Men’s volleyball faces top seed UC-Irvine in NCAA Semifinals Thursday
LOS ANGELES — The fourth-seeded Penn State men’s volleyball team (23-5) is set to face No. 1 seed UC Irvine AT 9 p.m. ET on Thursday (May 3). The Nittany Lions are making their 27th overall appearance in the NCAAs and their 14th straight.
Fans can watch Penn State’s match online at NCAA.com. Live stats will also be available. State College area fans can also listen via radio on WRSC 103 and follow @PSUVolleyball on Twitter.
Nittany Lion Preview
With a 3-0 sweep of Princeton in the EIVA Semifinals and a 3-1 win against George Mason in the EIVA Championship, Penn State won its 14th consecutive EIVA title and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA National Semifinals.
In the EIVA Championship, redshirt senior Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) led Penn State with 3.71 kills per set, while junior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) registered 3.17. Redshirt senior Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) dished out 10.71 assists per set and was third on the team with 1.71 digs per set. Freshman Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) led the team with 0.86 aces per set and tied for the lead on the squad with junior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) in blocks per set with 0.86. Redshirt freshman Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had team-leading 2.43 digs per set and sophomore Jace Olsen (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had 1.86.
For the tournament Penn State hit .335 and averaged 12.57 kills per set, 11.57 assists per set, 2.57 aces per set, 8.43 digs per set and 2.29 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. UC Irvine
This will be the first meeting between the Anteaters and Nittany Lions this season. UC Irvine leads the series with Penn State, 5-4. The squads last met at the Penn State Invitational on Feb. 4, 2011 with the Anteaters claiming the victory, 3-1. Penn State last met UC Irvine in NCAA action on May 4, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio. The Anteaters won the NCAA Semifinal with a 3-1 (30-25, 30-22, 26-30, 30-23) win against Penn State.
Scouting the Anteaters
UC Irvine won the MPSF Championship on April 26 with a 3-2 win against USC to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. The Anteaters are 24-5 overall this season and boast two AVCA All-Americans in their lineup. UC Irvine has won four consecutive matches heading in the NCAA National Semifinals. The Anteaters are ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Div. I-II Coaches Poll.
Penn State vs. Potential NCAA Championship Opponents
Penn State last met USC on March 9 in Los Angeles with the Trojans earning a 3-0 sweep. The Trojans are 18-6 all-time versus the Nittany Lions. The teams previously met in 2010 in Penn State’s season opener at the Hawaii Outrigger Invitational. USC won the match, 3-0. Penn State last met the Trojans in NCAA action on May, 7 2009 in the semifinals. Despite the Lions winning set one, 30-27, USC won the match, 3-1 (27-30, 30-26, 30-26, 30-24).
The Nittany Lions own a 16-8 all-time record against Lewis. The squads last met on Jan. 21 with the Flyers taking a 3-1 victory. Prior to 2012, Penn State has won eight straight matches against Lewis. Penn State and Lewis have never met in NCAA Tournament play.