Cougars Receive At-Large Bid to NCAA Championships

PROVO -- After posting the nation's highest winning percentage and recording a 15-4 (.789) record against nationally-ranked teams, the top-ranked BYU men's volleyball team was today selected as the only at-large team to the NCAA Championship Tournament, beginning Thursday, May 3 in Long Beach, Calif. The Cougars (21-4) will enter the Final Four as the No. 2 seed and will face the No. 3 seed Penn State (24-7) in the national semifinals, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (PDT) at the Pyramid.

"We are obviously pleased with the committee's selection," BYU head coach Carl McGown said. "Despite our loss to Hawai'i, we still felt like we had the necessary wins and had accomplished the things to receive the at-large selection. However, when your fate is determined by a committee, nothing is ever guaranteed. So, we just didn't know what would happen until we got the official word. This is a great day for BYU volleyball."

The Cougars dropped a four-game match to second-ranked Hawai'i on Thursday, leaving their fate in the hands of the NCAA Championship Tournament Selection Committee. After reviewing the criteria established by the NCAA, the committee selected BYU as the final participant for the Final Four.

After defeating Hawai'i on Saturday, 3-1, UCLA will enter the tournament as the top seed and will face No. 4 Ohio State, which knocked off Loyola-Chicago in the finals of the MIVA Championships on Saturday to earn the automatic bid.

BYU becomes the first intercollegiate sport at the University to make two trips to a final-four event. The Cougars won the 1999 National Championship in 1999, defeating Long Beach State, 3-0.

Thursday's match will mark the second meeting with the Nittany Lions at the Final Four. The Cougars eliminated Penn State in the national semifinals during the 1999 National Championship tournament, 3-1, marking BYU's first-ever win over the Lions. Penn State owns a 4-1 advantage in the series, dating back to 1990. Penn State earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships by knocking off Concordia, 3-0, earning its 13th EIVA title.

The Cougars will be making their second appearance to the national tournament in the past three season. BYU won the 1999 NCAA National Championship, defeating Long Beach State, 3-0 in the championship match.

Ticket information is available by contacting the Long Beach State ticket office, or by visiting the 49ers website at:

Thursday's match will be broadcast (tape-delayed) on Friday, May 4, beginning at 11 a.m. (MDT) on ESPN2. Chris Marlow will call the action, while Heather Cox will lend expert analysis to the broadcast. (Currently there are no live broadcast plans for Thursday's match.) Saturday's championship match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, beginning at 5 p.m. (MDT). There will be no webcast of Thursday's game.

2001 BYU Men's Volleyball Quick Facts