April 22, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

Loyola-Chicago’s Kris Berzins became the first Rambler in two years to be recognized as the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Week as he helped his squad raise their Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association record to .500 last weekend.

The junior outside hitter hit .567, while averaging 5.19 points, 4.75 kills and 1.65 digs per game as the Ramblers downed then-No. 12 Lewis, 3-2, and swept IPFW in MIVA action.  Berzins registered a career-best .575 hitting percentage against the Flyers and made just one error in 48 serve attempts.  The native of Brinklow, Md., was also tabbed MIVA Player of the Week for the third time this season.

Loyola-Chicago moved up to fourth place in the MIVA standings with the victories, and climbed one notched to No. 14 in the latest Bison/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Poll.  The Ramblers will host IPFW in a MIVA Tournament quarterfinal match April 24.  Ohio State and Lewis, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively in the tournament, received byes for the quarterfinal round.  The Buckeyes will host the semifinals and championship on April 30-May 2.

UP AND UP:  BYU ascended one spot to No. 5 in the latest Bison/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Poll after splitting a series at second-ranked Pepperdine last weekend – marking the Cougars’ first victory at Pepperdine since 2003.

Junior outside hitter Andrew Stewart knocked 18 kills in each match of the split as he picked up his first-ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Molten Player of the Week award.   The native of Sandy, Utah, turned in a .500 hitting percentage with four digs and three blocks in a 3-1 loss to the Waves, but came back to record 18 more kills as the Cougars claimed a hard-fought 3-1 victory the next night.  For the week, Stewart compiled a .446 hitting percentage and seven blocks, averaging 5.06 points per set.

BYU is the No. 6 seed in the MPSF Tournament, and travels to third-seeded Cal State Northridge for quarterfinal action on April 25.  The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Championship, which the Cougars will host on May 7-9.  It is the first time BYU is hosting a national championship event since the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Track and Championships.

SAYING GOODBYE:  University of Hawaii men’s volleyball head coach Mike Wilton guided the Warriors to a 3-1 upset of then-No. 5 USC April 18 in his final match at the helm of the program.

Wilton announced retirement two weeks ago after 17 seasons of leading the Warriors, which included four 20-win campaigns and 316 victories.

Junior outside hitter Joseph Strotman recorded a career-best 30 kills and 12 digs in the upset of the Trojans, and received Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Molten Co-Player of the Week for his performance.

Hawaii finished the regular season ranked No. 13 nationally, despite a 9-18 record and missing the MPSF Tournament.  The Warriors have been nationally ranked in all 17 seasons of Wilton’s tenure.

LIONS ROAR: Penn State cruised to sweeps against a pair of nationally-ranked opponents last week as freshman setter Edgardo Goas provided a helping hand to the Nittany Lions.  They have now swept 10 consecutive foes.

The native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, tallied 37 assists and five digs in a 3-0 win over No. 15 Ball State, and then added 43 assists and four blocks in the sweep at No. 11 Ohio State.  Goas was selected Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Week for his play.

Goas averaged 13.33 assists per game, while five players averaged more than 2.33 kills per game and the team combined for a .448 hitting percentage.

The Nittany Lions received a bye in the quarterfinals of the EVIA Tournament, but will host the semifinals and championship match on April 30-May 2.  The winner advances with an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.