The NCAA Tournament continues on today with both opening-round matches. Check out what to know about these NCAA Tournament matches and how to follow them live.
USC (18-10, 7-5 MPSF) vs. Lewis (25-5, 13-1 MIVA)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. in Long Beach, California
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
How they got here: USC earned the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning 11 of its last 14 matches. Lewis won the MIVA regular season championship and swept Loyola in the MIVA Tournament finals to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Season series: First meeting this season
Series history: USC leads 4-3 (Lewis swept last meeting in 2018)
NCAA Tournament titles: USC (1977, 1980, 1988, 1990); Lewis (2003 vacated)
Previous NCAA Tournament appearances: USC (1977, 1979-82, 1985-88, 1990-91, 2009, 2011-12); Lewis (1996-98, 2004, 20012, 2014-15)
NCAA Tournament record: USC (17-10); Lewis (1-6)
What to know: One of the top defensive teams in the nation will face one of the country’s best offensive teams with a spot to the NCAA Tournament semifinals on the line. The MIVA champions Lewis enters its opening-round match against USC with the second-best opponent attack percentage at .212. None of its opponents have hit more than .205 during Lewis’ seven-match winning streak, including holding Loyola to a .118 attack percentage in a MIVA Tournament finals sweep. USC is fifth in the nation with a .323 attack percentage and hit at least .300 in 11 of its last 14 matches. The Trojans during this stretch of matches went 11-3 and earned the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. USC as part of this second half of the season upset then-No. 1/1 Long Beach State and ended the defending NCAA champions undefeated season. All-American outside attacker Jack Wyett in this upset had 13 kills on a match-best .579 attack percentage. Wyett is among the MPSF leaders and in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.61 kills per game average. He also has double-digit kills in 13 consecutive matches, including a season-high 21 kills in a victory against UCLA in the MPSF Tournament semifinals. Along with Wyett, opposite Ryan Moss leads the Trojans and is in the nation’s top 20 averaging 3.63 kills per game average. All-American setter Matt Yoshiomoto guided the Lewis offense to the seven-best attack percentage in the nation at .322. The finalist for the Lloy Ball Award also is eighth in the country with a 9.95 assists per game average and leads the nation averaging 0.66 aces per game. Yoshimoto is one of two Flyers to lead the nation in a major offensive statistical category. All-American middle attacker Tyler Mitchem has a nation-best .505 attack percentage along with double-digit kills in nine matches.
Pepperdine (22-6, 9-3 MPSF) vs. Princeton (17-2, 13-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Long Beach, California
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
How they got here: Pepperdine won the MPSF regular season title and then swept USC in the MPSF Tournament finals to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Princeton earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in program history as it defeated Barton in four games in the play-in match.
Season series: Pepperdine leads 1-0 (four-game victory on Dec. 30)
Series history: Pepperdine leads 6-0
NCAA Tournament titles: Pepperdine (1978, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2005); Princeton (none)
Previous NCAA Tournament appearances: Pepperdine (1976-78, 1983-86, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002-3, 2005, 2007-08); Princeton (1998)
NCAA Tournament record: Pepperdine (16-9); Princeton (1-1)
What to know: The college men’s volleyball season opened with a match between Pepperdine and Princeton. It will now end for the Waves or the Tigers with two teams facing each other in the NCAA Tournament opening round. This match will feature two of the top offensive players in the nation. Pepperdine All-American outside attacker David Wieczorek is in the nation’s top 15 with both a 3.95 kills per game average and a .383 attack percentage. The back-to-back MPSF Player of the Year and finalist for the Karch Kiraly Award also had a match-high 18 kills while hitting .571 in a sweep against USC in the MPSF Tournament finals. In addition, Wieczorek opened his season with a match-high 14 kills and hit .500 in a four-game victory against Pepperdine in December. George Huhmann playing a hybrid middle attacker and opposite position had a match-high 19 kills on a .424 attack percentage as Princeton beat Barton in four games in the play-in match on Thursday. This was the sixth time in the last seventh matches that Huhmann, the 2019 EIVA Player of the Year, had double-digit kills and a .400 attack percentage. He also entered the NCAA Tournament leading the EIVA and among the national leaders with a 3.43 kills per game average. However, Huhmann was held to four kills in the last meeting against Pepperdine. The victory against Barton was the first time in Princeton’s program history that it won a NCAA Tournament match. Pepperdine is making its first NCAA Tournament in 11 years — ending its longest drought in program history.