Check out all the college men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament matches to follow today and how to follow them live.
No. 1 seed BYU (26-3, 19-3 MPSF) vs. No. 4 seed Long Beach State (25-7, 17-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 6 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied at 1-1
Last NCAA Tournament title: BYU (2004); Long Beach State (1991)
What to know: Two of the top offenses in the nation all season long will now go up against each other with a spot in the NCAA Tournament finals on the line. BYU making its third NCAA Tournament appearancd in the last four years will play Long Beach State to open the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The Cougars lead the nation with a .363 attack percentage and hit more than .300 in their last eight matches en route to winning the MPSF championship. Long Beach State, though, was the only team to hold the Cougars to less than a .200 attack percentage this season. BYU hit a season-low .182 in a three-game road loss to Long Beach State in January — the last meeting between the two teams. In addition, the 49ers in that two-match series split held BYU All-American opposite Ben Patch to a combined 16 kills. Patch enters the NCAA Tournament leading the MPSF and third in the nation with a 4.41 kills per game average. In addition, the sophomore received all but three first-place votes to win the Bryan Ivie Award as the nation’s top opposite. The 49ers are fourth in the nation with a .331 attack percentage and had a season-high .528 attack percentage in a sweep against Erskine in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Tuesday. Freshman All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco in the NCAA Tournament victory led the 49ers with 14 kills on a .619 attack percentage. DeFalco, the 2016 AVCA Newcomer of the Year and runner-up for the Karch Kiraly Award, is seventh in the nation with a 4.27 kills per game average. This will also be the first meeting between BYU and Long Beach State in the NCAA Tournament since the Cougars defeated the 49ers in a fifth-game overtime to win the 2004 national championship.
No. 2 UCLA (25-6, 17-5 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (29-2, 15-1 MIVA)
Match vitals: 8 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: UCLA leads 1-0
Last NCAA Tournament title: UCLA (2006); Ohio State (2011)
What to know: This season has come almost full circle for both Ohio State and UCLA. The Buckeyes and Bruins after playing each other at Rec Hall in the opening week of the season four months ago will now meet again in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Despite some similarities, both teams have changed since the Bruins’ four-game non-conference victory against the Buckeyes. UCLA coach John Speraw said in his prematch news conference on Wednesday that his team has continued to improve its 6-2 offense with setters Micah Ma’a and Hagen Smith. Smith and Ma’a, an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American selection, helped guided the offense to the nation’s sixth best attack percentage at .312. In addition, Ma’a was named the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year after having a MPSF-best 57 aces. The Bruins lead the MPSF and are third in the nation with a 1.80 aces per game average. However, the team had a season-worst 27 service errors in a loss to BYU in the MPSF Tournament finals. All-conference middle attacker Mitch Stahl said Wednesday that despite the poor performance in its last match the team has not lost an confidence in its serving abilities entering the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Ohio State is second in the nation with a 1.87 aces per game average. It also had a six aces in a four-game victory against Geroge Mason in the NCAA Tournament play-in match to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 matches. Along with its serving, All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen is in the nation’s top 10 with both a 4.31 kills per game average and a .395 attack percentage. The sophomore also won the Karch Kiraly Award as the nation’s top outside attacker and became the first Buckeye to win the AVCA National Player of the Year. In addition, Szerszen has five matches this season with at least 20 kills, including a match-high 21 kills in the loss to UCLA earlier this season.