One of the biggest non-conference weeks of the season will come to a close tonight.
Following Penn State and Lewis defeating two top 10 ranked MPSF teams in the Active Ankle Challenge, the EIVA and MIVA teams will each play another nationally ranked West Coast team tonight. Not to be overlooked in conference play, though, is a match between two of most efficient offensive teams in the nation as No. 1 USC and No. 7 UC Irvine play each other.
Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
[Editor Note: All match start times are local times]
1. No. 1 USC (13-1, 13-1 MPSF) vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (12-9, 9-6 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: The two best offensive teams in the MPSF will play against each other tonight. USC is leading the nation with a .377 attack percentage and UC Irvine is fourth in the nation with a .351 attack percentage. In addition, the Anteaters outside attacker Carson Clarke and the Trojans outside attacker Murphy Troy are in the nation’s top 10 averaging more than four kills per game. USC defeated UC Irvine in four games in their previous meeting this season.
2. No. 5 Long Beach State (9-8, 8-5 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Penn State (15-4, 7-0 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets
What to know: This match will conclude the two-day Active Ankle Challenge and might be one of the most important this week in terms of the rankings. Penn State after defeating No. 6 UC Santa Barbara on Friday could finish with a winning record against the MPSF if it beats Long Beach State. Long Beach State lost its opener of its home tournament to Lewis in five games. The 49ers also have lost three of its last four matches — losing all three in five games.
3. No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (11-9, 9-7 MPSF) vs. Lewis (13-5, 3-2 MIVA)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: One day after they defeated their first top 10 opponent of the season, the Flyers will play another team ranked in the top 10. Lewis beat No. 5 Long Beach State in five games to end its four match losing streak against top 10 teams. UC Santa Barbara lost to No. 9 Penn State in four games Friday and has lost three of its last four matches.
4. Pepperdine (6-10, 4-10 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (6-15, 3-12 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malubi, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: With eight conference matches left, Pepperdine is in ninth place in the MPSF and two matches out of the final spot for the conference tournament. The Waves have never missed the MPSF Tournament in their program history. UC San Diego is on a seven match losing streak and is in last place in the MPSF. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season with Pepperdine winning the first match in four games.
5. No. 10 Hawai’i (9-9, 7-6 MPSF) vs. Pacific (7-13, 3-11 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed
What to know: Outside attacker Jonas Umlauft had a match-high 28 kills as Hawai’i defeated Pacific in four games Friday in the opener of their two-match weekend series. Umlauft is leading the nation with 5.29 kills per game average — the only player averaging more than five kills per game. In the loss, outside attacker Taylor Hughes had a team-high 21 kills and six blocks. If Hawai’i wins the match tonight, it would be the first time this season the Warriors, a preseason top-10 team, would have a winning record.