Long Beach State, UC Irvine Headed To NCAA Men's Volleyball Tourney
NCAA Men's Volleyball Tournament Bracket
2018 Men's Volleyball Release No. 18
Long Beach State and UC Irvine will represent the Big West in the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Tournament, as the bracket was announced Sunday morning by the NCAA.
After winning the championship of the inaugural Big West Tournament with a sweep of Hawai‘i on Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Beach earned the top seed in the seven-team field. The Beach is 26-1 overall and making its 10th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the fifth under head coach Alan Knipe.
UC Irvine secured one of two at-large bids as the second NCAA qualifier from the Big West. This will be the seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for the Anteaters, and the third for head coach David Kniffin.
Rounding out the field is No. 2 seed BYU, UCLA, Ohio State, King (TN) and Harvard.
UCI will play the winner of an opening round match between Ohio State and King (TN) in a second opening round match at 5:00 p.m. (PT) on Tuesday, May 1 at Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA.
The winner will advance to the NCAA semifinals against Long Beach State on Thursday, May 3 at 5:00 p.m. (PT). That match will be streamed on NCAA.com.
Long Beach State and UC Irvine played two competitive matches in late March, the Beach winning the first one in five sets and the rematch in four.
On the other side of the bracket, UCLA hosts Harvard on May 1 at 7:30 p.m, with the winner moving on to face BYU on May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The national championship match is slated for Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 p.m. (PT). It will be televised on ESPNU.
Long Beach State began the year on a school record 24-match winning streak, only to see its quest to go undefeated in the regular season end at Hawai‘i. The Beach have been ranked No. 1 in the nation for 13 straight weeks, and have won 19 matches via sweep.
UC Irvine (21-9) secured a 20-win campaign for the third time in the last four years. The Anteaters boast 12 wins against AVCA top-15 opponents, including back-to-back triumphs over then-No. 6 BYU in January.
LBSU and UCI have combined to win five national championships. The Beach won the title in 1991, while the Anteaters won all four of theirs (2007, 2009, 2012, 2013) during a seven-year stretch.
Beach, ‘Eaters Vie For National Title
Long Beach State and UC Irvine will represent the Big West in the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship, hosted by UCLA at Pauley Pavilion May 1-5.
Long Beach State earned the top seed in the seven-team field and received a bye to the semifinals. A potential Big West matchup in the semifinals looms as UC Irvine claimed one of two at-large bids. The Anteaters face MIVA champion Ohio State in an opening round contest on Tuesday, May 1 at 5 pm (PT). The winner gets LBSU on Thursday, May 3 at 5 pm (PT) in a match that will be streamed on NCAA.com.
No. 2 seed BYU is on the other side of the bracket. In the other semifinal matchup, the MPSF champion Cougars await the winner of host UCLA against Harvard.
The national championship match is set for Saturday, May 5 at 4 pm (PT) on ESPNU.
How They Got Here: Long Beach State
Long Beach State won the inaugural Big West Tournament on its own home court, extending the Walter Pyramid winning streak to 29 straight matches with dominant victories over CSUN and Hawai‘i.
The top-seeded Beach won their 18th and 19th contests by sweep in knocking off the fourth-seeded Matadors and second-seeded ‘Bows. The 19 wins by sweep is just one shy of the school’s single season record.
LBSU has maintained the nation’s No. 1 ranking for 14 straight weeks in the AVCA Division I-II poll. The Beach began the year with a program record 24-match winning streak, and have suffered just one loss this season, a five-set contest in Honolulu against Hawai‘i.
It is LBSU fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Alan Knipe, the program’s 10th overall.
How They Got Here: UC Irvine
UC Irvine brings a 21-9 record into the NCAA’s. The Anteaters recorded 12 of those wins against AVCA Top-15 teams and were not swept in any of their nine losses. UCI is ranked No. 5 in the AVCA Division I-II poll. The Anteaters defeated No. 6 seed UC San Diego in the first round of the Big West Tournament before falling to No. 2 seed Hawai‘i in the semifinals.
UCI has won 20 or more matches in three of the last four seasons. UCI defeated BYU twice in the regular season and is one of just two teams to force No. 1 LBSU to five sets this year.
This is UCI’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance – all coming since 2006. The ‘Eaters won national titles in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Coincidentally, UCI’s last title came against BYU at Pauley Pavilion.
In The Rankings
LBSU and UCI are both ranked in the top-five nationally in hitting percentage and assists per set. LBSU is the nation’s most potent offense with a .379 hitting percentage. UCI boasts one of the nation’s top blocking units, ranking No. 4 in blocks per set (2.67).
Sixteen Big West Players Named AVCA All-Americans
➜ The Big West had 16 players named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I-II All-America Teams on Monday. Long Beach State led all programs in this year’s class with four All-American representatives.
➜ Five players were named to the AVCA All-America First Team, including the Long Beach State junior trio of outside hitter TJ De Falco, opposite Kyle Ensing and setter Josh Tuaniga. Hawai‘i duo Stijn van Tilburg and Larry Tuileta also earned first team acclaim. DeFalco is a three-time first team All-American. Tuaniga and van Tilburg were honored as first teamers for the second straight year.
➜ A total of five players captured AVCA All-America Second Team honors, including LBSU junior Nick Amado and UC Irvine teammates opposite Karl Apfelbach and middle blocker Scott Stadick. CSUN senior Arvis Greene and Hawai‘i junior Joe Worsley also received second team recognition.
➜ Earning honorable mention AVCA All-American status were six Big West players – LBSU freshman Simon Anderson, UCI senior Aaron Koubi and freshman Joel Schneidmiller, UC San Diego senior Tanner Syftestad and Hawai‘i sophomores Patrick Gasman and Rado Parapunov.