UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 30, 2006 - The pairings have been announced for the 2006 National Collegiate Men¡¯s Volleyball Championship to be held on Thursday and Saturday, May 4 and 6 at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University.
Click above for more info on the 2006 National Collegiate Championship, May 4 & 6 at Rec Hall!
The Nittany Lions (20-8) earned the fourth seed in the event and will face top-seeded UC Irvine (27-4) on Thursday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The 6:00 p.m. match will pit second-seed UCLA (24-12) against third-seed IPFW (23-6). The winners of each contest will then square off for the national title on Saturday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Both semifinal matches will be broadcast live on ESPNU, with the UCLA/IPFW semifinal airing on ESPN2 at 11:00 p.m. ET on May 4. The Penn State/UC Irvine semifinal will air on ESPN2 May 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The national championship match will air live on ESPN2. Gametracker for all three matches will be available at www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Series: Penn State vs. UC Irvine
UC Irvine claimed the lone meeting between the two schools in the regular season this year. The Anteaters swept the Nittany Lions (30-21, 30-27, 30-25) on March 7 in Irvine, Calif. The overall series is tied at 2-2.
Penn State will play in its 21st national semifinal contest, a mark that ranks second in the country only to UCLA. The Nittany Lions defeated Saint Francis (30-27, 30-21, 30-25) Saturday night to capture the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) championship title. First team All-EIVA senior opposite Matt Proper (Guys Mills, Pa.) leads the team with 4.19 kills per game as five other players average more than two kills per game, including EIVA Championship Most Outstanding Player Nate Meerstein (Pittsburgh, Pa.) with 2.50 kills per game on .480 hitting. First team All-EIVA senior setter Dan O¡¯Dell (Rochester, N.Y.) dishes out 10.21 assists per game and junior libero Ryan Walthall (Irvine, Calif.) records an average of 1.98 digs per game. First team All-EIVA freshman middle hitter Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) leads the squad with 1.25 blocks per game as Meerstein chips in 1.10 blocks per game. As a team, Penn State is hitting .342 with 15.92 kills per game, 1.30 service aces per game, 8.28 digs per game and 3.04 blocks per game. The Nittany Lions are coached by Mark Pavlik, who is in his 12th season.
UC Irvine earns the No. 1 seed in the National Collegiate Championship after holding the top spot in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Coaches poll for the last seven weeks. The Anteaters dropped their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) semifinal match to Long Beach State in three games (26-30, 20-30, 23-30) on April 27 but were granted the at-large bid to the national semifinals. MPSF Player of the Year junior outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky averages 4.17 kills per game as second team All-MPSF junior outside hitter Matt Webber leads UCI with 4.69 kills per game. Second team All-MPSF junior setter Brian Thornton directs the offense with 13.76 kills per game and MPSF Newcomer of the Year freshman libero Brent Asuka tops the defense with 3.08 digs per game. Third team All-MPSF sophomore middle hitter Aaron Harrell leads the blocking front with 1.31 blocks per game. As a team, UC Irvine is hitting .334 with 16.12 kills per game, 1.33 service aces per game, 10.48 digs per game and 2.99 blocks per game. The Anteaters are coached by John Speraw, who is in his fourth season.
The Series: UCLA vs. IPFW
This will be the first meeting of the season between the two squads.
Winners of its last 12 matches, UCLA earns the automatic berth from the MPSF by virtue of its four-game win over Long Beach State (24-30, 30-28, 30-23, 30-24) on Saturday night. The Bruins, who were seeded seventh in the MPSF Championship, became the first team to win four matches in the league tournament and advance to the national semifinals. UCLA is the lowest-seeded team in MPSF history to win the conference¡¯s automatic berth but it leads the nation in program appearances in the national semifinals with 25, including 18 national titles. Junior opposite Steve Klosterman leads the team with 4.09 kills per game as junior outside hitter Paul George chips in 3.10 kills per game. Senior setter Dennis Gonzalez directs the offense with 12.12 assists per game and third team All-MPSF sophomore libero Tony Ker tops the defense with 2.82 digs per game. Senior middle hitter Nick Scheftic leads the blocking front with 1.00 blocks per game. As a team, UCLA is hitting .316 with 15.81 kills per game, 1.09 service aces per game, 10.59 digs per game and 2.53 blocks per game. The Bruins are coached by Al Scates, who is in his 44th season.
IPFW has lost only one match since Feb. 4, winning 21 of its last 22 contests. The Mastodons defeated Loyola-Chicago in four games (30-21, 20-30, 30-27, 30-22) Saturday night to claim the automatic berth out of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). First team All-MIVA sophomore opposite C.J. Macias leads the team with 5.42 kills per game as second team All-MIVA junior setter Colin Lundeen dishes out 12.02 assists per game. Sophomore libero Mike Morici tops the defensive list with 2.31 digs per game as sophomore middle hitter Josh Stewart and first team All-MIVA senior middle hitter Serdar Sikca lead the blocking charts with 1.53 and 1.48 blocks per game, respectively. The Mastodons are coached by Arnie Ball, who is in his 26th season.
Tickets for the National Collegiate Men¡¯s Volleyball Championship are on sale now by calling 1-800-863-3336 or in person at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket office. All-session tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for senior citizens, Penn state students and youth. Groups of 10 or more under the age of 21 will be admitted for just $8 per person. Single-session tickets, available day of event at Rec Hall only, are $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens, Penn State students and youth.
For more information on the Penn State men¡¯s volleyball team and the National Collegiate Championship, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.