20 Clap: UCLA beats Hawai’i to win program’s 20th NCAA championship

Photo by Vinnie Lopes

Ido David with UCLA at the media timeout in the second game walked slowly but purposefully to the bench.

The All-American while still getting congratulations from teammates appeared to tune everything out and simply sat down, got rehydrated and then focused on the instructions from his coach John Speraw.

The very next play after the timeout David delivered a solo block to give the Bruins a five-point lead.

Other than the scream David let out after the block, it would be hard to tell from his expression and on-court demeanor that David was already having one of his biggest performances as a Bruin.

David was just that locked in – and needed to be in order to dethrone the two-time defending champions and give UCLA its first championship in 17 years.

The opposite from Israel finished with a career-high 23 kills to help UCLA defeat Hawai’i 28-26, 31-33, 25-21 in the NCAA Tournament finals on Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia.

David was one of three Bruins with double-digit kills as UCLA out-hit Hawai’i .353 to .299 in front of 6.942 people in attendance.

Outside attacker Alex Knight had 15 kills on a .353 attack percentage, while middle attacker Merrick McHenry contributed 11 kills and hit .500 in the win. Middle attacker J.R. Norris IV added eight kills and zero errors on a team-best .727 attack percentage.


Norris, who did not play in the NCAA Tournament semifinals, also had a match-high five aces with four of those aces coming in the fourth game.

UCLA had 10 aces in the victory – seven more aces than Hawai’i.

Along with his offensive performance, David had an ace, eight digs and two blocks.

Outside attacker Dimitrios Mouchlias in the loss ended with a team-high 18 kills. Outside attacker Spyros Chakas contributed 12 kills, and outside Chaz Galloway had 11 kills on a .360 attack percentage.

Despite the loss, Hawai’i out-blocked UCLA 11 to 5 with middle attacker Cole Hogland having a match-high seven blocks. Mouchlias and Galloway added three blocks against the Bruins.

Hawai’i Brett Shward led all players defensively with 16 digs, while UCLA libero Troy Gooch had a team-high 15 digs.

Norris had back-to-back aces in the fourth game to give UCLA a 10-8, including having one serve initially called out being overturned following a Bruins challenge. The middle attacker had two more consecutive aces later in the game to help the Bruins secure the victory.

UCLA hit more than .500 for the majority of the third game and led by as many as five points en route to the victory. David also had a game-high seven kills, including the game-winning kill to put the Bruins within one game of the championship.

UCLA led by six-points midway through the second before Hawai’i rallied and took the lead at 24-23.

The Bruins for the second straight game fought off a game-point to force overtime, and in the overtime fought off five more game-points but were unable to convert on two of their game-points. The Rainbow Warriors were able to close out the 16-point overtime with back-to-back kills from Chakas and Mouchlias.

This 16-point overtime was the longest overtime in a NCAA Tournament finals since the decisive fifth game of Loyola versus Lewis in 2015.

David led all players in the first game with nine kills and hit .400.

UCLA rallied twice from three-point deficits in the opening game, including down 23-20 going on a 3-0 run that was capped off with an ace from Knight. The Bruins fought off a game-point to force overtime and then overcame another game-point in overtime before David closed out the game with back-to-back kills.

This is the 20th NCAA championship for the the Bruins and snaps the longest title drought in the program’s history.

It is also the first title under Speraw. Speraw, who won three national championships as the UC Irvine head coach, replaced the Hall of Fame coach Al Scates in 2012.

Hawai’i was attempting to become the first program since UCLA in the 1980s to win three consecutive NCAA titles. The Warriors have reached four consecutive NCAA Tournament dating back to 2019.

One Reply to “20 Clap: UCLA beats Hawai’i to win program’s 20th NCAA championship”

  1. UClA is the greatest Volleyball program I the history of College sports

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