The Penn State Men's Volleyball team is set to play in the Final Four this Thursday night after winning their ninety fourth straight EIVA conference title (OK, I made that number up, but they have a lot). Since there hasn't been a full update in awhile, here are the highlights you've missed.
Shaky Finish. The team had been booking along, dropping only two matches prior to March, and looked to be heading to an easy EIVA win and NCAA Final Four berth. After beating Ohio State, Georgetown, and UC Irvine to open March, things started to go downhill. The Lions went 7-5 to end the season, certainly not the peaking momentum you would like heading into the postseason. Luckily, though, the EIVA tournament has become the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Nittany Lions' rest-of-the-MLB - Penn State has won 12 straight conference titles with little to no regard for the feelings of the other member teams.
More after the jump...
Boatload of Awards. As you'd imagine, multiple Penn Staters took home conference honors when they were announced in late April. Like their female counterparts, the men were honored with numerous All-EIVA selections (Goas, Price, Del Valle, Sunder) in addition to a Player of the Year Award in senior Max Lipsitz. What's that, GoPSUSports, Penn State volleyball has been historically awesome? Tell me something I don't know.
The six All-East accolades pushed Penn State's total number of all-time All-East selections to 171 since 1972 and Lipsitz's Player of the Year distinction is the 11th overall for the Nittany Lions and third straight.
After (SPOILER ALERT) winning the EIVA Tournament,two Nittany Lions made national award headlines, when Max Lipsitz was named first team All-AVCA and Dennis Del Valle was named to the second team.
EIVA Tournament @ Rec Hall. The EIVA tournament winner earns an automatic spot in the NCAA Final Four, and for the thirty ninth straight time, Penn State won (again, I made up the numbers). Playing on your home court helps, but there was never any real doubt about the tournament outcome. The men swept both matches en route to punching their ticket to Stanford for the national championship.
You Are Looking Live At Men's Volleyball. The NCAA Final Four will kick off tomorrow night in Stanford where the No. 3 Penn State Nittany Lions will take on the No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge Fighting Iroquois. The match will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU at 9 pm Eastern. The No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 4 Ohio State match will follow, and will be shown on tape delay Friday evening. Open Thread is already in the on-deck circle. GoPSUSports has your pertinent deets:
The Nittany Lions and the Matadors are meeting for the second time this season. CSUN won the first meeting on Saturday, April 10, 3-0 (30-27, 30-24, 30-25). Penn State is 6-4 all-time against the Matadors and last met in the NCAA National Semifinals in 1993. The Matadors won the match, 3-0 (15-2, 15-5, 15-11).
Should Penn State advance, the National Championship match will be held Saturday night at 9 pm Eastern and will be upgraded to ESPN. If Penn State is in this match, expect an Open Thread, which should coincide nicely with the Pens closing out their series. There is probably a consolation match, but, as my dad always told me, if you're not the lead dog, the view never changes.