Penn State Men's Volleyball To Face Hawaii in National Semifinal
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 28, 2002 - The field has been set for the 2002 Men's Volleyball National Collegiate Championship hosted by Penn State, officials announced today. Top-seeded Pepperdine will face fourth-seeded Ball State in the first match on Thursday, May 2 at Rec Hall with second-seeded Hawaii squaring off with third-seed Penn State in the 8:00 p.m. match. The winners of each semifinal will meet on Saturday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 to determine the National Champion.
Penn State earned the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Rutgers-Newark in five games Saturday night, 30-23, 19-30, 30-26, 26-30, 15-9. The Lions, 25-3, have now competed in the NCAA Championship 11 of the last 12 seasons. Penn State is hosting the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship for the third time and the first time since 1986. In '86, the Lions won the EIVA crown, but lost to eventual champion Pepperdine in the national semifinals. In 1982, UCLA defeated Penn State in the NCAA title match in Rec Hall. In 1994, Penn State became the first team outside of California to win the national championship when it stunned No. 1 UCLA in a five-game thriller for the title in the 25th NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship.
Penn State is 1-8 all-time against the Warriors. The last meeting was a three-game Hawaii win on Jan. 17, 2002 in the second match of the Hawaii Outrigger Invitational. Penn State and the Warriors also met for two preseason games on Nov. 2 & 3 in State College, with Hawaii winning in five games the first night and Penn State sweeping the match in three games the next night. Pepperdine defeated Hawaii in four games Saturday to take the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference title and clinch the top seed in the NCAA Championship. The Waves, who began the season ranked fourth in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 15, have been ranked first in the poll since April 2 and in the top three 13 of the 15 weeks. Pepperdine, 28-4, extended its winning streak to a program-best 16 consecutive matches with its win over Hawaii. It was the Waves' sixth league title in men's volleyball and first since 1998. Pepperdine is making its 11th appearance at the NCAA Championship. The Waves have won the national title four times--1978, 1985, 1986 and 1992--and last advanced to the NCAA Championship in 2000, losing to Ohio State in the semifinals. The Waves have not faced Ball State this season but hold a 5-1 advantage in the series history.
Hawaii, who earned the tournament's at-large bid, is 22-8 and will be looking for their first national championship in program history. The Warrior's best finish came in 1996 when they fell to UCLA in five games for the title.
Ball State is 23-7 after winning the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference title match over Loyola-Chicago Saturday night to gain the league's automatic berth. They are making their 14th appearance in the NCAA Championship. The Cardinals have finished third in the tournament nine times with the most recent coming in 1997 when they lost to Stanford in three games in the national semifinal.
The first semifinal match between Pepperdine and Ball State will take place May 2 beginning at 6 p.m. with the Penn State/Hawaii tilt starting at 8:00 p.m. or 40 minutes after the conclusion of Match One. The National Championship match will be held on May 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The first semifinal game will air on ESPN2 on a tape-delay basis on Friday, May 3 at 2 a.m. ET in a 90-minute format with the second semifinal being shown on ESPN2 on May 3 at 1 p.m. ET in a two-hour time slot.
There are a limited number of tickets remaining for the NCAA National Championship. For ticket information, please call 814-865-5555 or 1-800-863-3336. All-session tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students, youth and senior citizens. Single session tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students, youth and senior citizens.