One match is left in the 2011 season to decide the men’s volleyball national champion.
Ohio State and UC Santa Barbara will play in the NCAA championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday in University Park, Pa. Here is an initial look and historical information you need to know heading into the championship match.
NCAA Tournament championship match
No. 3 seed Ohio State (25-6, 11-1 MIVA) vs. No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara (18-14, 11-11 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday
How they got here: UC Santa Barbara won the MPSF Tournament to receive the conference’s automatic bid and upset the No. 1 seed USC in its NCAA semifinals match. Ohio State won the MIVA Tournament to receive its conference’s automatic bid and defeated the No. 2 seed Penn State in its NCAA semifinals match.
The last time they met: Ohio State and UC Santa Barbara did not play each other this season. The Buckeyes and Gauchos met last season in the Hall of Fame Tournament championship match, which UC Santa Barbara won in three games.
Players to watch: Ohio State senior setter Steven Kehoe, a First-Team All-American, was among the nation’s leaders in assists per game average and guided the Buckeyes’ offense to have four players with at least 10 kills in its semifinals victory against Penn State. UC Santa Barbara outside attacker Jeff Menzel, a First-Team All-American, was held to a postseason-low 13 kills in the semifinals but has a team-high 91 combined kills during the Gauchos’ four postseason matches.
Last NCAA championship: Ohio State never; UC Sanata Barbara never
Last time in NCAA Championship match: Ohio State 2000; UC Santa Barbara 1988
Historical stats to know: Ohio State is vying to become the first team from the MIVA to legally win a NCAA championship. If UC Santa Barbara wins Saturday it will have the most losses of any team to win the NCAA title — the current record is 12 by UCLA in 2006, the only time a team with more than eight loses won the championship.