a team-best 13 digs. Chinnici chipped in seven digs and two aces. Junior middle Parker Swartz registered a team-leading five blocks and seven kills, while senior outside Mitch Weiler added eight kills, 13 digs and four blocks.
Sophomore middle Sam Schindler put together a 13-kills, 10-block double-double, while hitting at a .650 clip (13-0-20) and adding two aces. Sophomore outside Nick Stevenson chipped in 10 kills and seven digs, while junior middle Connor Hipelius (7), senior outside Nathan Van Dellen (7) and sophomore outside Michael Jennings (6) rounded out the offense. Van Dellen served up four of the team’s seven aces. Junior setter Adam Brewster notched a 40-assist, 19-dig double-double.
It Was Over When: Ball State built an 11-8 lead in Set 5, but the match was far from over. Six Cardinal points came on Lion miscues, while Walsh added two kills and a block. BSU had its first match point try at 14-12. Lindenwood called timeout and got a stuff from Schindler and Brewster and Stevenson kill out of the break to tie it up. The Lions thwarted three more Ball State match-point tries and earned two of their own at 18-17 and 19-18, but couldn’t complete the comeback. Kills by Ryan Dorgan and Chinnici and a stuff by Jake Romano and Swartz ended the night.