Talk about a tough early schedule! The men’s volleyball team at Grand Canyon University took on the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 teams in the NAIA – all in the span of four days.
The Lopes dropped a couple of matches to No. 1 Cal Baptist over the weekend, but felt they had played well. After all, Cal Baptist has already beaten Pepperdine and UCLA.
Then they took on No. 2 Hope International and No. 3 Clarke College, whom they had invited to their own GCU Invitational tournament Monday and Tuesday.
Two of the best men’s college volleyball teams in the conference just didn’t have an answer for Brock Hutchins. The sophomore outside hitter, a graduate of Highland HS in Gilbert, helped the Lopes to wins over both HIU and Clarke, and a tourney-best 3-1 finish.
On Monday, GCU lost to Clarke, but beat HIU. But they came back in Tuesday’s competition, beating HIU again, 3-1, (22-30, 30-26, 30-28, 30-25) and Clarke, 3-2, (25-30, 30-26, 27-30, 30-19, 15-10).
In the Monday matches, Hutchins led the Lopes’ charge against Clarke with 17 kills, and against HIU with 24 kills. On Tuesday, he recorded a match-best 20 kills against HIU and 18 in the Clarke game.
In a 3-2 loss to Cal Baptist on Sunday, setter Brad Moore from Orange, Calif., set a school mark for assists, piling up 65.
The Lopes don’t get much time to reflect on the last four days because they begin a five-match weekend this Friday and then are back for a home contest on March 9.
But, they’ve already faced the best. So this weekend ought to feel like a breather.