NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Tournament semifinal matches to follow tonight


Springfield, Stevens, SUNY-New Paltz, and UC Santa Cruz are the final four teams in the 2019 NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Tournament. Check out what to know about today’s semifinal matches and how to follow them live.

Springfield (27-2) vs. SUNY-New Paltz (26-7, 8-1 UVC)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. in Union, New Jersey
Follow live: Live video
What to know: Springfield leads the nation with 1.67 aces per game, 3.67 blocks per game, 17.67 digs per game, and a .088 opponent attack percentage. In fact, the Pride rank in the top five in all major statistical categories nationally. Outside attacker Brennen Brandow leads the nation with 1.00 aces per game and 6.33 kills per game, while teammate middle attacker Kyle Jasuta leads the nation with both 2.00 blocks per game and a .545 attack percentage. Both players were named to the All-American second team, and Springfield led all Division III schools will four All-American selections. Springfield head coach Charlie Sullivan was named AVCA Coach of the Year on Wednesday (his fourth selection), while his assistant – Michael Henchy – was named Assistant Coach of the Year. On the other side of the net, SUNY-New Paltz ranks No. 1 in the nation with .330 attack percentage, and also ranks No. 2 in the nation with both 13.07 kills per game and 12.17 assists per game. In fact, the Hawks rank the top-12 in the nation in every major statistical category, and were the top two in the UVC in each statistical category. SUNY-New Paltz setter Matthew Grace, named second-team All American earlier this week, is No. 3 in the nation with 12.38 assists per game. The player to watch for the Hawks though is outsider attacker Nick Smith, who was named first-team All-American. Smith leads the team with 0.25 aces per game, 4.50 kills per game, and a .418 attack percentage – the latter two rank in the top ten nationally. Springfield comes into the match having won their previous 12 matches, while SUNY-New Paltz has won the previous eight. The Hawks are 9-1 on neutral courts this year, while Springfield is 4-0. Springfield has won five national title since the first NCAA Division III men’s volleyball tournament started in 2012, including the most two recent titles. SUNY-New Paltz won the national title in 2016.

Stevens (28-5, 8-1 UVC) vs. UC Santa Cruz (20-16)
Match vitals: 6:30 p.m. in Union, New Jersey
Follow live: Live Video
What to know: Even though Stevens lost to SUNY-New Paltz in the UVC Tournament final, the Ducks won one of the top two seeds in the NCAA Division III men’s volleyball tournament. The UVC was clearly the best conference in Division III men’s volleyball this year with a 123-77 non-conference record. Stevens won the national title in 2015, so three of the four national semi-finalists have won the national title since the first NCAA Division III men’s volleyball tournament started in 2012. The Banana Slugs were a controversial selection as they entered the tournament with a mediocre 18-16 record. UC Santa Cruz has vindicated the selection committee’s faith in them as both independent teams have made it to the national semifinals. The Banana Slugs have won their last eight matches in a row. UC Santa Cruz appears to be the better defensive team, having a minor edge in blocks and opponent attack percentage, while Stevens appears to be the better offensive team. Stevens also ranks in the top ten nationally in all major statistical categories, and in the top-two in the UVC in each category. Stevens opposite David Lehman was named with AVCA All-American Third-Team (3.80 kills per game – No. 9 nationally), while teammate outside attacker, Jack Bittker received Honorable Mention honors (.343 attack percentage – No. 14 nationally). Stevens middle attacker Andrew Amerman won this year’s Elite 90 award on the strength of his 4.0 GPA while majoring Computer Engineering. UC Santa Cruz ranks in the top ten nationally in all major statistical categories, and rank second in the nation with 3.00 blocks per game and a .115 opponent attack percentage.  Banana Slug middle attacker Raymond Cascio was named to the AVCA All-American First-Team on the strength of ranking in the top three nationally with 13.22 attacks per game (No. 1), 5.33 kills per game (No. 3), and 5.94 points per game (No. 2).