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UCLA men’s volleyball earns No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament

The UCLA men’s volleyball team cheers after clinching its first conference championship since 2006. With the win, the Bruins got the automatic conference bid to the national tournament and on Sunday secured the top seed. (Myka Fromm/Daily Bruin)

By Amelie Ionescu

April 23, 2023 10:52 a.m.

This post was updated April 23 at 9:54 p.m.

The Bruins are back on top.

After clinching the MPSF tournament title, UCLA men’s volleyball (29-2, 12-0 MPSF) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Touting the best RPI in the nation, going 9-2 against teams under tournament consideration and holding an undefeated home and neutral-site record, the Bruins also clinched the No. 1 seed for the first time in over a decade.

[Related: With victory over Stanford, UCLA men’s volleyball emerges as conference champion]

With the seeding, UCLA will receive a first-round and quarterfinal bye, leaving it in the semifinals to begin the tournament. Despite the perceived advantage, coach John Speraw said prior to the conference tournament that having one extra match might benefit UCLA’s opponents.

The blue and gold will face off against the winner of Long Beach State and Grand Canyon on Thursday to begin its quest for a national title. The Bruins swept the season series against both teams, dropping only one set en route to the two victories.

Out of the top four teams in the nation, only the Beach failed to automatically qualify, with Penn State and No. 2 seed Hawai’i winning their respective conference tournaments. Long Beach State – the program that knocked UCLA out of contention in last year’s NCAA semifinal round – received the first at-large bid with Grand Canyon snagging the second. The final two automatic qualifiers were Ohio State and King.

The Bruins enter the national tournament on the back of their best postseason success in the Speraw era, clinching their first conference title since 2006 – the same year UCLA last secured a national championship.

“Our opportunity to win an MPSF championship was really valuable for our continued growth as a team,” Speraw said.

UCLA will begin its bid for Speraw’s first ring as head coach of the program May 4 in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Amelie Ionescu | Sports senior staff
Ionescu was previously an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats, and a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
Ionescu was previously an assistant Sports editor on the men's volleyball, women's volleyball, swim and dive and rowing beats, and a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
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