Men's Volleyball
    USC, UC Irvine, Lewis, Penn State In NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship At Galen Center
    USC men's volleyball in the Galen Center.
    USC men's volleyball in the Galen Center.

    April 29, 2012

    Four of the nation's top teams---USC, UC Irvine, Lewis and Penn State---will be competing at the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships on May 3 and 5 at the Galen Center, hosted for the first time ever by USC.

    In the 6 p.m. semifinal this Thursday (May 3), top seed UC Irvine meets fourth seed Penn State. The other semifinal at 8 p.m. that evening pits second seed USC versus third seed Lewis. Both semifinals will be streamed live on NCAA.com.

    The winners will meet for the NCAA title at 7 p.m. on Saturday (May 5), which will be shown live on ESPNU.

    Tickets for the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship are available at GetTrojanTix.com or game day at the Galen Center box office.

    No. 2 UC Irvine (24-5), winner of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, is making its fourth NCAA Championships appearance, all since 2006. The Anteaters won the NCAA crown in 2007 and 2009. UCI, coached by John Speraw, features 2012 AVCA All-American first teamers Carson Clark at opposite hitter (he also was a first team pick in 2010) and outside hitter Kevin Tillie.

    No. 7 Lewis (26-6), winner of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament, will be playing in its fifth NCAA Final Four, although its 2003 appearance and championship were later vacated by the NCAA. The Flyers, under coach Dan Friend, have a pair of 2012 AVCA All-American second teamers in setter BJ Boldog and outside hitter Jay Petty.

    No. 8 Penn State (23-5), winner of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament, is making its 27th NCAA Final Four trip, including each of the past 14 years. The Nittany Lions have won a pair of NCAA titles (1994 and 2008). Outside hitter Joe Sunder, a 2011 AVCA All-American first teamer who made the second team this year, leads coach Mark Pavlik's squad.

    No. 1 USC (23-5), the two-time defending MPSF regular season champion, has won 4 NCAA championships (1977, 1980, 1988, 1990). The Trojans have now advanced to the NCAA Final Four 14 times, including 3 of the past 4 years. USC is led by 2012 AVCA All-American first team outside hitter Tony Ciarelli, the MPSF Player of the Year who leads the nation in aces, AVCA Newcomer of the Year and MPSF Freshman of the Year Micah Christenson at setter, All-American second team picks Steven Shandrick at middle blocker and libero Henry Cassiday, as well as freshman middle blocker Robert Feathers, the nation's blocking leader. Bill Ferguson coaches the Trojans.

     

     

    USC had its 18-match winning streak snapped by UC Irvine in last Thursday's (April 26) MPSF Tournament semifinal match as the Anteaters came back from a 2-set deficit to win.

    "We were a bit nervous waiting to hear about the at-large berth, and we are delighted to get a second chance," said Ferguson. "We will do everything we can to make the most out of it. Congratulations to the three conference tournament champions, UC Irvine, Lewis and Penn State. They are all outstanding teams. We look forward to hosting them in the Galen Center for what should be a memorable weekend of volleyball."

    Ohio State won the 2011 NCAA men's volleyball title, its first ever.