History of the rematch in NCAA Tournament finals

The championship showdown between Ohio State and BYU on Saturday will be the seventh time in college men’s volleyball history that the NCAA Tournament finals has featured a rematch from the previous season.

Check out the history of rematches in the finals since the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament started in 1970.

UCLA vs. UC Santa Barbara (1974-75)
UCLA overcame a five-point deficit in the decisive fifth game with then-freshman Sabin Perkins contributing three ace as part of a six-point run to help the Bruins win their fourth title in a five-year span. The following season UCLA and UC Santa Barbara met again in the NCAA Tournament finals — the first finals rematch in college men’s volleyball history. In front of more than 8,000 finals at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA beat UC Santa Barbara in four games with John Berkin earning tournament most valuable player honors.


UCLA vs. USC (1979-81)
These NCAA Tournament finals remain the only time in college men’s volleyball history that two teams have met three consecutive years in the championship match. UCLA behind the tournament’s most valuable player Sinjin Smith rallied from a one-game deficit to beat USC in the 1979 NCAA Tournament finals to conclude the season undefeated at 31-0. USC the following year with a roster that featured three future U.S. Olympians — Dusty Dvorak, Steve Timmons and Pat Powers — beat UCLA in four games to win its second NCAA championship in a four-year span. The Bruins, though, avenged this loss with a five-game victory against the Trojans in the 1981 NCAA Tournament finals. Steve Salmons despite missing most of the season with a knee injury helped rally UCLA from a four-point deficit in the fifth game in the championship match.

UCLA vs. Pepperdine (1983-84)
Despite two regular season losses to Pepperdine, UCLA held its in-state rival to a .099 attack percentage in the 1983 finals to win its third consecutive NCAA championship and 10th national title under coach Al States. The next season UCLA beat Pepperdine in four games in the NCAA finals to end the 1984 season with a program-record 38 wins.

Pepperdine vs. USC (1985-86)
Pepperdine playing in its third straight NCAA Tournament finals ended a seven-year championship drought with a four-game victory against USC. This also was the final match for coach Marv Dunphy before he took a sabbatical from Pepperdine to coach the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Waves the following year under first-year head coach Rod Wilde fought off multiple championship-points to beat the Trojans in a fifth-game overtime for the 1986 NCAA championship.

USC vs. Long Beach State (1990-91)
All-American opposite Bryan Ivie, the National Player of the Year, finished with a match-high 35 kills as USC beat Long Beach State in four games to win the 1990 NCAA championship. The 49ers, though, rebounded next season to defeat the Trojans in four games in the 1991 NCAA Tournament to capture their only national title in program history.

Penn State vs. UCLA (1994-95)
Outside attacker Ramon Hernandez had a match-high 38 kills on a .444 attack percentage as Penn State upset UCLA in five games to become the first non-West Coast team to win a NCAA championship. The Nittany Lions in that 1994 NCAA Tournament finals rallied from an 11-4 deficit in the fourth game to force a decisive fifth game. UCLA the following season behind Jeff Nygaard, the National Player of the Year, avenged the upset loss and swept Penn State in the 1995 NCAA Tournament finals at Springfield, Massachusetts.