Another chaotic weekend is finished that featured four of the top 10 nationally ranked team losing matches.
Check out the five things to take away from this weekend’s college men’s volleyball matches.
1. Ball State, IPFW dominate East vs. Midwest Challenge — Both Ball State and IPFW finished the inaugural Off the Block East vs. Midwest Challenge undefeated with wins against No. 10 Penn State and St. Francis. Ball State outside attacker Shane Witmer and IPFW opposite Andrew Sellan were also named Co-Most Valuable Player as each finished among leaders in kills at the non-conference event.
2. Christenson serving unstoppable — All-American setter Micah Christenson had a career-high five aces including the match-winning ace in a fourth-game overtime as No. 8 USC upset No. 2 Pepperdine on Friday. In addition, Christenson added a team-high 11 digs and 43 assists in the Trojans’ conference opener against the Waves.
3. BYU at home handles UCLA — No. 7 BYU extended the nation’s longest active home winning streak to 28 matches as it swept its two-match series against No. 4 UCLA. Outside attacker Phil Fuchs in the series final finished with a career-high 12 kills and helped BYU rally from a one-game deficit to beat UCLA in four games.
4. Russell excels as Penn State stumbles — All-American outside attacker Russell had a combined 52 kills and more than a .500 attack percentage in two non-conference losses, including a career-high 32 kills against Ball State. The weekend road losses to Ball State and No. 13 IPFW, though, dropped Penn State to 0-4 for the first time since 1999.
5. Hawai’i off to fast start in MPSF — No. 9 Hawai’i had five players finish with double-digit kills as it defeated No. 3 UC Santa Barbara in four games on Sunday. With this victory, the Rainbow Warriors remain undefeated in conference play and completed their first series sweep against the Gauchos since 2003.