It’s taken four months, hundreds of matches, four conference tournaments and two rounds of the NCAA Tournament but it’s now down one final match to decide the national champion.
The No. 1 seed Loyola and the No. 3 seed Stanford will meet in the NCAA Tournament championship. The Ramblers are attempting to keep their dream season alive and win a title on its home court, while the Cardinal has a chance to win its second NCAA title in the last five years.
Check out the NCAA Tournament championship match to follow tonight.
No. 1 seed Loyola (28-1, 14-0 MIVA) vs. No. 3 seed Stanford (24-8, 17-7 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Chicago
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: First meeting this season
Last NCAA finals appearance: Loyola (never); Stanford (2010)
Last NCAA championship: Loyola (never); Stanford (2010)
What to know: The top two offensive teams in the nation will now meet in the final match of the season with the national championship on the line. Loyola en route to being ranked No. 1 throughout the majority of the season and making its first national title match in program history had a nation-best .363 attack percentage. In addition, Stanford led the MPSF and was second in the nation with a .336 attack percentage. The Cardinal also had three players finish its five-game semifinal victory against BYU with at least 15 kills and opened the match with more than .700 attack percentage in the first game. Outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke in the other semifinal led all players with a season-high 24 kills to help Loyola defeat Penn State in five games. Both teams in its semifinal victories finished with 21 service errors — tying for the fourth most service errors in an NCAA Tournament match since 2008. However, Stanford middle attacker Conrad Kaminski had a match-high four aces in the win against BYU, including a game-winning ace in the fourth game overtime. In addition, Loyola outside attacker Joseph Smalzer, the 2014 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year, had a team-high two aces against Penn State. A victory for Loyola would also make it the first time to win a NCAA championship on its home court since Stanford accomplished the feat in 2010. After a sold-out crowd of more than 4,000 people in attendance at the NCAA Tournament semifinals, there is expected to be another sell-out for the title match. This would be the first time in NCAA Tournament history that venue has sold-out for both the semifinals and championship matches.
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