The NCAA men's volleyball championship has a definite Newport-Mesa feel with no fewer than a dozen players dotting the rosters of the four participants, who open play in Thursday's semifinals at Penn State.
The most prominent locals are the UC Santa Barbara starting middle blocker duo of Scott Slaughter and Dylan Davis, both Corona del Mar High products.
Slaughter, a 6-foot-7 senior, led the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a .505 regular-season hitting percentage en route to second-team all-conference recognition. He had 228 kills and a team-high 101 total blocks during the regular season.
Davis, a 6-9 sophomore, helped the Gauchos (17-14), upset top-ranked USC in the MPSF Tournament final Saturday. Davis enters with 174 kills, a .478 hitting percentage and 93 total blocks.
UCSB also knocked off BYU, ranked No. 2 nationally, in the MPSF quarterfinals in Provo, Utah.
UCSB, which also includes CdM High products and reserve outside hitters Blaine and Weston Nielsen, will take on USC (23-3), which lists five local products on its roster, in one semifinal. Blaine Nielsen has played 18 sets, starting three matches, and has totaled 26 kills.