Penn State did not win the national championship, but off the court the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament was a success.
Nittany Lions coach Mark Pavlik said Monday that he was extremely happy with the job the Penn State athletics department did at hosting the four-team NCAA Tournament last week.
“Everything they could do to positively impact the event they did, and everything they did it was to give the student athletes the best possible experience,” he said. “I really believed the guys walked out of the gym saying this is what the national championship should be. I really tip my hats off to their efforts, working with USA Volleyball and making it a celebration of men’s and boy’s volleyball.”
Ohio State became the first MIVA team to win the NCAA championship after it defeated Penn State in the semifinals and UC Santa Barbara in the championship match.
Penn State had 3,628 people were in attendance for the championship match Saturday — almost 600 more people than at the 2009 championship match, the last time the host school did not reach the title match.
“The gym felt good and the environment was great,” Pavlik said. “The people there really turned Rec Hall into a great environment.”
Pavlik said prior to the event that their goal was to make it week-long volleyball extravaganza, instead a just three-day event like recent NCAA Tournaments.
Along with the semifinals and championship match, Penn State held a high school boy’s volleyball tournament during the week and U.S. National Training Team held a scrimmage and open practices throughout the week.
More than 1,000 people attended the training team’s inter-squad scrimmage Friday.
USA Volleyball in previous years had not been involved in the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament. Pavlik said the success of this year’s tournament could lead to USA Volleyball involvement in the future NCAA Tournaments.
“Everything we got back from them is it went as well as they expected it to and it was a great experience,” Pavlik said.
This was the fourth time Penn State hosted the NCAA Tournament — and the first time since 2006. It was also the first time since 2007 that a non-West Coast school hosted the tournament.
“When you get something like this, whether it is us or George Mason or whoever gets a chance to host, in this region you know the region is going to support it. The second item is making sure to do it right. We know that this may be the only time a student gets to compete at the national championships and you want to make sure it’s memorable. … The importance in us hosting is to set a standard.”