Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

The most anticipated day to open a NCAA men’s volleyball season is officially upon us.

The biggest event this weekend is the UC Santa Barbara Invitational, which features a No. 1 versus No. 2 match-up and a NCAA championship rematch. However, there are also several other non-conference and conference matches of interest today.

Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.


1. No. 1 BYU (0-0) vs. No. 2 UC Irvine (1-0)
Match vitals:
10 a.m. Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets (BYU), In-match Tweets (UC Irvine)
What to know: Could there be a better way to open the season. For the one of the first times in NCAA men’s volleyball history, the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams will play each other during the opening weekend. BYU is the defending UC Santa Barbara Invitational champions and returns three All-Americans, including 2011 AVCA Newcomer of the Year Taylor sander. In addition, the Anteaters outside attacker Kevin Carroll had a match-high 11 kills as UC Irvine swept Cal Baptist in its season opener Wednesday. This match on the opening weekend of the regular season could be one that fans see again in May at the Final Four.

2. No. 7 Ohio State (0-0) vs. UC Santa Barbara (0-0)
Match vitals:
10 a.m. Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: N/A
What to know: The same day there is a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match, there is also a NCAA championship match rematch at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. It’s a rematch on paper but Ohio State and UC Santa Barbara will have significantly different starting lineups than the last time they met in May. Ohio State lost four starters, while UC Santa Barbara lost six starters. Among the returning players includes two Off the Block Preseason All-Americans: Ohio State outside attacker Shawn Sangrey and UC Santa Barbara middle attacker Dylan Davis.

3. No. 8 Long Beach State (0-0) vs. No. 9 Loyola (0-0)
Match vitals:
10 a.m. Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets
What to know: Another potential Final Four match could take place in the opening round of the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Loyola was projected to win the MIVA and reach the Final Four in the MIVA Coaches Preseason Poll that was released Thursday. In addition, Long Beach finished sixth in the MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll but is a dark horse to win the confernce championship this year. Both teams went undefeated playing Canadian teams in exhibitions earlier this week. Loyola swept Windsor, while Long Beach State defeated British Columbia and Brandon.

4. No. 3 UCLA (0-0) vs. Cal State Northridge (0-0)
Match vitals:
10 a.m. Friday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: N/A
What to know: The farewell tour for Hall of Fame coach Al Scates officially begins today as UCLA opens its season at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Scates, the winningest coach in NCAA volleyball history, announced last year that 2012 would be his final season as the Bruins head coach. UCLA returns six starters and has been a preseason favorite to win its 20th NCAA championship in Scates’ final year. Cal State Northridge after finishing last year tied for last place in the MPSF, revamped its starting lineup. Among the additions includes adding Cal Baptist transfer Filip Tomicic to set and former German national team outside attacker Julius Hoefer.

5. Hawai’i (1-0, 1-0 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (0-1, 0-1 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Live radio feed, Online pay-per-view video
What to know: Hawai’i and UC San Diego will conclude their two-match series after the Warriors won the series opener in three games Thursday. Hawai’i out-hit UC San Diego .306 to .000 in the season-opening victory. In addition, Hawai’i outside attacker Johann Timmer had a match-high nine kills in his college debut, while freshman outside attacker JP Marks added eight kills. This series final match will also be nationally broadcasted live on Fox College Sports.