MPSF Volleyball Results, Feb. 22

Jon Predney, CUI (Photo courtesy CUI)
Jon Predney, CUI (Photo courtesy CUI)
Feb. 22, 2018

Concordia 3, Grand Canyon 0 (36-34, 25-19, 30-28)

Recap by CUI

IRVINE, Calif. - In a conference filled with rich history of men's volleyball, bolstering 16 NCAA National Championships and many All-Americans that moved on as Olympians, the MPSF has added two new teams coming into this season, Concordia and Grand Canyon. On Thursday night, the two teams squared off for the first time as conference opponents where Concordia defeated No. 12 Grand Canyon in three sets by a score of 36-34, 25-19, 30-28.

Senior Josiah Bergt made his first start of the season on the outside and made his presence known, picking up career-highs of 10 kills and six digs. Fellow senior Jonathan Predney had 12 kills and hit .393 while junior Hunter Howell had seven kills, hit .357 and had a match-high four blocks. Chandler Gibb collected a double-double with 41 assists and shared a team-high 10 digs with Jacob Weiser.

Set one was a performance of balance where neither team could gain a large advantage and both teams hit around .350. A majority of the set consisted of many ties and lead changes, but Concordia was able to jump ahead 17-15 after a 4-0 run that forced Grand Canyon into a timeout. Predney put away a kill to make it 23-21 CUI before GCU scored and Howell followed with a kill that gave Concordia set point. The Lopes did not back down, fighting off a set point to then taking a lead at 26-25. Back-to-back kills from Taylor Falduti and Raymond Barsemian gave the Eagles back set point at 28-27, but no team wanted to let down, going point for point to each team. Finally, Concordia was able to end the thrilling first set with a Falduti kill and a Grand Canyon attack error.

Down 5-4 in the second set, Concordia came from behind to take the lead using a 6-2 run consisting of kills by Predney, Gibb and Barsemian. The momentum slowly started to shift in favor of the Eagles by ways of small scoring runs that put them up 14-9. Concordia put themselves up by six, their largest lead in the set at 21-15, following a solo block from Barsemian and block assists from Bergt and Falduti. CUI powered through the end of the set using a 3-1 run that was completed with a kill from Howell.

Concordia was firing on all cylinders in set three, gunning out to a 9-5 lead. Howell and Barsemian collected kills to go up 13-9, before Grand Canyon spurred a run to come within one. From there, the Lopes were able to take the lead at 18-17. Grand Canyon maintained the lead and got to set point at 24-22, looking to extend the match. The Eagles fought off that set point and tied it following a kill from Bergt, assisted from the serving substitute of Isaiah Kaaa. Grand Canyon pulled ahead 28-27 for another opportunity to take the set. But it was Concordia who was able to put the match away, using the firepower of Falduti, Barsemian and a kill from Bergt, who ended a long rally to seal the deal.

The Eagles now have sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings following this match and brings them within one in the all-time series record against the Lopes of 5-6. Concordia is now 6-6 overall and rises to 2-3 in conference while Grand Canyon falls to 11-6 overall and 1-4 in conference. CUI continues MPSF play on Friday night where they will take a road trip to USC before returning home on Saturday night in a rematch with CSUN.