Men’s Volleyball Final Four Preview
The Penn State Men’s Volleyball team will compete in its 15th straight Final Four tonight against #1 BYU. The match will start at 11 p.m. EST in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.
Penn State, led by sophomore Aaron Russell, won its 15th consecutive EIVA title last weekend in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions swept both Princeton and Harvard. Russell had 31 kills in the two matches, and Taylor Hammond dished out 75 assists. The win gave Penn State the #4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Top-seeded BYU won the MPSF title last weekend by defeating Long Beach State. Freshman Ben Patch, a 6-foot-8 opposite hitter, led the Cougars with 18 kills, 11 digs and 2 aces. Senior setter Ryan Boyce had 43 assists and 9 digs (and one terrible moustache), and junior Taylor Sander added 15 kills.
Penn State (23-7) and BYU (25-4) have not played since BYU swept the Nittany Lions in a 2012 weekend series in Provo, Utah. BYU is looking for its first championship since 2004, while Penn State is looking to add to its collection of championships that already includes titles in 1994 and 2008.
If Penn State wins the match on Thursday, the Nittany Lions will advance to the National Championship match on Saturday against the winner of #3 Loyola-Chicago vs. the defending national champion, #2 UC Irvine. Penn State swept Loyola-Chicago at home earlier in the season but was swept at UC Irvine.
Fans can stream both matches online here.