FloVolleyball Weekly Notebook: McKendree Makes Program History

McKendree

It’s a great week for men’s volleyball when one of its own appears in the pages of the New York Times. But Daenan Gyimah’s Style section debut wasn’t the only big storyline in NCAA men’s action. Keep reading to get caught up.

McKendree Scores Biggest Upset In Program History

Last season, McKendree upended then-No. 8 BYU — a victory which was until Saturday night the biggest upset in program history. Over the weekend, however, the Bearcats traveled to Romeoville, Illinois, to take on No. 6 Lewis in both teams’ MIVA opener, and the visitors secured the win in five (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-9) to set a new program record. 

With the result, McKendree improved to 7-4, 1-0 MIVA, while Lewis fell to 7-4, 0-1 MIVA. McKendree is off to its best start since the program was launched in 2014.

Against Lewis, McKendree hit .339 as a team, with Patrick Ross contributing a team-high 14 kills. On the opposite side of the net, the Flyers’ Ryan Coenen led the match with 19 kills.

In this week’s new AVCA top 15 poll, however, Lewis remained No. 6, while McKendree didn’t even appear in the receiving votes list. Lewis will try to rebound on Thursday with another conference match, this one versus Ohio State, which will stream live right here on FloVolleyball.

Grand Canyon Making A Case For Itself

Another team struggling to gain respect is Grand Canyon of the MPSF. The Lopes boast a 9-2 record and are in the midst of an eight-match win streak with significant victories over T-14 UC San Diego, McKendree, No. 9 Stanford, and USC. 

Sophomore opposite Hugo Fischer earned this week’s MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honor after he contributed 17 kills with zero errors against USC on Saturday to hit a career-high .680. Last week, sophomore Christian Janke took home the award.

Grand Canyon has received votes in every AVCA weekly poll since Jan. 20 but has yet to crack the top 15.

Libero-turned-setter Justin Lui Sets Stanford To Wweep Of UCLA

Stanford head coach John Kosty recruited Justin Lui as a libero, but due to an injury to senior setter Paul Bischoff, the redshirt freshman has been called upon to take over setting duties for the Cardinal.

Lui first started in the setting position against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25, and he’s quarterbacked the team in each of the three matches since. Finally, against UCLA on Saturday, the new arrangement seems to have clicked. With members of the 2010 national championships Stanford team watching from the stands, Stanford swept UCLA, hitting .565 for the match. 

That hitting efficiency is not only a season-high for the Cardinal, but also the best in an MPSF in six years.

Oh, and Lui also recorded his first career kill versus UCLA, scoring on this super sneaky two-handed dump.

UCLA’s Daenan Gyimah Featured In The New York Times

UCLA senior middle blocker Daenan Gyimah appeared in the New York Times on Feb. 8, featured in the “Up Next” column in the Style section. 

Gyimah, a native of Toronto, raps under the name Kofi, and his top two songs each have more than a million listens on Spotify. He recently signed a recording contract with Red Bull Records, pending his O-1 work visa.

Also a member of the Canadian men’s national team program, Gyimah hopes to make the Olympic roster. Canada won the North, Central America and Caribbean Olympic qualifier last month to punch its ticket to Tokyo. 

Gyimah missed a month of the season due to injury, but returned to action over the weekend, contributing 13 kills across two matches and hitting above .400 on both nights. 

NCAA Men’s Volleyball Matches Live on FloVolleyball This Week

Thursday, Feb. 13

Lewis vs. Ohio State 7 PM ET

Friday, Feb. 14

Princeton vs. Ohio State 7 PM ET

Saturday, Feb. 15

McKendree vs. Ohio State 7 PM ET

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