Skip to main content

UCLA Men's Volleyball to Compete for NCAA Title Against Hawaii

The Bruins can take home their first national championship since 2006, while the Rainbow Warriors are going for a three-peat.

NCAA title No. 121 could be on the horizon when the Bruins take the court Saturday.

No. 1 seed UCLA men's volleyball (30-2, 12-0 MPSF) will compete for an NCAA championship when it faces off with No. 2 seed Hawaii (29-2, 9-1 Big West) in Fairfax, Virginia, on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Rainbow Warriors were one of two programs to defeat the Bruins in the regular season, giving the blue and gold a chance to enact some revenge and win their first national championship since 2006 in the process.

To get to the final match, the Bruins and coach John Speraw had to overcome old foes. UCLA finished runners-up to Long Beach State after five grueling sets in the 2018 NCAA tournament – its first championship berth since the 2006 National Championship victory.

On Thursday, the Bruins were matched up against none other than The Beach, who they also lost to in the 2022 semifinals.

However, the blue and gold made quick work of its West Coast rival this time around. UCLA swept LBSU in three sets (25-16, 25-14, 25-19), taking control from the first set onwards. The Bruins defeated The Beach in all three matchups this season – once at home, once on the road and again in their neutral-site NCAA semifinal battle.

UCLA was led by sophomore opposite Ivo David, who recorded a match-high 17 kills, while junior outside hitter Ethan Champlin was second-in-command and added 14 kills in the sweep.

Meanwhile, the Bruins set program highs throughout the 2023 campaign.

Speraw was named MPSF Coach of the Year and also earned national accolades, getting pegged the 2023 American Volleyball Coaches Association Men's Division I/II National Coach of the Year after leading UCLA to its first MPSF title since 2006.

Seven Bruins were named All-Americans, while David, Champlin, redshirt junior middle blocker Merrick McHenry and freshman setter Andrew Rowan were AVCA first-team selections.

UCLA finished undefeated in conference action for the first time since 1995 and its 30 wins are the most since the Bruins recorded 29 victories in the 2000 campaign.

Saturday, the Bruins will match up against the Rainbow Warriors, who defeated the blue and gold in Honolulu on March 11. Hawaii advanced to the national championship after it defeated Penn State – the other team that defeated the Bruins – in five sets. 

UCLA has a shot to end its historical season on a monumental high while defeating one of the only programs to set the Bruins back in 2023.

The only other program to bring a national championship back to Westwood this academic year has been women's soccer.

Follow Royer on Twitter at @thebenroyer
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @FN_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @FN.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA Olympic sports stories: UCLA Olympic Sports on Sports Illustrated