COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 3, 2023) – The Final Four are set in the NCAA DI/II Men’s Volleyball Tournament with semifinal matches set for Thursday and the championship round May 6 at 2 p.m. PDT. The Division III Tournament has been decided as the Stevens Ducks are your 2023 champions. Stevens claims a championship victory for the second time in eight years.
Ahead of the semifinal round, Ohio State advanced past the play-in round against King (TN) 3-0 to earn a match with Penn State in the quarterfinal. Penn State split the first two sets and won the third 25-13. The Nittany Lions held off a strong push from the Buckeyes in the fourth set, taking victory by a narrow score of 26-24. Penn State will face Hawaii in the semifinal.
On the other end of the bracket, Long Beach State squared off against Grand Canyon in the quarterfinal. GCU came out with a strong start, taking the first set from Long Beach 25-22. The Beach recovered to win the next three sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) to advance to a semifinal matchup with UCLA.
The No. 1 Bruins haven’t played since April 22 in the team’s MPSF Tournament victory over Stanford. Under newly minted AVCA National Coach of the Year and MPSF Coach of the Year John Speraw, they have an impressive seven All-American selections on the 2023 roster. The Bruins are 29-2 and did not lose at home or in conference. In two prior meetings with Long Beach State in early February, UCLA dropped only one set during the pair of matches.
The matchup with UCLA will be No. 4 Long Beach State’s 13th NCAA semifinal appearance in program history and sixth in the last seven seasons. The Beach sit at 21-4 on the season, notably splitting a two-match meeting with Hawaii on March 18.
UCLA NTDP Athletes: Ethan Champlin, Alex Knight, Merrick McHenry, J.R. Norris IV, Cole Pender, Zach Rama, Andrew Rowan, Grant Sloane
LBSU NTDP Athletes: Mason Briggs, Chris Connelly, Clarke Godbold, Nathan Harlan, Dane Hillis, Shane Holdaway, Aidan Knipe, Spencer Olivier, Sebastian Rodriguez
The two-time defending national champion Rainbow Warriors (28-2) begin the quest for a three-peat against Penn State (27-3). The Nittany Lions are a familiar foe that handed then-No. 1 Hawaii its first loss of the season (3-1) on March 10. Like UCLA, Hawaii also has not played since April 22 and the Big West Tournament Championship match victory over UC Irvine. Even so, Hawaii is on an 11-game winning streak dating back to the March 17 loss to LBSU.
Penn State was a perfect 10-0 in conference on the way to an EIVA Championship. The Nittany Lions are facing Hawaii after two straight wins against ranked opponents in No. 15 Princeton and No. 9 Ohio State. Out of the remaining teams in the tournament, Hawaii is the only one that Penn State has not lost to in 2023. Hawaii and Penn State have met five times in the NCAA Tournament with UH holding a 3-2 advantage. The most recent two meetings have occurred in the opening rounds with PSU winning in 2015 and UH winning in 2017. All five meetings have gone at least four sets.
Penn State NTDP Athletes: Cole Bogner, Toby Ezeonu, Cal Fisher, Blainey Jones, Canyon Tuman, Michael Valenzi, Brett Wildman
The NCAA Division III Men’s Championship semifinals saw North Central (IL) pitted against Vassar, while Stevens took on Messiah for the right to advance to the championship match.
The Cardinals maintained control over the Brewers throughout the course of the match as North Central handed Vassar only its second loss on the year with a final score of 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-20). It was North Central’s first appearance in the NCAA Final Four and subsequently its first appearance in the NCAA Championship match, all while riding a 17-game winning streak.
After spending much of the season atop the polls, only to fall behind Vassar in the final weeks of the regular season, Stevens was as dominant as ever in the semifinal. The Ducks swept Messiah (25-17, 25-19, 25-18) to advance to the championship match for the first time since 2018.
In the first set of the national final, Stevens hit .308 and won 25-15. North Central fought hard in the second set, tying the score at 24 before two consecutive kills by the Ducks sealed the deal. In the third, the Cardinals bounced back with an early 12-point lead. The team held off the Stevens charge to win the third set 25-15. The fourth set contained many lead changes with Stevens holding the edge when the score hit 23-22. An ensuing attack error made it match point for the Ducks. It was middle Connor Feulner who scored the final point to capture the national championship, the first for Stevens since 2015 and the second in program history.
Setter Louden Moran of Stevens was named Most Outstanding Player. Moran totaled 145 assists over 13 sets (11.15 per set average) throughout the tournament run. He led the championship match with a career-high 15 digs which was also good for his eighth career double-double.
The 33rd annual selection of All-America Teams by The American Volleyball Coaches Association lists 24 athletes. Many of the selections are making repeat appearances on the list and have been previously involved with the USA Volleyball National Team Development program. The following statistics are accurate prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament.
Cole Bogner – Penn State
1,079 Assists, 10.28 A/S, 161 Digs, .337 Team Hitting %
Bogner was a member of the 2021 Men’s Collegiate National Team.
Mason Briggs – Long Beach State
201 Digs, 2.36 D/S, .204 Opponent’s Hitting %, 73 Assists
Briggs was part of the 2022 U.S. Men’s National Team and was on the roster for the FIVB World Championship, where the team finished sixth.
Ethan Champlin – UCLA
.342 Hitting %, 36 aces, 3.41 P/S, 1.3 D/S
Champlin was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team that took home bronze at the Pan American Cup Final Six and the 2021 Men’s National Team that also earned bronze at the Pan American Cup.
Ido David – UCLA
.365 Hitting %, 4.3 K/S, 3.5 K/S, 0.42 Aces/S
Toby Ezeonu – Penn State
.497 Hitting %, 85 Blocks, 0.89 B/S, 2.10 K/S
Ezeonu was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team that earned bronze in the Pan American Cup.
Hilir Henno – UC Irvine
4.56 P/S, 3.5 K/S, 87 Aces, 0.88 Aces/S
Merrick McHenry – UCLA
.537 Hitting % 107 Blocks, 1.1 B/S, 3.2 P/S
McHenry was a member of the 2021 Men’s National Team that earned bronze at the Pan American Cup.
Dimitrios Mouchlias – Hawaii
4.79 P/S, .397 Hitting %, 3.96 K/S, 77 Blocks
Jacob Pasteur – Ohio State
4.52 P/S, 3.86 K/S, 40 Aces, 0.36 Aces/S
Pasteur was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team and won bronze at the Pan American Cup.
Andrew Rowan – UCLA
995 Assists, 9.85 A/S, .381 Team Hitting %, 49 Aces
Rowan was part of the 2022 U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan American Cup. He was named MVP, Best Setter and Best Server on the U21 Team
Jakob Thelle – Hawaii
826 Assists, 10.73 A/S, .373 Team Hitting %, 1.43 D/S, 28 Aces
Guilherme Voss – Hawaii
.556 Hitting %, 107 Blocks, 1.16 B/S, 2.42 P/S
Spyros Chakas – Hawaii
4.24 P/S, 315 Kills, 1.60 D/S, .326 Hitting %
Cal Fisher – Penn State
4.38 P/S, .360 hitting %, 3.38 K/S, 0.67 Aces/S
Fisher was a member of the 2021 Men’s Collegiate National Team and the 2019 Men’s Junior National Training Team.
Clarke Godbold – Long Beach State
3.62 P/S, 239 Kills, 93 Blocks, 1.09 B/S
Godbold has twice been named to the U.S. Men’s U21 National Training Team and competed at the FIVB U19 World Championship in 2019.
Jackson Hickman – Grand Canyon University
3.58 P/S, .343 Hitting %, 3.06 K/S, 1.22 D/S
Jaylen Jasper – Pepperdine
5.47 P/S, .364 hitting %, 4.99 K/S, 145 Digs
Jasper is a three-time member of the U.S. Men’s Collegiate National Team and was on the 2018 Men’s Junior National Team
Alex Knight – UCLA
.338 Hitting %, 3.0 P/S, 72 Blocks, 0.85 B/S
Knight was a member of the 2021 Men’s U21 National training team and the 2020 Men’s Junior National Training Team.
Spencer Olivier – Long Beach State
3.29 P/S, .356 Hitting %, 1.36 D/S, 0.73 B/S
Olivier was on the 2022 Men’s National Team that took home bronze in the Pan American Cup Final Six
Will Rottman – Stanford
4.26 P/S, 323 Kills, 3.67 K/S, 0.36 Aces/S
Rottman was on the 2021 Men’s U21 National Training Team and the 2021 Men’s National Team that finished fifth in the NORCECA Continental Championship.
Francesco Sani – UC Irvine
4.72 P/S, 3.9 K/S, 48 Aces, 0.44 Aces/S
Sani was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team and won bronze at the Pan American Cup.
Sotiris Siapanis – Long Beach State
3.98 P/S, 273 Kills, 1.72 D/S, 38 Aces
Simon Torwie – Long Beach State
131 Blocks, 1.60 B/S, .437 Hitting %, 2.79 P/S
Parker Van Buren – Loyola University Chicago
4.93 P/S, .338 Hitting %, 4.13 K/S, 46 Aces
Van Buren was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team that took home bronze in the Pan American Cup Final Six.