More than 500 college men’s volleyball matches across the nation in the four-month season have lead to this one final match between Ohio State and BYU with the national championship on the line.
Check out what to know about the NCAA Tournament finals tonight and how to follow it live.
No. 1 seed BYU (27-3, 19-3 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (30-2, 15-1 MIVA)
Match vitals: 8 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweet, TV (ESPN2)
Last meeting: BYU defeated Ohio State in four games in 2006
Last NCAA Tournament title: BYU (2004); Ohio State (2011)
What to know: Nothing like saving the first meeting in almost a decade between two historic college men’s volleyball programs for the biggest match of the season. Ohio State and BYU after both being ranked No. 1 in the national coaches poll and national media poll at various points during the regular season will now play each other in the NCAA Tournament finals. The Cougars enter their second national championship in the last four years leading the nation with both a .362 attack percentage and a 3.10 blocks per game average. In addition, BYU in its four-game semifinal victory against Long Beach State on Thursday hit .337 and in the final two games committed a combined five attack errors. All-American outside attacker Brendan also finished with a team-high 14 kills and zero attack errors on a .583 attack percentage against the 49ers. Sander is one of three All-American pin-hitters for the Cougars. BYU All-American opposite Ben Patch was the 2016 winner of the Bryan Ivie Award for the nation’s top opposite and is fourth in the nation with a 4.36 kills per game average. Along with Patch and Sander, All-American outside attacker Jake Langlois is among the nation’s leaders with a 3.02 kills per game average. Langlois also had back-to-back aces midway through the fourth game to help BYU secure its victory against Long Beach State on Thursday. The Buckeyes lead the MIVA and is second in the nation with a 1.87 aces per game average. Ohio State had nine aces in its semifinal victory versus UCLA, including All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen having the match-winning ace in the fifth-game overtime. Szerszen using a jump serve finished with five aces against the Bruins and has a MIVA-best 60 aces this season. BYU players said during the prematch news conference Friday that they have experience passjbg jump serves this season and are confident in their ability to pass Ohio State’s serving. Beyond his serving, Szerszen is in the nation’s top 10 with a 4.34 kills per game average and a .395 attack percentage. He also was named the winner of the 2016 Karch Kiraly Award as the nation’s top outside attacker and was the first Ohio State player to earn the AVCA National Player of the Year. The Buckeyes with All-American setter Christy Blough guiding the offense are second in the nation with a .349 attack percentage. In addition, All-American opposite Miles Johnson is third in the MPSF with a 3.67 kills per game average, including having a match-high 20 kills in the semifinals.