No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Long Beach State vie for NCAA men’s volleyball title (2024)

LONG BEACH — The Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State has donned a number of hats this week, and the 30-year-old arena has worn them well.

The Pyramid will show itself off again on Saturday afternoon when the top-seeded UCLA and second-seeded Long Beach State men’s volleyball teams collide in their nationally televised national championship match.

The defending champion Bruins (25-5) and LBSU (27-2) split their regular-season matches in February, each winning in four sets on their home court. UCLA will be making its 28th appearance in the national title match compared with 10 for Long Beach, which has won 19 consecutive matches at the Pyramid.

Because the field was increased from six to eight teams this year, the Pyramid has already hosted more matches this week than any other NCAA men’s volleyball tournament, each attracting an energetic fan base and others who just enjoy watching elite competition.

Many longtime observers said Thursday’s scintillating semifinal match between Long Beach and third-seeded Grand Canyon was the loudest it’s ever been inside the Pyramid, especially as LBSU rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win the final three sets.

“I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts,” Long Beach outside hitter Nathan Harlan said of the environment after he blocked a shot to cap a decisive run in the third set. “I kind of looked around to see why I couldn’t hear anything and I just saw thousands of Long Beach fans cheering on.”

Harlan said theenergy caused him to briefly freeze in the moment.

“I tried to turn and I got goosebumps,” he said. “I couldn’t move for a second because I was really soaking in the environment and how good that felt.”

The Pyramid has also served as a safe haven for athletes and coaches this week, particularly those from UCLA and Long Beach State, where campuses have been disrupted by pro-Palestinian supporters.

While UCLA was wrapping up its five-set victory over UC Irvine in the first semifinal Thursday afternoon, a large group of protesters blocked the main entrance to the Pyramid, forcing spectators to find alternative exits.

The Bruins have two Israeli players, Ido David and Guy Genis, who play major roles on their team.

“This is a really difficult situation for everybody involved,” UCLA coach John Speraw said. “As this has been developing over the course of last week, we’ve been down here in Long Beach, so we’ve been a little more sequestered away from all that. … I keep checking in with (Genis and David) and they seem to be doing OK, right now.”

David and Genis combined for 12 kills and three hitting errors in the win against fourth-seeded UCI. The duo also combined for nine of UCLA’s 23 blocks in the match.

After winning the 20th NCAA title in program history last season in Fairfax, Virginia, the Bruins (25-5) are also thrilled to be competing for a championship closer to home.

“Definitely don’t miss the flight, the jet lag, or anything like that,” Speraw said. “It puts a lot more pressure on the tickets. All of sudden, your second cousin you haven’t seen in a while wants to show up.”

Of course, the Pyramid is also home to LBSU, a place where Alan Knipe has coached since 2001 and practically raised his son, Aidan, a redshirt senior setter for Long Beach.

Alan Knipe won his second national title as a coach inside the Pyramid in 2019, a year before Aidan joined the program. They played for a national title at UCLA in 2022, but were swept by Hawai’i. Last season, Long Beach was swept by the Bruins in the semifinals.

Winning a title inside the Pyramid would be the perfect way to cap their five-year run together.

“I’d be lying to say my wife and I are not excited about that, but she has to carry that emotional side,” Knipe said. “I get to at least think I have something to do in the match, and some control that keeps my mind from wandering into fatherhood.”

The expansion of the tournament has also brought more exposure to the sport, which should only increase its participants.

Fort Valley State made its first trip to the NCAA Championships in just its third year with a program, becoming the first HBCU institution to compete in the tournament.

“Recruits have now seen them here, that makes a difference,” Speraw said of Fort Valley State, which UCLA swept to open tournament play Tuesday. “All of this is really the next step for the development of their program.”

Grand Canyon has only been fielding a team since 2009 and didn’t join the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation until 2017, but the only men’s volleyball program in Arizona beat UCLA in the MPSF championship match two weeks ago and pushed Long Beach to its limits Thursday.

“We are growing,” Knipe said of the sport. “We had the first real tournament on Tuesday with everybody playing in the quarters. … Numbers are growing, boys volleyball all across the country, states are adding high school boys volleyball at a big number.”

Knipe said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the tournament field grow to 12 teams in the coming years.

“I hope it continues to grow,” Knipe said. “For those people that are logging all those hours to make it happen, keep going. We appreciate it and it’s noticed.”


Who: No. 1 UCLA (25-5) vs. No. 2 Long Beach State (27-2)

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where: Walter Pyramid, Long Beach State


No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Long Beach State vie for NCAA men’s volleyball title (2024)


No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Long Beach State vie for NCAA men’s volleyball title? ›

2 Long Beach State dropped a hard-fought, 3-1 [21-25, 20-25, 29-27, 21-25] contest to No. 1 UCLA in the 2024 National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. The Beach rallied but were unable to overcome a 2-0 deficit as the Bruins claimed their second-straight title.

Who won the 2024 NCAA men's volleyball championship? ›

– The top-seeded UCLA men's volleyball team won the 2024 Men's National Collegiate Volleyball Championship in four sets on Saturday over No. 2 seed Long Beach State in Walter Pyramid. Scores of the match were 25-21, 25-20, 27-29, 25-21.

Who won the NCAA beach volleyball championship? ›

Championship history
2021Southern CaliforniaUCLA
2020Canceled due to Covid-19--
2019UCLASouthern California
2018UCLAFlorida State
5 more rows
2 days ago

Which school has won the most NCAA men's volleyball championships How many? ›

(1) UCLA men's volleyball beat (2) Long Beach State 3-1 in the 2024 NC men's volleyball national championship on Saturday, May 4. The Bruins are now back-to-back champions and extend their program titles to 21, extending the all-time record for NCAA men's volleyball national titles.

Is Long Beach men's volleyball d1? ›

The Long Beach State men's volleyball team is the NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball Team for Long Beach State University. Alan Knipe has been the head coach since 2001, he did step away for a three year period (2010-2012) to coach the U.S. Men's National Team.

Where is the 2024 NCAA beach volleyball championship? ›

The 2024 NC beach volleyball championship bracket was revealed on April 28 in a selection show on The championship gets underway May 3-5 in Gulf Shores, Alabama at Gulf Shores Public Beach.

Who won the men's volleyball tournament? ›

NC Men's VolleyballChampionship History
YearChampion (Record)Site
2019Long Beach State (28-2)Long Beach State
2018Long Beach State (28-1)UCLA
2017Ohio State (32-2)Ohio State
2016Ohio State (29-3)Penn State
50 more rows

Who won the NCAA Division 1 volleyball championship? ›

Why is the NCAA beach volleyball championship leaving Gulf Shores? ›

“We have been thrilled with our time in Gulf Shores, but as part of the bid process for almost all NCAA sports, we were open to new locations to bring this great championship to other parts of the country,” Fasbender said.

How many teams are in the NCAA beach volleyball tournament? ›

The NCAA Beach Volleyball Committee announced today the 17-team field for the 2024 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship.

Is UCLA men's volleyball good? ›

UCLA (26-5) has won 21 NCAA men's volleyball titles, the most all time. Second-place Pepperdine has five championships. Zach Rama's back-to-back kills gave the Bruins, ranked No. 2 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, the lead for good at 22-20 in the fourth and final set.

Who has the most men's beach volleyball wins? ›

Men's Victories
1Karch Kiraly, United States148
2Sinjin Smith, United States139
3Randy Stoklos, United States122
7 more rows

What is the average height for D1 men's volleyball? ›

D1/D2: 6'3″ (Range 5'10-6'9”). Ability to locate a consistent, hittable ball, serve tough and play defense are more important athletic benchmarks than the jump touch.

Is UCLA men's volleyball D1? ›

When Pauley is not available, they play in the Wooden Center. Scates had more wins than any other NCAA Division I men's volleyball coach, with a record (since 1970, since no records were kept from 1953 to 1969) of 1,239–290.

Why is Long Beach State called Beach? ›

Technically, Long Beach State's sports teams are known as "Beach Athletics," but they have become colloquially known as "The Beach" since 2014. That change came amid simmering tensions about the team's chief mascot, Prospector Pete, and the program's 49ers moniker.

Where are volleyball nationals 2024? ›

2024 Girls 18s National Championship: April 26-28 in Baltimore, Md. 2024 Girls Junior National Championship for 14-17: July 3-11 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Who won the NCAA women's volleyball championship in 2024? ›

(1) USC walked away with its fourth consecutive national championship title after downing (2) UCLA, 3-0. The Spartans finished the 2024 season with a 37-5 overall record and hold the most national championship wins in NC beach volleyball history. This was UCLA's fifth appearance in the national championship.

Who won the NCAA volleyball tournament this year? ›

How to qualify for volleyball olympics 2024? ›

Six Olympic quota places per gender are contested during the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers where the top 24 teams as per the FIVB Volleyball Senior World Ranking (WR) not yet qualified are split into three single round-robin pools of eight teams each. The top two teams of each pool qualify for Paris 2024.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Stevie Stamm

Last Updated:

Views: 5899

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Stevie Stamm

Birthday: 1996-06-22

Address: Apt. 419 4200 Sipes Estate, East Delmerview, WY 05617

Phone: +342332224300

Job: Future Advertising Analyst

Hobby: Leather crafting, Puzzles, Leather crafting, scrapbook, Urban exploration, Cabaret, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is Stevie Stamm, I am a colorful, sparkling, splendid, vast, open, hilarious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.