It’s all down to two teams trying to win the biggest prize in college men’s volleyball.
The No. 1 seed BYU and the No. 2 seed UC Irvine both won their semifinal matches Thursday and will advance to play each other in the NCAA Tournament championship match on Saturday in Los Angeles. Here is the initial look and the historical information to know about this title match.
No. 1 seed BYU (26-4, 21-3 MPSF) vs. No. 2 UC Irvine (24-7, 18-6 MPSF)
Match vitals: 6 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles
Season series: BYU leads 2-0 (won in three games in January and five games in February)
How they got here: BYU won the MPSF Tournament to receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and swept Penn State in the semifinals. UC Irvine revived the lone at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and swept Loyola in the semifinals.
Last NCAA championship: BYU (2004); UC Irvine (2012)
NCAA championship match record: BYU (3-1); UC Irvine (3-0)
Historical stats to know: If UC Irvine wins it will join UCLA and Pepperdine as the programs in to repeat as men’s volleyball NCAA championships since the college sport became sanctioned 1970. The Anteaters are the only program to have reached the NCAA championship match and never lost in the title match. In addition, UC Irvine outside attacker Kevin Tillie has at least 20 kills in four of eight career postseason matches but has yet to have a match during this year’s postseason with 20 or more kills. BYU’s first NCAA championship in program history was won at UCLA in 1999. The Cougars are the top-overall seed but a No. 1 seed has not won the NCAA Tournament since 2010. If BYU wins, coach Chris McGown and his father Carl McGown would also become the first father-son combination to coach the same school to NCAA championships in any college sport.