'Lopes, Eagles Tied in Race for QF Home Court

Ashton King, Grand Canyon (Photo courtesy GCU)
Ashton King, Grand Canyon (Photo courtesy GCU)
March 26, 2018

MPSF Volleyball Release 12

ASHTON KING OF GRAND CANYON MPSF/MOLTEN OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Grand Canyon senior middle blocker Ashton King (Northridge, CA/U. of Pacific) was near perfect in the four-set win over No. 14 Concordia (Mar. 23). With playoff seeding implications, King notched 13 kills on 14 attempts for an .857 hitting clip, with his lone error coming in the fourth set. He responded to the error with back-to-back kills, giving the Lopes a lead they would not relinquish. King was also error-free from the service line in 15 attempts. He added three digs and five blocks, one of which was solo. This is the first career MPSF honor for King. Others Nominated: Hunter Howell (CUI)…

WILL SCHWOB OF GRAND CANYON MPSF/MOLTEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Grand Canyon junior opposite Will Schwob (Annapolis, MD/Broadneck HS) was all over the court in the win over No. 14 Concordia (Mar. 23). In a match with MPSF Playoff seeding implications, he set a career-high in digs with 14 for his fifth 10-plus dig performance of the year. He had no reception errors and helped quell the Eagles attack. Schwob added eight kills, just two shy of his third double-double of the year, and teamed up for three blocks on the night. This is the first career MPSF honor for Schwob. Others Nominated: Hunter Howell (CUI)…

‘LOPES, EAGLES TIED IN BATTLE FOR FINAL QF HOME COURT

No. 13 GRAND CANYON (3-6 MPSF/16-8 Overall) won a key home match this past Friday (Mar. 23) over Concordia in four sets. The win put the ‘Lopes in a fourth-place tie with the Eagles with three to play in the MPSF. The fourth-place finisher will host an MPSF Quarterfinal match on April 14. Ashton King was near perfect in the win, notching 13 kills on 14 attempts for an .857 hitting clip. Will Schwob collected a career-high 14 digs, his fifth double-digit dig effort of the year, to go along with eight kills. Grand Canyon travels to Stanford (Mar. 29) and No. 2 BYU (Mar. 31) this week.

No. 14 CONCORDIA (3-6 MPSF/12-13 Overall) won a pair of four-set non-conference matches in Surprise, AZ this past Saturday (Mar. 24), defeating Benadictine and the host Ottawa. Addison Enriques collected a 2018 MPSF season-high tying 17 digs vs. Ottawa. Hunter Howell hit .487 (22-2-41) over 11 sets for the week, while collecting 16 blocks (5 solo). In spite of the loss at Grand Canyon, the Eagles enter the week leading the race for the final MPSF Quarterfinal home court, by virtue of winning four of seven sets vs. the Antelopes. CUI travels to BYU (Mar. 29) and Stanford (Mar. 31) this week.

USC (2-6 MPSF/6-16 Overall) dropped a three-set home match to No. 4 UC Irvine this past Saturday (Mar. 24), as Ryan Moss had a team-high nine kills. The Trojans are one-half match back of Concordia and Grand Canyon in the race to earn a home match for the MPSF Quarterfinals. USC hosts Pepperdine Thursday (Mar. 29) and UCLA Saturday (Mar. 31, 7 pm; Pac-12 Networks) this week.

No. 2 BYU (8-0 MPSF/18-4 Overall) following a bye week, is at home against Concordia (Mar. 29) and Grand Canyon (Mar. 31) this week on BYUtv. The Cougars came back from a first set loss to defeat USC in four sets (Mar. 15). The win kept No. 2 BYU unbeaten in MPSF action, while extending its win streak to 13 matches. Gabi Garcia Fernandez recorded 14 kills, five aces for the second-straight match, as well as seven digs. Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga added 13 kills. Brenden Sander had a match-high seven digs along with a season-high four blocks, while hitting .304 (9-2-23). The Cougars have clinched a top-four seed in the MPSF Tournament, with a magic number of three to win the regular season and earn a quarterfinal bye. They have four to play in conference, sitting atop the standings by 1.5 matches.

No. 3 UCLA (7-2 MPSF/19-5 Overall) won two MPSF home matches prior to last week’s bye, 3-0 over No. 14 Concordia and 3-1 over No. 13 Grand Canyon, clinching a top-four MPSF Tournament seed and quarterfinal home court if unable to win the regular season. Christian Hessenauer connected for team-high totals of 16 kills (.343), eight digs and a career-high tying six block assists vs. GCU. He also led the Bruins vs. CUI in kills (18), aces (2) and digs (9) while hitting .483. Daenan Gyimah continues to easily lead the nation in hitting (.522; 47 percentage points ahead of No. 2). UCLA has served a national-high 156 aces on the year. The Bruins are at home Wednesday (Mar.) 28 when UCSB visits in non-conference. Second-place UCLA has three to play and 1.5 matches from the top in the MPSF, next visiting USC on March 31.

No. 5 PEPPERDINE (6-3 MPSF/13-6 Overall) David Wieczorek served a conference-season high tying six aces, to go along with 12 kills (.320), in a 3-0 MPSF home win over No. 14 Concordia (Mar. 15). He finished the week with a season-high 22 kills at .390, along with three aces, in a four-set home win over No. 3 Hawaii (Mar. 18). He is No. 2 in the nation in aces per set (0.57) and No. 3 in points per set (5.02). Alex Harthaller added his first career double-double vs. Hawaii with 14 kills (.367) and 11 digs. Pepperdine also defeated Grand Canyon at home in three sets (Mar. 17). The third-place Waves have three to play, all in the MPSF, beginning at USC Thursday (Mar. 29). Pepperdine has solidified a top-four seed in the MPSF Tournament, and will stay in Firestone Fieldhouse for the MPSF Quarterfinals (Apr. 14) if its unable to win the regular season.

STANFORD (1-7 MPSF/4-17 Overall) was off last week, and competes at home this week against Grand Canyon (Mar. 29) and Concordia (Mar. 31). Two wins would put the Cardinal in a battle for the final quarterfinal home court entering the final regular season week.