Nine of the top 10 ranked teams are in action tonight, including two matches pitting these top teams against each other.
No. 1 BYU coming off a bye week will play host to No. 7 Stanford and will attempt to extend its six-match winning streak, while No. 2 UCLA will play its crosstown rival No. 4 USC in another Battle Los Angeles rivalry match.
Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 1 BYU (6-1, 4-0 MPSF) vs. No. 7 Stanford (5-2, 2-1 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: BYU following a bye week will resume its regular season with a two-match conference series against Stanford beginning Friday. BYU is on a six-match winning streak, including sweeping a two-match home series against then-No. 6 USC. Outside attacker Taylor Sander in that series had a team-high 48 combined kills and was named the MPSF Player of the Week. Sander also leads the nation with a 4.90 kills per game average. The Cardinal opened their season-long 10 match road trip at 2-2. Stanford last week went 1-1 at the Dunlap Invitational with a loss to No. 5 Penn State and rallied from a one-game deficit to defeat No. 9 Ohio State. This will also be the first meeting between Stanford and BYU since the Cardinal swept the two-match series last year.
2. No. 2 UCLA (10-1, 5-0 MPSF) vs. No. 4 USC (5-3, 4-3 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: This could be Al Scates’ final visit to USC’s Galen Center before the Hall of Fame coach retires — but with the way UCLA opened the season it looks poised to return to the arena for the Final Four in May. The Bruins are on a nation-best eight match winning streak, including defeating No. 8 Pepperdine on the road Wednesday. In addition, the Bruins middle attackers Thomas Amberg and Weston Dunlap are both in the MPSF top three hitting more than .550. USC defeated UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday to snap its three-match losing streaking — dropping all three matches to top-three ranked teams. Trojans freshman setter Micah Christenson is third in the MPSF with a 11.52 assists per game average, while outside attacker Tony Ciarelli is fourth in the MPSF averaging 4.12 kills per game.
3. No. 6 Lewis (6-2, 0-0 MIVA) vs. IPFW (4-2, 0-0 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live chat, In-match Tweets
What to know: Lewis and IPFW will open their conference season against each other — the first meeting between the two schools since playing in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals last season. Lewis won that postseason match last year and has opened this season with two non-conference victories against top-10 ranked teams. In addition, IPFW has won four of its last five matches. For more on this match, check this article in today’s The News-Sentinel.
4. No. 8 Pepperdine (6-3, 5-2) vs. UC Santa Barbara (2-6, 0-4)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video
What to know: Two teams with recent losing streaks will face each other in conference play. Pepperdine has lost two of its last three matches but both loses have been against top-five ranked teams — including a five-game loss to No. 2 UCLA on Wednesday. UC Santa Barbara is one a four-match losing streak and is one of two teams without a conference win the MPSF. In addition, the Gauchos have only defeated the Waves twice since 2006 with one of the victories coming last season.
5. No. 9 Ohio State (6-3, 0-0 MIVA) def. Cal Baptist (1-5)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match Tweets
What to know: Ohio State will open the Penn State Invitational with the two-time defending MIVA Offensive Player of the Week Shawn Sangrey. Sangrey lead the national last week with 56 combined kills — 26 kills in a victory against Pacific and a season-high 30 kills in a loss to then-No. 4 Stanford. Sangrey leads the MIVA averaging 4.66 kills per game and is the only player in the nation with more than 350 kill attempts. Cal Baptist is making its first trip to Penn State in its program history. All but one of the Lancers losses this season were against nationally ranked teams.
BEST OF THE REST
No. 5 Penn State (4-1, 0-0 EIVA) vs. Mount Olive (2-4, 1-0 Conference Carolinas)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Shake your head if you want, but this could be a preview to an NCAA Tournament match in two years. The Nittany Lions moved back into the top five of the national rankigns with victories against Stanford and Pacific last week, while Mount Olive is the two-time defending Conference Carolians champions.