NCAA Tournament semifinals to follow tonight

It’s down to four teams battling for the NCAA championship.

Check out all the NCAA Tournament semifinal matches to follow tonight and all the links to follow them live.

No. 2 seed Long Beach State (27-3, 16-2 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed BYU (25-4, 16-2 MPSF)
Match vitals:
6 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied at 1-1
Last NCAA title: Long Beach State (1991); BYU (2004)
What to know: BYU in the regular season learned just how effective the Long Beach State offense could be in a match. The 49ers and Cougars will play each other in the NCAA Tournament semifinals and in the first meeting between the two teams since Long Beach State hit .477 in a road sweep against BYU in March. All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco had a match-high 13 kills in the sweep and finished the two-match regular season series with a combined 38 kills. DeFaclo is in the nation’s top 10 with both a 3.99 kills per game average and a .394 attack percentage. The sophomore was also named on Wednesday the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year. Along with DeFalco, All-American setter Josh Tuaniga has guided the 49ers to a nation-best .371 attack percentage. The 2017 recipient of the Lloy Ball Award for the nation’s top setter led the country with an 11.13 assists per game average. BYU enters the semifinals after setting the NCAA Tournament 25-point rally scoring era record with 10 aces in a sweep against Barton on Tuesday. All-American opposite Ben Patch coming off the bench led all players with five aces and added four kills versus the Conference Carolinas champions. Coach Shawn Olmstead said at his news conference Wednesday, though, that he had not decided if Patch or Tim Dobbert would start at opposite. Dobbert has been the starting opposite since Patch suffered an injury midway through the season and missed most of the second-half of the regular season. In addition, Dobbert had 12 kills and a season-high 16 digs in a regualr season five-game victory against Long Beach State. All-MPSF outside attacker Brenden Sander led BYU with 11 kills on a .409 attack percentage against Barton. Sander has three consecutive NCAA Tournament with double-digit kills and at least a .400 attack percentage. This is the second straight year that BYU and Long Beach State have played each other in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Sander finished with 14 kills and zero attack errors while hitting .583 in a four-game victory against 49ers last year to reach the NCAA Tournament finals.

No. 1 seed Ohio State (30-2, 16-0 MIVA) vs. No. 4 seed Hawai’i (26-5, 12-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Season series: First meeting this season
Last NCAA title: Ohio State (2016); Hawai’i (2002)
What to know: Two of the top opposites will go up against each other as Ohio State plays host to Hawai’i to conclude the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Hawai’i opposite Stijn van Tilburg is third in the nation with a 4.25 kills per game average and is in the nation’s top 10 with a .375 attack percentage. The All-American sophomore also and a team-high 20 kills and added six blocks in a five-game victory against Penn State in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Tuesday. Ohio State All-American opposite Miles Johnson leads the MIVA and is eighth in the nation with a 3.88 kills per game average. In addition, Johnson is in the nation’s top 20 hitting .385 and sixth in the nation with 49 aces. Both van Tilburg and Johnson were named finalists for the 2017 Bryan Ivie Award with van Tilburg narrowly beating Johnson in the voting to win the award for the nation’s top opposite. Johnson, though, was one of top Buckeyes among the nation’s leaders in serving. All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen has a nation-best 70 aces and 0.63 aces per game average, including four aces during the MIVA Tournament. Szerszen, the 2017 International Player of the Year and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year, also is among the nation’s leaders with a 3.70 kills per game average. Ohio State is attempting to become the third team this decade to win a NCAA championship on its home court. In addition, the defending NCAA champion Buckeyes have a chance to become the third team in the last 20 years to win back-to-back NCAA titles.