NCAA Tournament semifinal matches to follow tonight

Two teams will remain in contention for the 2015 national championship by the end of the night.

The NCAA Tournament semifinals will get underway as the No. 2 seed UC Irvine will play the No. 3 seed Loyola. In addition, the No. 1 seed Lewis and the No. 4 seed Penn State will pay each other in the other semifinal.


Check out all the college men’s volleyball postseason matches to follow tonight.

No. 2 seed UC Irvine (28-4, 19-3 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Loyola (26-2, 14-2 MIVA)
Match vitals:
6 p.m. in Palo Alto, California
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last meeting: Loyola beat UC Irvine last season
Last NCAA Tournament title: UC Irvine (2013); Loyola (2014)
NCAA Tournament record: UC Irvine (8-1); Loyola (3-1)
How they got here: UC Irvine (won the MPSF Tournament championship); Loyola (swept Pfeiffer in the NCAA Tournament play-in match)
What to know: The last two NCAA champions will go up against each other as the defending-national champions Loyola plays UC Irvine to open the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The Ramblers are attempting to become the first time to repeat as national champions since the Anteaters accomplished the feat in 2012-13. In addition, a Loyola victory would clinch the first NCAA Tournament finals match between two non-West Coast teams in the history of the tournament. UC Irvine enters the NCAA Tournament after closing out the regular season on a seven-match winning steak and then winning the MPSF Tournament to secure the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and a bye into the semifinals. This match will also feature two of the top offensive players in the nation. Loyola All-American outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke became the first Midwest player to be named the AVCA National Player of the Year. The junior leads the MIVA with a 4.08 kills per game average and is second in the conference with a .392 attack percentage. Along with the National Player of the Year, he won the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year and was a finalist for the Karch Kiraly Award. UC Irvine opposite Zack La Cavera is second in the MPSF with a 3.88 kills per game average, including having a tournament-high 64 kills in the Anteaters’ three MPSF Tournament matches. La Cavera was also named the 2015 MPSF Player of the Year and was the runner-up for the 2015 Bryan Ivie Award for the nation’s top opposite.

No. 1 seed Lewis (26-3, 15-1 MIVA) vs. No.5 seed Penn State (21-9, 12-0 EIVA)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. in Palo Alto, California
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Last meeting: Lewis beat Penn State in four games in February
Last NCAA Tournament title: Lewis (2003); Penn State (2008)
NCAA Tournament record: Lewis (2-5); Penn State (16-29)
How they got here: Lewis (received first at-large bid to NCAA Tournament); Penn State (defeated Hawai’i in the NCAA Tournament play-in match)
What to know: No one needs to remind Penn State entering its semifinal match about the strength of Lewis’ blocking. Lewis middle attacker Bobby Walsh had a career-high 12 blocks as the Flyers beat the Nittany Lions in their most recent meeting in February. Walsh leads the nation with a 1.53 blocks per game average and was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year. In addition, Lewis has a nation-best 3.39 blocks per game average and the only team averaging more than 3.00 blocks per game. Penn State became the first No. 5 seed to reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals as it upset the No. 4 seed Hawai’i in four games in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Tuesday. All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell had a match-high 20 kills in the victory against the Rainbow Warriors. Russell is second in the nation with a 4.72 kills per game average, including having 40 combined kills in the two regular season losses versus the Flyers. The senior was also selected as the EIVA Player of the Year and the inaugural recipient of the Karch Kiraly Award.