PROVO -- Despite having a slight advantage, in terms NCAA Championship selection criteria, the BYU men's volleyball team was today denied the at-large bid to the 2002 NCAA Championship tournament. Hawaii, the at-large selection, will join Pepperdine, Penn State and Ball State as the four teams who will compete for the National Championship.
The Cougars failed to earn the at-large bid after falling to top-ranked Pepperdine in the MPSF semi-finals, while Hawaii advanced by knocking off UC Santa Barbara in four games. The Warriors were defeated by the Waves in Saturday's championship match, 3-1.
During the season, the Cougars posted a better overall win-loss record than the Warriors, posting a 23-7 mark, compared to the Warriors' record of 22-8. In addition, the Cougars posted a better win-loss record against automatic qualifiers, including back-to-back wins over Ball State. The Cougars also had a tougher schedule in 2002, playing more nationally-ranked opponents than Hawaii. The Cougars posted a .714 winning percentage, compared to the Warriors' .667 average.
Despite losing to Pepperdine on Thursday, the Cougars won eight of their last 10 matches. Hawaii has won just seven of its last 10. Pepperdine will be looking to claim its fifth NCAA National Championship, while the Warriors will be hunting for their first-ever national title. Hawaii is making its third trip to the NCAA Championship event, including its first trip since the 1996 season.
The Cougars finish the 2002 season with an overall record of 23-7, marking their third 20-win season in the past five years.