My indoor volleyball picture for today not taken by me. Go UC Irvine Anteaters!
UC Irvine’s Scott Kevorken (11) and Zack La Cavera (17) defend against a shot by by Loyola Chicago’s Thomas Jaeschke in the third set of the Anteaters’ sweep of the Ramblers, 26-24, 25-18, 29-27. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press / May 2, 2013)
spiker2: just tweeted my reaction to byu defeating penn st in 3 sets, i think that the match is gonna very loud with extra byu and uci fans, meet up with me this saturday at ucla, 5 pm, match is at 6 pm
spiker2 and TPoutsidehitter: penn st still hanging in but byu is coming back strong, hope the penn st and loyola visitors are enjoying the sunny l.a. weather
spiker2: one thing about byu…they have fans everywhere and get this - right now they’re tweetin on ncaachampionships.com…they’re just like everyone else when they’re tweetin - no manners and being cocky
rice cakes and spker2: another reason why I love to cheer against byu especially their volleyball teams - their loyal fans and a good number of them behave like eagles and raiders fans
spiker2 and dougIPlayMiddle: wow that byu team is on a roll and hitting .383 as a team
This BYU men’s volleyball team is loose, confident, on a scoring spree, blocking like crazy. Can they be stopped? Anything can happen and Penn St may win the match. Match is not over but the first set is almost over.
Rainbow Spiker2: second vball match just started between Penn St vs BYU. I’ll tweet/tumble my order of what I wanna eat. ;-) Let’s post and watch this match. I’m pickin’ BYU to win.
Rainbow Spikers: wanna meet up this Saturday at UCLA to watch the men’s final in volleyball? Anyway the first semi-final is over. Here is what Bev Oden sent out yesterday.
NCAA Men: Final Four Teams Set
By Beverly Oden, About.com GuideMay 1, 2013
After a weekend of epic conference tournament matches, it is clear that this year’s field of men’s volleyball teams is intensely competitive. No. 1 BYU was the clear favorite and last week I said there was a decent chance they’d get upset in the MPSF Conference tournament. I was wrong about that, but it was close. The Cougars went five sets with No. 8 Hawaii in the MPSF quarterfinals. In the semi against UCLA they lost the first two sets and the Bruins were leading 7-1 before BYU turned it around and took the match in five. Both of those matches could have gone either way.
The final was the only three set match of the weekend as BYU took down Long Beach State. But it was certainly not an easy win. Long Beach was playing very steady, leading for most of the first two sets and hanging with BYU even when they were playing their best. But BYU always managed to catch up and finish the set the way only a championship-caliber team can. That kind of solid play bodes well for BYU’s chances to win the school’s first title since 2004. But this Final Four will be no cakewalk.
UCI received the at-large bid and earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Though they lost to Long Beach State in a thrilling five set match that ended at 22-20 in the fifth. Though they lost both regular season matches to BYU in four and five sets, the last time the two met was in early March. A lot has changed since then and UCI has a chance to knock the Cougars off and become the first team to win back-to-back national titles since UCLA pulled it off in 1995 and 1996.
UCI will meet MIVA champs Loyola Chicago, a team making its first ever appearance in the NCAA semifinals. Loyola beat Lewis, the midwest favorite in another back and forth five set match but ran away with set five behind the play of Joseph Smalzer, the MIVA Conference Player of the Year who was also named the Most Outstanding Player in the conference tournament. This should be an interesting match. These two teams will meet for the first time this season so we should see an interesting match up that both teams have to figure out as they go.
Penn State easily won its EIVA Conference tournament by beating both Princeton and Harvard in three sets each. The Nittany Lions aren’t as strong this year as they have been in previous seasons, but they are obviously playing well right now and feeling good about the way they disposed of their conference opponents as they head into the semis against No. 1 BYU. I don’t think the Nittany Lions have what it takes to compete with a team like BYU, but that’s not to say they can’t win. It would be the upset of the century if they did though.
The matches begin this Thursday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Saturday’s final will air live on ESPNU.
Matches to Watch:
Thursday, May 2nd
All Matches Held at UCLA
6 PM - No. 2 UCI vs. No. 3 Loyola-Chicago
8 PM - No. 1 BYU vs. No. 4 Penn State http://volleyball.about.com/b/2013/05/01/ncaa-men-final-four-teams-set.htm?nl=1
Rice Cakes, Rainbow Spikers and Coffee Fix: Here’s a suggestion from Bev Oden’s About.com weekly article:
TP: from the archives - this is my volleyball picture for today. BYU players celebrate a point in a match against Hawaii during the quarterfinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Volleyball Championship Tournament at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo on Saturday April 20, 2013. SARAH WEISER/Daily Herald
Rob1 and Rice Cakes2: watching Loyola and UCI in men’s volleyball at New UCLA Pauley Pavilion…the volleyball court looks good. UCI is on their way to a sweep.
TonyTheOutsideHitter: One of these days when I play indoor volleyball I’m gonna jump above the net just like Collin Mehring.
-UC Irvine’s Collin Mehring guides a shot past the block of Pepperdine defenders in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match this season. (ucirvinesports.com)
RTfromIL: i’m gonna go with UCI to be repeat NCAA Men’s Volleyball champions. Remember back in the day when they were the easy team to beat?
UC Irvine Battles Loyola At NCAA Championship Thursday
THIS WEEK - NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Semifinal No. 1
No. 3 Loyola-Chicago vs No. 2 UC Irvine · Thursday, May 2 · 6:00 p.m. PT · Pauley Pavilion
NO. 2 SEED UC IRVINE BATTLES NO. 3 LOYOLA-CHICAGO IN NCAA SEMIFINAL: UC Irvine, the second seed, will battle third-seeded Loyola-Chicago Thursday (May. 2) at 6:00 p.m. PT at Pauley Pavilion in a semifinal match of the NCAA Championship.
The match will be streamed live on NCAA.com
No. 1 BYU will meet No. 4 Penn State in the second semifinal at 8:00 p.m. PT
Thursday’s winners advance to the NCAA Championship Saturday (May 4) at 6:00 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU.
VS THE RAMBLERS: UCI trails the series with the Ramblers, 3-2 with Loyola wining the first three meetings and UCI winning the last two. The teams last met on Mar. 4, 2009 when the Anteaters swept the Ramblers, 3-0.
ABOUT LOYOLA: Loyola is ranked 12th nationally and is 22-9 overall. The Ramblers won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association with a 3-2 victory over Lewis.
Loyola, who is making its first NCAA appearance, has won three straight matches and 12 of the last 13 outings.
Joseph Smalzer leads the nation in service aces with a 0.67 mark.
AGAINST THE REST OF THE FIELD: UCI trails BYU (40-11), but leads Penn State (6-3). BYU beat the Anteaters twice this season, while UCI won the lone contest against the Nittany Lions.
UCI has met Penn State three times in NCAA Championship action. No. 4 seed Penn State upended the No. 1 seed Anteaters, 3-2 on May 4, 2006 at Penn State then No. 2 UCI beat No. 3 PSU, 3-1 on May 3, 2007 at Ohio State on their way to capturing their first national championship. The No. 1 Anteaters defeated No. 4 Penn State, 3-1 last year (May 3) in a semifinal match at the Galen Center.
PUTTING THE BALL AWAY: The first semifinal features the nation’s top two teams in kills. Loyola leads the country with a 12.95 average followed by the Anteaters at 12.88.
AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: UCI is 6-1 in four previous NCAA appearances.
UCI has been the No. 1 seed for the tournament three times (2006, 2009, 2012) and the second seed on two occasions (2007, 2013).
UCI has won three of the last six titles, capturing the crown in 2007, 2009 and 2012.
DEFENDING THE TITLE: UCI won the 2012 national championship with a 3-0 victory over USC at the Galen Center. UCI looks to be the first school to win back-to-back championships since UCLA did it in 1995 and 1996.
FOLLOWING THE TOURNAMENT: Thursday’s match will be broadcast by KUCI 88.9 FM on an internet-only basis with Robert Espero calling the action. Fans can access the broadcast under the multimedia tab at www.ucirvinesports.com
ON THE RECORD: UCI is 23-7 overall, winning six of the last seven matches.
The Anteaters ended the regular season tied with Long Beach State for second place in the MPSF standings with an 18-6 mark. UCI held the second place tiebreaker due to beating the Forty-Niners twice this season in league play and were awarded the No. 2 seed.
The Anteaters’ 23 wins this year are fifth most in a season, while the 18 league wins were third. The 23 wins are third most in the country this year.
BREAKING IT DOWN: UCI is 12-4 at home, 8-3 on the road and 3-1 on neutral courts this season. The Anteaters are 12-1 in three sets matches, 4-3 in four games and 7-3 when going five.
AT PAULEY PAVILION: The Anteaters have played one match this year at the new Pauley Pavilion, defeating UCLA, 3-2.
YOUNG PUPS: Sophomore opposite Zack La Cavera and redshirt freshman outside hitter Kyle Russell have stepped in to make an impact this year. In the last six matches, the underclassmen have each led the team in kills twice, including a career-high 19 kills for La Cavera against UC Santa Barbara and a career-best 17 kills for Rusell against Long Beach State. La Cavera is third on the team in kills with a 2.82 average, while Russell is fourth at 2.22 kills per set.
Middle blocker Collin Mehring was named to the second team, his first All-American honor.
Since 1997, UC Irvine has received 27 All-American selections.
NCAA STATISTICS: Collin Mehring is ranked sixth nationally in blocking (1.29), while Michael Brinkley is ranked 10th in the country in digs per set (2.47). Kevin Tillie is 11th in kills (3.74), 12th in points (4.36), 15th in hitting percentage (.338) and 19th in aces (0.33).
As a team, UCI is second in the country in kills (12.88) and assists (12.08), fourth in hitting percentage (.305) and sixth in blocks (2.68).
AMONG THE MPSF: In the MPSF, UCI leads the league in opponent hitting percentage (.240). They are also second in kills (12.88), third in hitting percentage and fourth in assists, blocks and aces (1.15).
Mehring leads the MPSF in hitting percentage with a .484 mark followed by Kevorken at .483. Mehring is fourth in blocks and Brinkley ranks second in digs. Tillie is ninth in kills, points and aces (0.33) and 15th in digs (1.72).
FROM THE SERVICE LINE: UCI has recorded more aces than the opponent in all but three matches this year.
The Anteaters have fired five or more aces in 13 matches this season, including a season-high nine versus BYU on Mar. 9. Kevin Tillie leads the squad with 33 aces.
IN THE RANKINGS: With no new polls being released until after the NCAA Championship, UC Irvine remained No. 3 in the AVCA Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the Volleyball Magazine Poll. The Anteaters have been ranked in the nation’s top 15 for 136 consecutive weeks.
The Anteaters have been ranked No. 1 in six different years (2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013). UCI was the top-ranked team for seven weeks this season and have held the No. 1 spot for 34 weeks overall.
BRINKLEY SCOOPING ‘EM UP: Sophomore libero Michael Brinkley has 277 digs this season which is fourth most in the UCI season record book. He is four shy of Brent Asuka’s third place mark of 281 (2009) and second place record of 307 (2008). Asuka holds the school record with 331 set in 2006. Brinkley is 17th in UCI career digs (476).
MEHRING IN THE MIDDLE: After playing in just two career matches prior to this season, Collin Mehring has established himself as one of the best middle blockers in the country. In his first start of the season, the junior tied a UCI school record, hitting a perfect 1.000 (11-0-11) against Cal Baptist at the UCSB Invitational where he was named the MVP. He also set a school record for block assists with 14 against BYU on Mar. 1. He garnered second-team All-American and second team All-MPSF this season.
OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER: UCI has several option when it comes to the offensive attack. Seven different players average over 1.50 kills per set. All-American Kevin Tillie leads the squad with a 3.74 kill average followed by Jeremy Dejno (2.94), Zack La Cavera (2.82) and Kyle Russell (2.22). Connor Hughes, who has played both outside hitter and opposite hitter, averages 1.80 kills per outing. The middle attack features Collin Mehring (1.70) and Scott Kevorken (1.58).
FOUR EARN ALL-MPSF: Outside hitter Kevin Tillie and libero Michael Brinkley were named All-MPSF first team, while middle blockers Collin Mehring and Scott Kevorken were named to the second team. It is Tillie’s second consecutive first team honor. It is the first league honor for Brinkley and Mehring. Kevorken was named to the All-Freshman team in 2011.
MPSF TOURNAMENT RECAP: UCI dropped a 3-2 decision against Long Beach State in the MPSF semifinals held in Provo, UT. It was the first time in the MPSF post-season that UCI has lost a five set match (7-1).
The Anteaters were serving for match point twice and fought off nine match points in the final set.
Freshman Kyle Russell came off the bench to record a career and team-high 17 kills and 14 digs. Opposite Zack La Cavera added 14 kills and five digs. Collin Mehring recorded 11 kills and seven blocks, and setter Chris Austin had a season-high 56 set assists, seven digs and three total blocks.
UCI had to rally and win the final two sets to defeat UC Santa Barbara, 3-2 in a quarterfinal match at home.
Zack La Cavera posted a career-high 19 kills to lead the Anteaters. Kevin Tillie added 15 kills, while Jeremy Dejno came off the bench to spark UCI with seven kills and no errors in 12 attempts in the final three sets. Collin Mehring came off the bench to add a match-high seven block assists.
Mehring was selected to the MPSF All-Tournament team.
RT and Rhino: this is the kinda shot I woulda taken if I had the opportunity to watch BYU Cougars during today’s practice at UCLA. This picture taken from this press release which has vball tourney information - http://byucougars.com/m-volleyball/ncaa-tournament-central-2013