Men's volleyball to take on USC in NCAA Semifinals Thursday

Fresh off of winning its 11th consecutive EIVA conference title, the fifth-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team has earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Championship. The defending national champion Nittany Lions (27-3) will face fourth-ranked and third-seed Southern California (20-10) at 9 p.m. ET (7 p.m. MT) on Thursday (May 7) ) in Provo, Utah, in the first NCAA National Semifinal. The second NCAA National Semifinal, slated for 11 p.m. ET (9 p.m. MT) will feature top-ranked and top-seed UC Irvine (25-5) against No. 10 and fourth-seed Ohio State (16-10). The semifinal winners will meet for a shot at the NCAA National Championship at 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MT) on Saturday (May 9) at Smith Fieldhouse.

The Penn State-Southern California match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPNU with a simulcast on ESPN360.com. It can also be heard on the web at www.GoPSUsports.com and in the State College area on WMAJ 1450AM, with fans encouraged to send questions and comments to commentators Dean DeVore and Craig Dyer at PSUvolleyball@gmail.com. The UC Irvine-Ohio State contest will be broadcast live on ESPNU and will air on ESPN2 on a tape-delay basis at noon on Friday (May 8). The National Championship tilt will be televised live on ESPN2 with an ESPN360.com simulcast.

Penn State claimed its 11th consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) title Saturday night with a three-game sweep of Juniata (30-25, 30-19, 30-21). The Lions will be making their 11th straight and 24th overall NCAA National Semifinal appearance, having captured the national championship title in 1994 and 2008.

"This year's NCAA field has four very deserving teams who have worked hard to get through their respective competitive seasons, which will prepare them well for this tournament," said head coach Mark Pavlik, the 2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year. "I'm looking forward to these matches and also for the first NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship hosted by BYU."

The Nittany Lions and Trojans will be meeting for the second time this season, with Penn State claiming the previous meeting in five games (27-30, 30-23, 30-19, 29-31, 15-12) in the season-opener at the Outrigger Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii on Jan. 8. The Nittany Lions are 6-15 all-time against the Trojans, including a 1-2 mark in the NCAA tournament, with the last meeting a five-game USC win (12-15, 15-9, 15-5, 5-15, 9-15) in the 1987 semifinals.

Penn State has faced Ohio State three times during the 2009 season, with the Lions claiming three wins, including a sweep in Columbus on April 18. Penn State leads the overall series with Ohio State, 62-22, and also leads 5-1 in the NCAA tournament. The last NCAA meeting was a four-game Nittany Lion win in the 2008 semifinals in Irvine, Calif.

UC Irvine leads the overall series with Penn State, 4-3, and the teams split their two meetings in NCAA play. The Nittany Lions outlasted the Anteaters in the 2006 semifinals at Rec Hall before UC Irvine defeated Penn State in four games in the 2007 semifinals at Ohio State, en route to the 2007 NCAA National title.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010