It’s all come down to one match and one night to determine the 2012 NCAA championship.
Both UC Irvine and USC were ranked No. 1 in the national ranking during the regular season. However, both teams will now play in the NCAA Tournament championship match with the national title on the line.
Check out the NCAA Tournament championship match to follow tonight.
No. 1 seed UC Irvine (25-5, 17-5 MPSF) vs. No. 2 seed USC (24-5, 18-4 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Season series: UC Irvine leads 2-1 (UC Irvine won in four games in January; USC won in four games in April; UC Irvine won in five games in the MPSF Tournament)
Last NCAA championship: UC Irvine (2009); USC (1990)
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets (USC), In-match Tweets (UCI)
What to know: USC and UC Irvine less than two weeks after meeting in the MPSF Tournament semifinals will now play each other for the national championship. The Trojans and Anteaters both reached the NCAA Tournament championship match after winning their semifinal matches Thursday. UC Irvine rallied from a one-game deficit to defeat Penn State in four games, while USC on its home court beat Lewis in four games. UC Irvine in its last meeting against USC in the conference tournament came back from a two-game deficit to upset the then-No. 1 Trojans in five games. The Anteaters in that victory also overcame a season-high 26 service errors. However, UC Irvine leads the nation in aces and has two players in the nation’s top 20 for aces per game average. In addition, outside attacker Carson Clark had a match-high five aces in the semifinals against Penn State as UC Irvine ended the match with nine aces. USC in its semifinal victory held Lewis to less than a .150 attack percentage in two of the four games and its 13-point victory in game two set the NCAA Tournament record during the rally scoring era for fewest points allowed in a single game. Outside attacker Tony Ciarelli, the 2012 National Player of the Year, also had a match-high 18 kills in the victory. This match will also be a rematch of the 2009 NCAA Tournament championship, which UC Irvine won in five games. It is also only the second time in the last six years that two West Coast teams will be in the national championship match.