Beach Steps Forward in Quest For No. 1 Seed

March 27, 2017

MPSF Volleyball Release 12

LONG BEACH STATE (15-2 MPSF/22-3 Overall) took an enormous step towards the MPSF Tournament's No. 1 seed by taking five of the eight total sets in its 1-1 split at No. 3 BYU (Mar. 24-25). As such, the 49ers win the potential head-to-head tie in the final standings over the Cougars for the rights to the top seed and hosting the conference tournament in its entirety (Apr. 15-22). After hosting Concordia Friday (Mar. 31), one MPSF match remains for the 49ers as CSUN visits on Apr. 8. LBSU can officially lock in the MPSF's top seed with a win in that match---or---a BYU loss in either of the two previous nights at UCSB (Apr. 6-7). In Provo, the Beach stormed back from a tough five set loss the first night, by posting a second night 3-0 win. TJ DeFalco hit .338 (38-12-77) for the series, including a first night double-double on 25 kills (season-high) and 14 digs.

BYU (14-2 MPSF/21-3 Overall) Jake Langlois hit .407 last week (41-6-86), which included 11 sets played in a split against top-ranked Long Beach State and a sweep of Princeton (career-high .647). He had a 20-kill, 10-dig double-double in the win over the 49ers. The Cougars complete their regular season at UCSB, Apr. 6-7. BYU will be no worse than a two seed in the MPSF Tournament, and would be elevated to No. 1 with two wins at UCSB and a CSUN win at Long Beach State.

HAWAII (12-4 MPSF/22-4 Overall) won 3-0 and 3-1 over CSUN (Mar. 24-25), completing an unbeaten home season (17-0). UH has won 21 straight home matches dating back to last year. In the second win, Brett Rosenmeier had a career-high 16 kills with a huge .560 hitting clip. A spilt at UCLA (Apr. 7-8) would guarantee MPSF Quarterfinal home court for the Warriors. UH would also solidify a top-four seed with a loss by UCLA (this week) or UC Irvine (within its last three).

UC IRVINE (10-5 MPSF/16-6 Overall) recorded a team season-high 78 kills with a .407 team clip, in a 3-1 win at Pepperdine Saturday (Mar. 25). Tamir Hershko recorded 22 kills and 11 digs, while Scott Stadick had a career-high 15 kills with a .667 clip. Thomas Hodges and Aaron Koubi added 16 kills each, with the latter also picking up 10 digs. The Anteaters have three to play, and in control of their own path for an MPSF Quarterfinal home court. They visit Stanford Friday (Mar. 31), before closing at home with Stanford (Apr. 7) and Pepperdine (Apr. 8).

PEPPERDINE (6-9 MPSF/8-10 Overall) dropped a four-set home match to UC Irvine (Mar. 25). David Wieczorek recorded 14 kills with a .345 clip. Pepperdine has three to play, beginning with UC San Diego at home Thursday (Mar. 30), followed by visits to UCSD (Apr. 7) and UC Irvine (Apr. 8). Three wins put the Waves in the MPSF Tournament--or--two wins along with a UCSB loss The Waves hold two-way tiebreakers over UCSB (1-0 matches), CSUN (1-0 matches), and Stanford (187-173 points).

USC (5-9 MPSF/11-12 Overall) Gianluca Grasso had a match-best 20 kills while hitting .455, and picked up eight digs, to lead a fifth consecutive victory after a 3-0 home sweep over Concordia (Mar. 24). MPSF play resumes for USC at home vs. UCLA Wednesday (Mar. 29, 7 pm; Pac-12 Networks) and UCSB Friday (Mar. 31). A home-and-home with Cal Baptist (Apr. 6-8) also remains next week. USC is guaranteed a spot in the MPSF Tournament by winning out. The Trojans hold a two-way tiebreaker over Pepperdine (213-206 points).

CSUN (5-12 MPSF/12-14 Overall) dropped a pair of MPSF matches at Hawaii (Mar. 24-25). The Matadors close the regular season at Long Beach State on Apr. 8. CSUN needs to win that match, along with several combinations with other teams to enter the postseason.

CAL BAPTIST (1-13 MPSF/6-18 Overall) wrapped up a 10-match road swing with its first three road victories of the year last week, sweeping 3-0 matches at Limestone (Mar. 21), Erskine (Mar. 22), and Belmont-Abbey (Mar. 24). Middle Philip Schick hit .485 (18-2-33) with 13 blocks, 12 digs, and three aces for the week. The Lancers host UCSB Thursday (Mar. 30) and UCLA Saturday (Apr. 1), their first home matches since Feb. 18.

UCLA (8-6 MPSF/15-7 Overall) takes a five-match win streak to USC Wednesday (Mar. 29). A visit to Cal Baptist Saturday (Apr. 1) followed by a two-match home series with Hawaii (Apr. 7-8) are also left on the schedule. One win in their last four clinches an MPSF Tourney bid. In fact, the Bruins control their own path for a top-four seed and quarterfinal home court. Four wins does just that---or--three wins coupled with two UC Irvine losses.

UC SAN DIEGO (3-11 MPSF/7-15 Overall) won a pair of four-set home matches last in action, defeating Cal Baptist (Mar. 14) in MPSF play as well as Concordia (Mar. 17), as Tanner Syftestad put down match-highs of 29 and 24 kills, respectively. The Tritons visit Pepperdine (Mar. 30) and Stanford (Apr. 1) this week.

UC SANTA BARBARA (5-9 MPSF/10-12 Overall) has four to play --at Cal Baptist Thurs. (Mar. 30), at USC Fri. (Mar. 31), followed by two at home vs. BYU (Apr. 6-7). UCSB holds a two-way tiebreaker over CSUN (1-0 matches) and enters the week with an edge over USC (1-0 matches, one to play head-on). Several scenarios put UCSB in the MPSF Tournament, including---winning out---or--winning three of four with one of those wins vs. USC---or---winning two of four along with two losses by USC (one of which to UCSB).

STANFORD (6-8 MPSF/11-10 Overall) is in sixth with four to play. Two matches remain, home and away, against both UC Irvine (Mar. 31/Apr. 7) and UCSD (Apr. 1/8). Two wins out of the four clinch an MPSF Tournament spot. The Cardinal hold a two-way tie over UCSB (1-0 matches) and USC (137-131 points).