Hawaii was awarded the top seed in the NCAA men’s volleyball championship as an at-large selection today.
The seven-team NCAA bracket was announced this morning and the Rainbow Warriors (15-1) will continue their season in the national semifinals on May 6 against the winner of an opening-round match between UC Santa Barbara (15-4) and Pepperdine (13-6) in Columbus, Ohio. The semifinal match is scheduled for 11 a.m. Hawaii time and will be shown on NCAA.com.
The second seed went to BYU (19-3), which will also advance directly to the semifinals.
“It made sense, but any time you leave those kinds of decisions up to other people you’ve taken it out of your hands, and we’d always much rather be in control of our destiny, so there was some relief for sure,” UH coach Charlie Wade said of the Warriors being granted the top seed despite a loss in the Big West tournament semifinals on Friday.
Playing a schedule limited to other Big West members this season, UH went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in program history and spent most of the season at No. 1 in the NVA/AVCA DI-II Coaches Top 15 poll and the Off the Block media poll.
The Warriors were upset by No. 14 UC San Diego in five sets in the semifinals of the Big West tournament on Friday, denying them a shot at one of the five automatic bids into the NCAA tournament.
UC Santa Barbara went on to claim the Big West title on Saturday and will make its first NCAA appearance since 2011. The other automatic bids were secured by Belmont Abbey (Conference Carolinas), Penn State (EIVA), Lewis (MIVA) and BYU (MPSF).
UH was granted one of two at-large berths with the other going to Pepperdine of the MPSF.
The NCAA tournament opens on May 3 at Ohio State’s Covelli Center with a play-in match between Penn State (21-3) and Belmont Abbey (15-7). The winner advances to face Lewis (20-2) on May 4 with BYU awaiting the survivor in the semifinals.
The national championship will be decided on May 8. The final is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be shown on ESPNU.