Brigham Young University
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Pennsylvania State University
Anonymous | Posted: 3 May 2001 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Cougars Outlast Penn State in National Semifinal


LONG BEACH -- The second-ranked BYU men's volleyball team knocked off Penn State in the semi-final round of the NCAA National Championship Tournament on Thursday, 3-1 (30-28, 28-30, 30-28, 30-26), at the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif and will take on UCLA for the National Championship on Saturday. The Cougars will advance to the National Championship match on Saturday, May 5, taking on top-seeded and 18-time National Champion, UCLA. The Bruins earned the right to advance to the national final after nailing Ohio State, 3-1, earlier today.

"I think tonight's match was very well played by both teams," said BYU head coach Carl McGown. "Penn State is a very good team and threw some things at us that we just don't see very often. Fortunately we came up with some nice defensive plays and were able to win the match. There were several times throughout the match it could have gone either way."

The Cougars had three players in double digits, including Joaquin Acosta who led the teamwith 17 kills on 32 swings. All-American Mike Wall chipped in 15, while two-time All-American Scott Bunker added 10. BYU hit .383 on the night, while the Nittany Lions totaled a .390 average, led by Carlos Guerra who compiled a match-high 25 kills on 45 attempts (.422).

While both teams tried to figure out the other's offensive attack, the Cougars' defense came up big in games three and four, totaling a combined 18.0 blocks to Penn State's 5.0. Bunker led all defenders with 11 blocks, including two solos and nine assists. Acosta, along with senior Mac Wilson, the starting middle blocker for the Cougars during their NCAA title run in 1999, racked up five blocks. Penn State was unable to overcome 26 service errors on the night, including a combined 16 errors by Jose Qinones and Zach Slenker.

The win marked only the second victory over the Nittany Lions in BYU men's volleyball history, dating back to the 1990 season. Ironically, the first and only other victory over Penn State came in the national semifinals of the 1999 NCAA Final Four in Los Angeles. The Cougars defeated PSU, 3-1, and went on to knock off Long Beach State to win their first-ever National Championship. The Cougars improve to 22-4 on the season, while the Nittany Lions fall to 24-8.

The Cougars will face top-ranked UCLA on Saturday in the National Championship match at The Pyramid, beginning at 4 p.m. (PDT). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Chris Marlowe and Heather Cox calling the action.

#10 Penn State vs Brigham Young (May 3, 2001 at NCAA Final Four 

Anonymous | Posted: 29 Apr 2001 | Updated: 2 Nov 2011

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