Sunday, 21 Apr 2024

Men’s Update: Collegiate Corner

The college men’s volleyball season is reaching its thrilling conclusion, and there are several individuals with ties to the U.S. Men’s National Team that we want to highlight. Let’s take a closer look at their performances and achievements in the past weeks.

UCLA Head Coach John Speraw and the Bruins

UCLA Head Coach John Speraw, who also coaches the U.S. Men’s National Team, led the Bruins into the MPSF quarterfinals. Although they faced a tough challenge against UC Irvine and lost 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22, the team showcased their talent and determination throughout the season.

Middle blocker Mitch Stahl, who had previously played in the 2015 Pan American Games, was honored with First Team All-MPSF recognition for his outstanding performance. Setter Micah Ma’a, who has trained with the Men’s National Team, received an honorable mention for his contributions to the team.

Loyola Ramblers and Middle Blocker Jeff Jendryk

Despite a loss to Ball State in the MIVA quarterfinals (17-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-23), Jeff Jendryk, a member of the U.S. Men’s Pan American Cup teams in 2015 and 2016, was named First Team All-MIVA for the second consecutive year. He is also a finalist for the Off the Block Ryan Millar Award, which recognizes the nation’s best blocker.

Long Beach State’s Pursuit of Success

Long Beach State, the top-ranked team in the AVCA, is heading to the final of the MPSF playoffs. With an impressive run, they defeated UC Irvine in the semifinals on April 20. Their journey culminates in a highly anticipated final against Hawaii on April 22.

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T.J. DeFalco, a talented outside hitter who has represented the U.S. Men’s Pan American Cup and Games teams, was rightfully awarded the title of MPSF Player of the Year and earned a spot on the First Team All-MPSF. DeFalco is also a finalist for the Off the Block Karch Kiraly Award, recognizing the nation’s top outside hitter. His teammate, Josh Tuaniga, another Pan American Cup participant, was named First Team All-MPSF and is a finalist for the Off the Block Lloy Ball Award as the best setter in the country.

BYU’s Journey

BYU’s men’s team, the second seed in the MPSF playoffs, encountered a formidable opponent in Hawaii, resulting in a 3-0 loss in the semifinals on April 20. Despite this setback, Jake Langlois, a member of the Pan American Cup teams, received recognition as he made the All-MPSF First Team. Outside hitter Brenden Sander, who also played at the Pan American Cup, earned a place on the All-MFSF second team. Ben Patch, who played on the Pan American Cup team, was recognized as an All-MPSF Honorable Mention and is a finalist for the Off the Block Bryan Ivie Award for the nation’s top opposite.

Upcoming NCAA Men’s Division I/II Volleyball Championship

Volleyball enthusiasts can look forward to the NCAA Men’s Division I/II Volleyball Championship, which will take place from May 4-6 at St. John Arena on Ohio State University’s campus in Columbus.

International Updates

Let’s also check in on some of our talented players competing overseas.

Italy

Setter Micah Christenson and Cucine Lube Civitanova have advanced to the league final after defeating middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena in the semifinal series. With a thrilling victory of 25-15, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-10, Civitanova secured their spot in the final. Christenson’s excellent performance included a crucial ace and a block, contributing to his team’s .479 hitting efficiency. Holt played an essential role for Modena, scoring five points with two kills, two blocks, and one ace. The final, scheduled to begin on April 25, will see Civitanova facing either Sir Safety Conad Pergugia or Diatec Trentino.

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Russia

Libero Erik Shoji and setter Kawika Shoji, members of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, triumphed in their first playoff match against Nova Novokuybyshevsk, winning 25-17, 19-25, 25-19, 25-15 on April 20. Erik Shoji showcased his exceptional receiving skills, with a 63% positive reception rate. Kawika Shoji provided solid support with a point from a kill and contributed to the team’s impressive .484 hitting efficiency. The teams will face each other again on April 23.

Poland

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Asseco Resovia Rzeszów are currently battling Jastrzębski Węgiel for third place in the playoffs. In their recent matchup on April 18, Węgiel secured a victory of 25-21, 34-32, 24-26, 25-21. Jaeschke played a pivotal role, scoring 17 points with 15 kills, one block, and one ace. Additionally, he displayed his reliable receiving skills, with a 50% positive reception rate. The teams will clash once again on April 23.

France

Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Chaumont are preparing to face GFC Ajaccio VB in the league semifinals, commencing on April 22. Ajaccio advanced to the semis after defeating middle blocker Russell Holmes and Paris Volley 2-1 in the quarterfinals. In their thrilling third match, Ajaccio emerged victorious with a score of 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 15-11. Holmes put up an impressive performance, contributing 14 points with six blocks and eight kills. Meanwhile, Chaumont recently lost in the final of the CEV Challenge Cup to Russia’s Fakel Novy Urengoy by a score of 21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18. McDonnell played the first three sets, scoring a point with a block.

Greece

Outside hitter Greg Petty and Pamvohaikos concluded their season after a tough loss to Olympiacos in the playoff semifinals. In their final match on April 18, Pamvohaikos fought hard but ultimately fell 25-19, 25-23, 25-20. Petty displayed his skills, contributing 10 points with five kills, two blocks, and three aces. He also showcased his reliable reception skills with a positive rate of 52%.

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Turkey

Middle blocker David Lee and Ziraat Bankasi are currently tied 1-1 in a playoff series against Halkbank. In their previous match on April 14, Bankasi secured a hard-fought victory of 25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 15-12. Lee played a crucial role, scoring eight points with four kills, two blocks, and two aces. However, Halkbank bounced back and won the following match on April 18 by a score of 25-22, 25-14, 25-18. Lee contributed two points with a kill and a block. The teams are set to face off once again on April 21.

FAQs

  1. What is the MPSF?
    The MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) is a collegiate men’s volleyball conference that features top-ranked teams from universities across the United States.

  2. What is the Off the Block Karch Kiraly Award?
    The Off the Block Karch Kiraly Award is an accolade presented to the best outside hitter in men’s collegiate volleyball.

  3. When and where is the NCAA Men’s Division I/II Volleyball Championship?
    The championship is set to take place from May 4-6 at St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus.

Conclusion

The collegiate men’s volleyball season continues to captivate fans with its intense competition and remarkable performances. We have highlighted the achievements of players representing the U.S. Men’s National Team, as well as their endeavors in international leagues. Stay tuned for more updates as these talented athletes continue to showcase their skills both domestically and overseas.

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