UCLA men's volleyball

FAIRFAX, Va. (May 6, 2023) – John Speraw and UCLA men’s volleyball won the 20th NCAA national championship for the Bruins and the first for Speraw as head coach on Saturday as UCLA beat Hawaii 3-1 (28-26, 31-33, 25-21, 25-21) at Eaglebank Arena at George Mason University.

“This is a really happy day for everybody at UCLA,” Speraw said. “For the program, for the alumni, for the families, a lot goes into this. I’m thrilled for everybody that we could get No. 20. It’s been a long time coming.”

Speraw, who is also the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach, has now won four total NCAA titles after taking three when he was with UC Irvine. Speraw had previously won NCAA championships with UCLA as an assistant coach (1996, 1998, 2000) and as a player (1993, 1995).

UCLA outside hitter Alex Knight, who competed on the 2018-19 U.S. Boys Youth National Team, was named the NCAA tournament MVP. Against Hawaii, he finished with 18.5 points on 15 kills, two aces and three block assists. He was also credited with 26 receptions.

UCLA kept up the pressure from the service line, led by middle blocker J.R. Norris IV who entered the match in the first set as a substitute and finished with five aces and 13.5 points total. Overall, UCLA led Hawaii in aces 10-3.

“You have to serve tough,” Speraw said. “J.R. came in and did a great job serving the ball, especially timely at the end. Ultimately, our serve and blocking defense gave us the opportunity to score a bunch of points. That’s why we won.”

UCLA setter Andrew Rowan, a member of the 2022 Men’s Junior National Team, was credited with 60 assists.

Middle Merrick McHenry scored 13 points on 11 kills, on ace and two block assists. Outside hitter Ethan Champlin scored eight points on eight kills. Norris, McHenry and Champlin all played for the 2022 U.S. Men’s Pan American Cup Final Six team.