NCAA Tournament play-in matches to follow tonight

The final two spots for the NCAA Tournament semifinals will be decided by the end of the night.

The No. 3 seed Loyola will try to avoid the upset against the No. 6 seed Pfeiffer and move one step closer to a second national title. In addition, the No. 4 seed Hawai’i and the No. 5 seed Penn State will meet to close-out the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Check out all the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament play-in matches to follow tonight.


No. 3 seed Loyola (25-2, 14-2 MIVA) vs. No. 6 seed Pfeiffer (21-3, 17-1 CC)
Match vitals:
6 p.m. in Palo Alto, California
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last meeting: First match between the two programs
Last NCAA Tournament title: Loyola (2014); Pfeiffer (never)
NCAA Tournament record: Loyola (2-1); Pfeiffer (0-0)
How they got here: Loyola (won MIVA Tournament championship); Pfeiffer (won Conference Carolinas Tournament championship)
What to know: The NCAA Tournament will get underway with the defending national champions Loyola taking on Pfeiffer making its NCAA Tournament debut. Loyola is attempting to become the third team to win back-to-back NCAA titles in the last 20 years. In addition, the Ramblers had three players earn All-American honors, including outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke. Jaeschke had a conference-best 4.08 kills per game average and for the second consecutive year was named the MIVA Player of the Year. He also was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year. Along with Jaeschke, freshman middle attacker Jeff Jendryk was a Second-Team All-American selection and received the National Newcomer of the Year honors. Pfeiffer enters the NCAA Tournament among the nation’s leaders in attack percentage. The Falcons in the second half of the season had more than a .300 attack percentage all but two matches and hit .360 in the Conference Carolinas Tournament finals to clinch a NCAA Tournament berth. In addition, Pfeiffer setter David Specian was in the nation’s top 10 for assists per game average and finished fifth in the voting for the Lloy Ball Award. Loyola All-American setter Peter Hutz was a finalist for the Lloy Ball Award and finished in third in the voting.

No. 4 seed Hawai’i (24-6, 18-4 MPSF) vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (20-9, 12-0 EIVA)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. Tuesday in Palo Alto, California
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last meeting: Hawai’i swept Penn State in January
Last NCAA Tournament title: Hawai’i (2002); Penn State (2008)
NCAA Tournament record: Hawai’i (3-3); Penn State (15-29)
How they got here: Hawai’i (received final at-large bid to NCAA Tournament); Penn State (won EIVA Tournament championship)
What to know: For the second straight year, a NCAA Tournament play-in match will feature two former national champions as Hawai’i and Penn state play each other. The Rainbow Warriors reached the NCAA Tournament as the final at-large bid in part because of its record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration, which included an early-season sweep against the Nittany Lions. Hawai’i in that non-conference victory held Penn State All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell to 10 kills — his fewest amount of kills this season in a match against a nationally ranked team. However, Russell enters this match second in the nation with a 4.70 kills per game average. The senior also was named the inaugural recipient of the Karch Kiraly Award and for the third consecutive year earned EIVA Player of the Year honors. With the play of Russell, Penn State rebounded from a 5-9 start and is on a nation-best 15-match winning streak. Russell is one of two First-Team All-Americans and possible front-runners for the National Player of the Year to play in this match. Hawai’i middle attacker Taylor Averill leads the MPSF with a .483 attack percentage and is second in the conference averaging 1.30 blocks per game. Averill also had seven kills on a .462 attack percentage in the sweep against Penn State.