Ball St.-BGSU play for MAC title; San Diego at BYU; AVCA; A&M coaching change


Ball State and Bowling Green, the respective MAC division winners, won their conference tournament semifinal matches Monday and play for the the league’s title and automatic NCAA bid Tuesday. Bowling Green has an NCAA RPI of 53 and Ball State is at 56, so it’s highly unlikely but not impossible that the loser could get an at-large bid.

Evansville and UIC won their Missouri Valley matches Monday and moved into Tuesday’s semifinals. Top-seeded Northern Iowa plays Evansville and second-seeded Drake faces UIC. The final is Wednesday.

The big match Wednesday won’t decide the West Coast Conference title — second-ranked San Diego has a two-game lead — but anytime the Toreros play No. 18 BYU it matters. The match is on ESPNU at 10 p.m. Eastern. San Diego (26-1, 17-0, 9 RPI)) has won 23 in a row, including a sweep over visiting BYU (21-5, 15-2, 27 RPI) on October 21.

Also in the WCC, two other teams hopeful of at-large bids are in action when Loyola Marymount (40 RPI) is home for Gonzaga and Pepperdine (43 RPI) entertains Portland. Pacific plays at San Francisco and Santa Clara is at Saint Mary’s.

There is one Pac-12 match when UCLA (62 RPI) goes to No. 25 Washington State (34 RPI).

The lone Big West match has UC Santa Barbara home for CSUN. UCSB trails Hawai’i by two games with two left. Hawai’i plays at UCSB, so UCSB has to win out and then hope that Hawai’i loses at CSUN on Saturday. If Hawai’i (37 RPI) wins there won’t be an at-large from the Big West.

Want to watch a match? We have the viewing links on the VolleyballMag.com TV & Streaming Listings page.

AVCA POLL: The top four teams — Texas, San Diego, Wisconsin, Louisville — stayed the same, but Ohio State took a fall three spots to No. 8. 

Nebraska moved up a spot to No. 5, Stanford leapfrogged Pittsburgh to No. 6, and Pitt stayed No. 7. Minnesota stayed No. 10 and Oregon jumped two spots to No. 10. 

No one dropped out and there was no significant movement. 

Click here for the complete AVCA Division I Coaches Poll.

AVCA POW: The AVCA national player of the week is Indiana’s Camryn Haworth. The sophoore setter directed her team to five-set wins over Northwestern and at then-No. 5 Ohio State and in those matches averaged 8.2 assists, 1.8 kills and 2.7 digs per set. she had seven blocks against Northwestern and four against Ohio State, one solo.

BYRD OUT AT A&M: “Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork has relieved Head Volleyball Coach Laura ‘Bird’ Kuhn of all duties effective immediately,” A&M said on its website.

Texas A&M went 13-16 this season, 5-13 in the SEC. Kurn was 76-60 in five seasons.

Added Bjork: “The goal for all our teams at Texas A&M is to perform at a consistently high level and compete for conference and national titles

“Given the recruiting base in Texas and support for volleyball, we believe that we can and should be better and that is what the 12th Man deserves. Coach Kuhn is a great person, and we appreciate her service to Texas A&M. We wish her well in her future endeavors. We will begin a national search for a new leader of our volleyball program as we continue toward our mission of creating opportunities through championship athletics.”

It was the first head college coaching job for the former Georgia Tech player and assistant at App State, Miami (Florida) and Kansas. 

Ball State’s Cait Snyder hits over Central Michigan’s Clire Ammeraal/Bobby Ellis, Ball State Creative Services

MID-AMERICAN: Top-seeded Ball State (24-7) beat fourth-seeded Central Michigan (20-11) for the third time this season. Cait Snyder had a career-high 21 kills in the 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 victory and had three blocks and three digs. Maggie Huber had 30 digs, two aces and five assists. CMU’s Mallory Hernandez had 18 kills, hit .304 and had two blocks and an assist … 

Second-seeded Bowling Green (21-9) hit .407 and won its seventh in a row, sweeping third-seeded Buffalo 25-22, 25-16, 25-16. The Falcons had 43 kills and six errors in 91 attacks. Lauryn Hovey led with 13 kills and hit .550 after having two errors in 20 attacks. Petra Indrova had 10 kills, hit .412 and had two blocks and nine digs, and Mia Taylor had 10 kills in 23 errorless swings. Buffalo ended its season 19-13. 

Ball State swept at Bowling Green on October 28 in their only meeting, 

MISSOURI VALLEY: Fifth-seeded Evansville (16-18) held on to beat fourh-seeded Southern Illinois (18-13) in five. SIU trailed 10-4 in the fifth but the Salukis pulled into a 14-14 tie before Evansville closed out the 25-21, 26-24, 18-25, 23-25, 16-14 victory. Alondra Vazquez had 25 kills and hit .440 for Evansville and had an assist, two aces, a block and 13 digs. Giula Cardona had 22 kills, an assist, three aces, six blocks and nine digs. SIU, which finished 2021 5-26 overall, 0-18 in the Valley, went 11-7 in conference play this year. Imani Hartfield led the Salukis with 17 kills against Evansville as she hit .452 and had six blocks and two digs. Tatum Tornatta, Nataly Garcia and Annabelle Sulish had 15 kills each … 

Third-seeded UIC (22-9) swept sixth-seeded Valparaiso (22-10) as the Flames hit .316. Paola Santiago, who had four blocks and seven digs, and Martina Delucchi had 12 kills each. Delucchi had two aces, three blocks and seven digs.

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