Stanford comes in as the No. 1 seed (shocker) after defeating Cal State Northridge in a decisive 3-game match in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament finals this weekend.
The Cardinal was playing nearly flawless volleyball on Saturday; it’s hard to believe that this is the same team that went 3-25 just three years ago. They face No. 4 seed Ohio State on Thursday, and as senior middle blocker Garrett Werner said, “If we keep improving as a team, there’s going to be no way of stopping us.”
Cal State Northridge was the only MPSF conference team that Stanford hadn’t taken down this season, which was probably a contributing factor to them earning the only at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. Seeded No. 2 in the bracket, the Matadors will face No. 3 Penn State on Thursday. It’s hard to believe given the solid volleyball they’ve been playing all season, but this is the first NCAA tournament appearance for Cal State in 17 years.
Ohio State took home the MIVA championship after a hard fought 5-game match against the Loyola Ramblers. This makes three consecutive years that Ohio State has won the MIVA tournament and its spot in the NCAA tournament. They come in as the No. 4 seed.
And finally, Penn State rounds out our final four. They’ll face No. 2 Cal State Northridge on Thursday, and earned their spot by sweeping Princeton in the EIVA tournament championship. 2010 marks the 12th consecutive year that Penn State has made it to the men’s final four, with their most recent championship coming in 2008.
There’s no denying that we’ve got a solid bracket going, but when Stanford is playing on form they’re almost untouchable. They’ll be hosting the tournament at Maples Pavilion, which can only increase their chances. So I’m standing by my earlier predictions and putting my money (metaphorical money only, of course) on Stanford.
We’ll have the recap of both of Thursday’s games right here, so check back with us on Friday for more NCAA Men’s Volleyball action!