FloVolleyball Weekly Notebook: The Men Have Taken The Court

Hawaii

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Princeton setter Joe Kelly launched the first serve of the 2020 NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball season way back on Dec. 29, but it’s been somewhat of a staggered start for the men. 

By now, however, we’re finally fully underway, with all teams in action and the first regular-season AVCA top-15 poll coming out on Monday. In case you’re just tuning in, let us catch you up in our first NCAA men’s weekly notebook of the season. 

First AVCA poll of 2020

In the first update to the national rankings since the preseason poll’s release back on Dec. 5, there was quite a bit of movement. 

Hawaii maintained its hold on the No. 1 spot, while UCLA and BYU switched places, BYU taking No. 2 and UCLA at No. 3. UC Santa Barbara, off to a hot 3-0 start, jumped up one to No. 4. In fact, each of the top four teams is undefeated.

Also boasting unblemished records as of Monday are tied-for-fifth Long Beach State (3-0), No. 8 Pepperdine (1-0), No. 10 Purdue Fort Wayne (2-0), and No. 15 Ohio State (3-0). 

Purdue Fort Wayne made the biggest move from the preseason poll, climbing all the way to No. 10 from a preseason ranking of 14. CSUN and USC both dropped out after being upset by unranked teams, but more on that to come.

Meet Your No. 1: Hawaii

Preseason and current No. 1 Hawaii entered the season as the favorite in the Big West and nationally. The reigning national runner-up graduated starting setter Joe Worsley and star hitter Stijn van Tilberg, but return big-time contributors in opposite Rado Parapunov, middle Patrick Gasman, and outside hitter Colton Cowell. 

Those three have already been pivotal, leading the attack for the 5-0 Warriors. As a team, Hawaii is hitting .412 with Gasman boasting a team high .622 percentage, having made just two errors in 37 swings. Gasman also has a team-high 14 blocks. Six-foot-7 Czech outside hitter Filip Humler has tallied a perfectly respectable 19 kills in 11 sets played, and Jakob Thelle, a sophomore setter from Tonsberg, Norway, quarterbacks the Hawaii offense after spending his freshman season in a serving specialist role.

Hawaii certainly looks good, having swept each of its opponents so far and never even letting a team score more than 20 points in a set, but the Warriors have yet to play another ranked team. Their first big test will come Friday when they face Lewis, tied for fifth in the poll, in Romeoville, Illinois. Then on Saturday, Hawaii plays No. 12 Loyola.

But how about No. 2? 

Hawaii is riding high with an unblemished record and sweeps of four unranked opponents, meanwhile BYU, which rose to No. 2 this week after being No. 3 in the preseason poll, has faced only ranked teams and has still won all its matches.

The Cougars kicked off the season in Illinois, where they beat preseason No. 11 Loyola and No. 6 Lewis, both in four sets. Then, they hosted No. 15 Penn State and swept the Nittany Lions on back-to-back nights.

BYU’s offensive stars — 6-9 Italian outside hitter Davide Gardini and 6-7 Puerto Rican opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez — have already put up some impressive numbers, with Gardini boasting a team-leading 64 kills, hitting .476, and Garcia Gernandez not far behind with 60 kills, hitting .322.

The Upsets

Yes, we're only a few weeks into the season, but there have already been a number of notable upsets.

McKendree opened its 2020 with a five-set win (19-17 in the fifth) over preseason No. 13 Cal State Northridge at the UC Santa Barbara Asics Invitational on Jan. 9. Despite losing its next two matches (to Long Beach State and UCSB), McKendree landed two players on the all-tournament team — setter Ryan Serrano and outside hitter Patrick Ross.

UC San Diego hosted Illinois’ two ranked teams over the weekend to open its season, starting the year off right with an upset of No. 11 Loyola. The five-set match went to 16-14 in the fifth and UCSD outside hitter Kyle McCauley, a transfer from Orange Coast College making his DI debut, led all players with 20 kills.

Preseason No. 12 USC got upset twice at the AVCA Men’s Showcase tournament in Fairfax, Virginia, last weekend. First, on Friday, preseason-unranked George Mason won in straight sets, with 14 kills from Hayden Wagner, who hit .538. Then on Saturday, NJIT handed the Trojans a second defeat in three. The East Coast squad hit .442 to USC’s .044, getting double-digit kills from Alvaro Gimeno and Jens Feldthus to secure the sweep.

NCAA Men’s Volleyball Matches Live on FloVolleyball This Week

Thursday, Jan. 16

Lincoln Memorial vs. Ohio State 6 PM ET

Friday, Jan. 17

King vs. Ohio State 7 PM ET

FloSports Partners With Rx Sports

flo rx.jpg

FloSports has partnered with Rx Sports, producer of world-class CBD products, perfect for your training recovery needs.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

CAA Announces All Teams Will Compete In 2020-21 Conference Tournaments

Towson

The Colonial Athletic Association will provide every team in every sport the opportunity to participate in their respective conference tournaments during the 2020‐21 season as the league announced its championships schedule on Tuesday.

We Stand With You

Flo-Blackout-1920x1080.jpg

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Youth Sports Leaders Form PLAY Sports Coalition

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 1.39.55 PM.png

400+ youth sports leaders join forces to form the PLAY Sports Coalition to support young athletes through COVID-19.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

PacWest & FloSports Announce 3-Year Partnership

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

FloSports Acquires Streaming Rights To Complete Basketball and Volleyball Seasons Across The Conference’s 11 Member Institutions In California And Hawaii 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Athletes Unlimited Announces Plans For Indoor Volleyball League

au.jpg

When the company Athletes Unlimited kicked off its quest to build a new network of professional sports leagues, it started with softball, announcing a women’s fast-pitch league in March, which is set to begin play in August in Chicago. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

COVID-19 Might End The Age Of Skyrocketing NCAA Expense Sheets

Penn State

Ten billion, three hundred fifty-seven million, one hundred forty-nine thousand, fifty-one dollars. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Towson Day Watch Guide

Towson

Calling all Towson Tigers.

Coming Up On CAA 24/7: William & Mary Day

image_handler (2).jpeg

Tell you whole Tribe. We have big news.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

James Madison Day On FloVolleyball

final.jpeg

Calling all JMU diehards.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In