Stage Set for NCAA Men’s Semifinals

  0 Wendy Mayer | May 03rd, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MIVA, MPSF, News

Men’s Volleyball NCAA Tournament

May 2, 4, 6, 2017; Columbus, Ohio


May 2 – Play-In Matches

BYU def. Barton, 25-29, 25-11 25-15

Hawai’i def. Penn State 23-25, 27-25, 17-25, 25-14, 15-4


May 4 / 6 p.m. ET

Long Beach State vs. BYU

Live Stats / Live Video


May 4 / 8 p.m. ET

Ohio State vs. Hawai’i

Live Stats / Live Video


May 6 / 7 p.m. ET

National Championship match



The NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship continues at 6 p.m. ET Thursday when No. 2 seed Long Beach State (27-3) faces No. 3 seed BYU (25-4). A match between No. 1 seeded Ohio State and No. 4 seeded Hawaii will follow. Both of Thursday’s winners will move on to the NCAA title match, which will be played on Saturday. Here’s a look at the championship court.


Previewing BYU/Long beach state

aA pair of familiar foes will face off in the first semifinal as Long Beach State and BYU from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation will vie for a spot in Saturday’s final.  The two teams shared the regular season title. For its part, Long Beach State won the MPSF regular season and tournament titles, downing Hawai’i in the championship match. BYU (24-4) was the No. 2 seed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament before falling to No. 3 seed Hawaii in the semifinals

Top Players:

National Player of the Year T.J. De Falco leads the Long Beach State side with 3.99 kills per set, while hitting at a .394 clip and adding 30 aces, 1.73 digs and 0.72 blocks per set. De Falco also has made good on 98 percent of his team-best 548 serve reception attempts. Sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing, a second team All-American, follows with 3.35 kills per set, while hitting .333 and chipping in 0.83 blocks per set and 26 aces. At the net, senior middle Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, a first team All-American, puts up national-best 1.30 blocks per set.

LBSU leads the nation in hitting percentage (.371) and ranks second in blocks per set (2.71), and third in kills per set (13.38) and opponent hitting percentage (.183).

For BYU, first team All-American outside hitter Jake Langlois leads the way with 3.83 kills per set, while hitting at a .357 clip and adding 0.65 blocks per set and a team-best 47 aces. Setter Leo Durkin, middle blocker Price Jarman and outside hitter Brenden Sander garnered honorable mention All-America honors. Jarman boasts a team-best 0.96 blocks per set, while Sander chips in 2.87 kills and .61 blocks per set to go with 28 aces.

Opposite Ben Patch has been in and out of the lineup for the Cougars, but has averaged 4.51 kills per set when available.


BYU leads the all-time series with Long Beach state 33-26, including a series split in Provo in 2017. BYU won the first match in five sets, while the 49ers won via sweep the second match. The last time the teams met in the NCAA Tournament was in 2016 with BYU winning in the NCAA semifinals.

Common Foes:

Both teams faced off against their fellow MPSF teams. Outside of the conference, both teams face McKendree. Long Beach State won via sweep, while BYU won twice via sweep. 

Up Next:

The winners of both Thursday matches will meet on Saturday in the NCAA Championship match live on ESPNU.


Previewing Ohio State/Hawaii

Ohio State (30-2) won its league best 26th MIVA regular season title and also grabbed its 16th MIVA Tournament title sweeping Grand Canyon in the tournament finale. Hawai’i (27-5) finished second in the MPSF tournament title race, falling to Long Beach State in the championship match. Hawai’i advanced to Thursday’s semifinal with a five-set win over Penn State in Tuesday’s play-in match. The win marked their 27th of the season, matching a program record (27-3 in 1996).

Top Players:

Hawai’i is led by sophomore opposite Stijn van Tilburg, who ranks third nationally with an average of 4.26 kills per set, while hitting at a .380 clip. Senior outside Kupono Fey (2.78) and freshman opposite Rado Parapunov (2.27) follow. At the net, redshirt freshman middle Patrick Gasman and senior middle Hendrik Mol lead the way with 1.11 and 1.08 blocks per set respectively. Mol also has served up a t team-best 26 aces. Van Tilburg and setter Jennings Franciskovic were named as first team All-Americans, while libero Larry Tuileta was a second team honoree and Mol garnered honorable mention acclaim.

The Rainbow Warriors lead the nation in kills per set (13.56) and blocks per set (2.76). 

First team All-American outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen leads the nation with 0.63 aces per set, while also ranking among the national top 10 in points per set (4.54, 9th) and hitting percentage (9th, .385), and ranking 11th in kills per set (3.70). Senior opposite Miles Johnson, a first team All-America selection, is tops among the Buckeyes offensively, downing 3.88 kills per set, while hitting at a .338 clip and serving up 49 aces. At the net, redshirt sophomore middle Blake Leeson leads the way with 1.00 stuffs per set.

Three other Buckeyes, senior setter Christy Blough (Second Team), senior libero Gabriel Domecus (Honorable Mention) and redshirt senior middle Driss Guessous (Honorable Mention) also garnered All-America honors.

The Buckeyes lead the nation with 1.90 aces per set and rank second in hitting percentage (.365). OSU also ranks in the top 10 in opponent hitting percentage (4th, .190), kills per set (6th, 13.06), assists per set (6th, 12.18) and blocks per set (10th, 2.37).


Hawai’i leads the all-time series with Ohio State 5-1, however this is the first ever postseason meeting.

Common Foes:

Hawai’i and Ohio State played six commons opponents in 2017. Both faced Ball State, USC, Stanford, Grand Canyon, Lindenwood and UCLA. Both were victorious against Ball State, with the Buckeyes winning via sweep (2/2) and the Rainbow Warriors winning in four (1/7). Hawai’i swept a pair of regular season matches with USC, while Ohio State won 3-1 on Jan. 6. Both teams topped Stanford twice via sweep. Against GCU, UH won twice via sweep in January, while OSU won 3-1 and 3-2 in late February. Versus Lindenwood, Hawai’i took a sweep, while OSU won in four sets. The Rainbow Warriors topped UCLA twice in four sets in April, while Ohio State managed a four-set win over the Bruins back in January.  

Pre-Match Press Conferences:

Hawaii  / Ohio State 

Up Next:

The winners of both Thursday matches will meet on Saturday in the NCAA Championship match live on ESPNU.


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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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