Civil conflicts/friendly battles, Beste’s 7-7-7 stat lines, and Turkish players getting ready for the playoffs
Two Nomos EVE 2020 participants, and starting freshmen outside hitters for their MVC teams, Doga Topcicek and Yagmur Cinel, faced each other last weekend. The first match winner was Doğa's team, the Bradley Braves, and the second match winner was Yagmur's team, the UNI Panthers. Doga Topcicek paced Bradley offensively with her season-high 13 kills. After last weekend, Bradley took 4th place for the MVC Tournament and UNI placed 7th. Both teams are guaranteed a spot for the upcoming MVC Volleyball Championship. UMBC swept Hartford two matches in a row in a single day, and Beste Ayhan recorded a match-best seven blocks in the first game and she was extremely strong and efficient on offense as she had seven kills on seven attacks in the second game. UTEP kept sweeping and earned the #2 seed for the upcoming Conference USA Tournament, while Hande Yetis recorded 19 assists in both games.
UTEP swept Southern Miss with set scores of 25-18, 25-19, 25-16, Friday afternoon in Memorial Gym. The Miners have now won three consecutive conference matches in straight-sets for the first time since 2005. Freshman setter Hande Yetis assisted for 19 kills and collected 5 digs.
UTEP kept sweeping Southern Miss in the second match. Southern Miss fell to UTEP 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 27-25) Saturday afternoon. Freshman setter Hande Yetis recorded 19 assists, 1 ace and 4 digs. Head coach Ben Wallis preached to his team and local Borderland media all season his team's goal was to finish top-four in Conference USA. The Miners finished with a winning record for the first time since 2012 and concluded conference play with a .667 winning percentage – their best since 1985. UTEP has now won 12-straight sets in conference play for the first time since 1996 when it was in the Western Athletic Conference. With this win, UTEP earned the #2 seed for Conference USA Tournament.
No. 2 seed UTEP volleyball heads to Hattiesburg, Ms., April 1 in search for its first Conference USA Tournament victory since 2008 versus No. 3 seed Marshall.
CAGLA BENGI AND TSVETELINA ILIEVA
The Connecticut volleyball team defeated the Seton Hall Pirates with set scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-23 on Friday night. Freshman setter Cagla Bengi recorded 6 assists, 2 aces and 6 digs and freshman outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva recorded 5 kills, 1 assist, 5 digs and a block. Overall, Seton Hall falls to 4-6 overall on the season and 2-5 in the BIG EAST, while Connecticut improves to 3-6 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The Pirates fall to 10-20 all-time against the Huskies and have dropped the last two in the series. Also, Seton Hall drops to 1-3 in three-set matches this season.
Seton Hall Pirates fell in the second game of the series with set scores of 17-25, 25-16, 18-25, 21-25. Freshman setter Cagla Bengi recorded 19 assists, and 6 digs; freshman outside hitter Tsvetelina Ilieva recorded 8 kills, 1 assist, 7 digs and 2 blocks. The Pirates fall to 10-21 all-time against the Huskies and have dropped the last three in the series. In addition, Seton Hall finishes the 2021 season with a 4-7 overall record and a 2-6 mark in the BIG EAST, while Connecticut improves to 4-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
Hofstra University’s volleyball team fell to Delaware in three sets with scores of 28-26, 26-24, and 25-22 on Wednesday evening at the Bob Carpenter Center. The loss drops Hofstra's record to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in Colonial Athletic Association play. Delaware improved to 3-6 and 2-3 in conference action. Hofstra is now 53-22 all-time against Delaware. Freshman middle blocker Damla Tokman recorded 7 kills, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 4 digs.
On Saturday afternoon Hofstra fell to Northeastern in three sets with set scores of 25-18, 28-26, 25-16. Hofstra is 45-16 all-time against Northeastern. Freshman Damla Tokman chipped in with 6 kills, 3 digs, 1 assist and 1 block.
One more win for Elmas’ Iowa Western Community College. Last week, Iowa Western CC recorded their 20th “dub” of the season, 17th in a row and finished 1st with 11-0 conference wins to defeats ratio! The Reivers secured their win against Otero Junior College with 3-0 (25-16,28-26,26-24). Elmas had 8 kills, 14 digs and 3 blocks in 3 sets.
2/4 vs. John A. Logan for NJCAA Midwest A District Semifinal
Ozcan’s College of Southern Idaho battled to win against Snow College but couldn’t overcome, falling in 3 on Friday in the final regular season match. Didar scored 1 kill, and 1 block.
2/4-3/4 Region 18 Tournament
UMBC swept Hartford (25-15, 25-13, 25-16 and 25-18, 25-8, 25-18) two games in a row in a day. In the first match, freshman Beste Ayhan had a kill and a match-best seven blocks. In the second match, she was impressive on offense as she had seven kills on seven attacks. With the losses, Hartford closes the season at 4-6 overall in the America East.
The Retrievers will travel to New York to face defending champion UAlbany for the America East title on Friday, April 2. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and fans can watch the match on AmericaEast.TV.
YAGMUR CINEL AND DOGA TOPCICEK
The Panthers fell in five sets against Bradley Braves on Saturday afternoon, with set scores of 22-25, 19, 25, 25-21, 25-19, 14-16. The match marked the 7th five set match of the season for the Panthers and first five-set match of the season for the Braves. Bradley picked up its first win against perennial Missouri Valley Conference power Northern Iowa since 2005. Bradley (12-5 overall), which picked up its 11th win in its last 13 outings, moved into second place in the MVC standings. In addition, the Braves stayed perfect at home on the year (8-0) and have won 10 consecutive contests at Renaissance Coliseum dating back to late in the 2019 season.
The freshman Yagmur Cinel (UNI) recorded 3 kills and freshman Doga Topcicek (Bradley) recorded 9 kills, 1 block, 3 assists, 2 aces, 1 block and 22 digs.
The Braves sit in second in the Valley standings at 12-5 (.706) behind I-74 rival Illinois State.
UNI took yesterday’s revenge from Bradley in four sets with set scores of 25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15 in the final MVC regular season match on Sunday afternoon at Renaissance Coliseum to close out the regular season. Northern Iowa handed the Braves its first and only home loss of the year. Bradley’s freshman Doga Topcicek paced Bradley offensively with her season-high 13 kills and also collected 21 digs for her second double-double of the year. UNI’s freshman Yagmur Cinel recorded an ace. Sunday's loss dropped the Braves to fourth in the final MVC standings.
The Braves finished the season with an 8-1 home record for the second-best home mark in program history behind only the 14-1 record at Renaissance Coliseum during the 2018 campaign. The Panthers hold a 67-10 overall record against Bradley. With the win, UNI is guaranteed a spot for the upcoming MVC Volleyball Championship. This marks the league-best 36th consecutive season that the Panthers have secured a berth in the conference tournament.
Bradley earned the #4 seed for the MVC Tournament and will face #5 seed Valparaiso Thursday in a 2 pm quarterfinal match at Illinois State's Redbird Arena.
UNI earned the #7 seed for the MVC Tournament and will face #2 seed Drake Thursday in a 5 pm quarterfinal match at Illinois State’s Redbird Arena.
2020-21 MVC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 1
Quarterfinal #1 – No. 1 Illinois State vs. No. 8 Indiana State, 11 AM (ESPN+)
Quarterfinal #2 – No. 4 Bradley vs. No. 5 Valparaiso, 2 PM (ESPN+)
Quarterfinal #3 – No. 2 Drake vs. No. 7 UNI, 5 PM (ESPN+)
Quarterfinal #4 – No. 3 Missouri State vs. No. 6 Loyola Chicago, 8 PM (ESPN+)
Friday, April 2
Semifinal #1 – No. 1/8 winner vs. No. 4/5 winner, 2 PM (ESPN+)
Semifinal #2 – No. 2/7 winner vs. No. 3/6 winner, 5 PM (ESPN+)
Saturday, April 3
Championship Match – Semifinal #1 Winner vs. Semifinal #2 Winner, 5 PM (ESPN+)
All seven matches of the 2020-21 MVC Volleyball Championship, including four quarterfinals on Thursday, two semifinals on Friday and the championship match on Saturday, will be available for fans on The Valley on ESPN (ESPN+). Greg Halbleib (play-by-play) and Linda Dollar (analyst) will call the matches live from Redbird Arena
The Western Athletic Conference has announced the bracket for the 2020-21 WAC Volleyball Tournament to be held on April 1-3 at Lockhart Arena in Orem, Utah.
Thursday, April 1
Match One: No. 4 UT Rio Grande Valley vs. No. 5 Chicago State, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 2
Match Two: No. 2 Grand Canyon vs. No. 3 Utah Valley, 2 p.m.
Match Three: Winner Match One vs. No. 1 NM State, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23
Championship Match: Winner Match Two vs. Winner Match Three, 2 p.m.