NCAA Tournament opening round matches to follow tonight

Photo courtesy of UCLA athletics

Check out all the college men’s volleyball matches to follow today and how to follow the matches live.

UCLA (21-4, 11-1 MPSF) vs. Pepperdine (19-9, 7-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Live stats, Live video, In-match tweets
Season season series: UCLA leads 2-0
Most recent meeting: UCLA swept Pepperdine in April at Pauley Pavilion.
All-time series: UCLA leads 85-45
Series record in NCAA Tournament: UCLA leads 4-2
NCAA Tournament championships: UCLA (1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2006); Pepperdine (1978, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2005)
NCAA Tournament record: UCLA (54-9); Pepperdine (18-12)
NCAA Tournament appearances: UCLA (1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2018, 2022); Pepperdine (1976, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984 1985, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2019, 2021, 2022)
What to know: Coach David Hunt following Pepperdine’s second loss to UCLA during a three-day span in April decided to make a last-season adjustment. The coach opted to re-insert Spencer Wickens into the starting lineup. The move has worked all the way to a MPSF Tournament championship and a rematch with conference rival UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. The Waves since the lineup change are on a five-match winning streak with the team hitting more than .275 in each of those matches. Wickens has double-digit kills in every match, including a team-high 16 kills in the MPSF Tournament finals. The outside attacker also did not commit a reception error on the MPSF Tournament semifinals and finals. Opposite Jaylen Jasper leads Pepperdine and is in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.65 kills per game average and had a combined 50 kills in three postseason matches so far this season. UCLA is attempting to become the first team to lose a conference tournament match on its home court and then that same postseason win a NCAA Tournament championship on its home court. The Bruins closed out the regular season on a nine-match winning streak to clinch the MPSF regular season title. It then suffered a five-game upset to Stanford in the MPSF Tournament semifinals – despite hitting more than .300 in the loss. Setter Miles Partain, the MPSF Player of the Year, has guided the Bruins to a nation-best .375 attack percentage. In addition, both of the Bruins starting middle attackers are hitting more than .500. Merrick McHenry is second in the nation with a .527 attack percentage and had a combined 17 kills while hitting .556 in the two regular season wins against the Waves. Freshman Guy Genis is hitting .522 and defensively leads the MPSF with a 1.01 blocks per game average.


Hawai’i (24-5, 7-3 Big West) vs. North Greenville (21-5, 12-2 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Live stats, Live video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Season series: First meeting this season.
All-time series: Tied 0-0
NCAA Tournament championships: Hawai’i (2002, 2021); North Greenville (none)
NCAA Tournament record: Hawai’i (7-6); North Greenville (1-0)
NCAA Tournament appearances: Hawai’i (1995, 1996, 2002, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022); North Greenville (2022)
What to know: North Greenville has already made history. Now it’s going to try to dethrone the defending national champions. North Greenville two days after upsetting Princeton to kick off the NCAA Tournament will face Hawai’i in the NCAA Tournament opening round. The Crusaders became the first ConfCarolinas school to win a NCAA Tournament match since the Division II conference started receiving an automatic bid in 2014. Freshman opposite Gregory Torres in the NCAA Tournament win finished with a match-high 19 kills on a .314 attack percentage. Torres through three postseason matches has a combined 56 kills on a .400 attack percentage. Along with Torres, freshman middle attacker Michael de la Cruz had 10 kills and hit .529 against Princeton. The Division II National Player of the Year finalist is in the nation’s top 20 with a .382 attack percentage and has hit at least .500 in 10 matches this season. Hawai’i has never lost to a ConfCarolinas school in its program history. Among the starters returning from its 2021 championship team includes setter Jakob Thelle. The finalist for the Lloy Ball Award has guided Hawai’i to the fifth-best attack percentage in the nation at .340. Hawai’i has hit more than .300 in five consecutive matches, including a .368 attack percentage in a sweep against Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament finals. The Rainbow Warriors also are second in the nation for aces. Thelle leads Hawai’i and is sixth in the country with a 0.55 aces per game average, while outside attacker Spyros Chakas is in the nation’s top 15 averaging 0.46 aces per game. Chakas also is among the national leaders with both a 3.25 kills per game average and a .319 attack percentage. Opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias leads the Rainbow Warriors and is in the nation’s top 25 with both a 3.59 kills per game average and a .351 attack percentage.