|Follow PSU Men's Volleyball:||Follow @PennStateMVBALL|
COLUMBUS, Ohio - EIVA Champion Penn State (21-10) looks to continue their drive for a national championship in the opening round of the NCAA Championships as they matchup against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawai'i Tuesday, May 2 in Columbus, Ohio with a match time slated for 8 p.m. ET.
LIVE video and LIVE stats will be available for all Penn State matches in the NCAA Championships. Links and more information regarding all participating teams can be found on the 2017 NCAA Championship Central page (http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-volley/spec-rel/ncaa-championship-2017.html).
* Penn State earned a total of four EIVA postseason honors. Senior Chris Nugent and redshirt freshman Calvin Mende each earned First Team All-EIVA honors, while redshirt junior Aidan Albrecht earned All-EIVA Second-Team accolades. Mende also earned All-EIVA Academic honors for his contributions in the classroom.
* The Nittany Lions clinched their 33rd EIVA/ECVL regular season title in program history with a pair of wins against Charleston (W.Va.) and George Mason on the final week of the regular season. The two wins guaranteed the Nittany Lions the No. 1 seed and home court advantage for the EIVA Championship where Penn State won its 30th tournament title.
* Chris Nugent and Luke Braswell lead the offense this season pouring in 313 kills and 970 assist, respectively, while Royce Clemens and Kevin Gear have handled things on defense leading the team with 280 digs from Clemens and 113 total blocks from Gear.
* Penn State is ranked in the top-25 in four different team categories including top-10 rankings in assist per set - 11.59 (9th) kills per set – 12.36 (9th) and hitting percentage - .291 (10th).
Individually, Nugent is 27th in the nation in Kills Per Set (3.28) followed by Calvin Mende at 28th (3.23), while Kevin Gear is currently 24th in the nation in blocks per set averaging 0.96. Luke Braswell is fifth in the nation in assists per set currently averaging 10.54.
The Nittany Lions have made 30 appearances all-time dating back to their first postseason match in 1981 against Ohio State. Penn State is 13-30 all time in the postseason which includes semifinal and championship matches.
The Nittany Lions have twice captured the NCAA Championship, earning titles in 1994 and 2008. The '94 squad pieced together a record of 25-3 overall, running the table in the EIVA at 9-0 ending the season with a 3-2 win over UCLA in the title match in Fort Wayne, Ind. in Tom Peterson's last season leading the Lions.
In 2008, current head coach Mark Pavlik led the Nittany Lions to an impressive 30-1 overall record with an 11-1 mark in EIVA play. Penn State's lone loss came at the hands of George Mason who delt the Nittany Lions a 3-1 loss on the road before Penn State closed out the season on a 12-0 win streak.
Penn State last played in an NCAA Championship match in 2010 vs. Stanford where the Nittany Lions fell 3-0 to the host team.
Hawai’i enters the NCAA Tournament with a 26-5 record following a run to the championship match of the MPSF Tournament where the Rainbow Warriors fell 3-1 at the hands of Long Beach State.
Hawai’i is led by Stijn van Tilburg who has recorded 371 kills that ranks sixth in the NCAA, and is also ranked No. 3 in the nation averaging 4.26 kills per set.
Penn State and Hawai’i last met in the 2015 play-in match that the Nittany Lions won 3-1 in Stanford, Calif.
The Nittany Lions are 9-14 all-time against the Rainbow Warriors dating back to 1995 and 2-2 vs. Hawai’i in the postseason dating back to their first matchup during head coach Mark Pavlik’s first season leading Penn State in the aforementioned 1995 season.
A LOOK AT POTENTIAL SEMIFINAL OPPONENT
Should Penn State advance to the NCAA semifinal, the Nittany Lions would draw defending national champions and tournament host Ohio State. The Buckeyes enter the tournament as champions of the MIVA with a season record of 30-2, with one of the two losses coming at the hands of Penn State.
Penn State split the season series with OSU with each team defending their home court. Ohio State was the No. 1 team in the country when Penn State downed the Buckeyes in a five-set thriller at Rec Hall on March 28.
Penn State is 72-32-1 all-time vs. Ohio State dating back to the first matchup in 1978.
For more on Nittany Lion men's volleyball, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateMVBall