The marquee matches are throughout the nation tonight with a top-10 team playing in every American time zone.
No. 2 UC Irvine and No. 3 Stanford on the West Coast play for a shot at the top spot in next week’s national rankings, while No. 1 UCLA travels to Hawai’i looking for redemption. In addition, on the East Coast No. 5 Penn State continues its pursuit of a perfect EIVA season.
Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 2 UC Irvine (9-2, 5-2 MPSF) vs. No. 3 Stanford (9-2, 6-1 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match Tweets
What to know: After No. 1 UCLA lost earlier this week, the top spot in next week’s national rankings could be on the line with this UC Irvine and Stanford match. UC Irvine enters on a five-match winning streak, including sweeping a two-match road series against Hawai’i last week. In addition, UC Irvine outside attackers Carson Clark and Jeremy Dejno are averaging more than 3.25 kills per game and are both in the nation’s top 30 for kills per game average. Stanford begins the final weekend of a season-long 10-match road trip. The Cardinal during this road trip are 6-2 and on a five-match winning streak. Stanford setter Evan Berry also leads the nation with a 12.10 assits per game average as the Cardinal are third in the MPSF with a .350 attack percentage — .004 percentage points behind the Anteaters.
2. No. 1 UCLA (12-2, 7-1 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (6-7, 3-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Pay-per-view online video, Radio feed
What to know: UCLA three days after losing to Long Beach State will attempt to recover from the upset as it opens a two-match conference against Hawai’i. The Bruins started this week on a nation-best 10 match winning streak and leading the nation with a .369 attack percentage. However, UCLA in its loss to Long Beach State hit a season-low .204 attack percentage. Hawai’i will continue its season-long six-match homestand after losing the homestand’s opening two matches to UC Irvine last week. Outside attacker Steven Hunt had a team-high 27 combined kills in both losses. Hunt leads the MPSF and is third in the nation with a 4.27 kills per game average.
3. No. 5 Penn State (8-1, 2-0 EIVA) vs. Harvard (6-1, 1-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass.
Follow live: Live stats, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The two teams with the fewest losses in the nation will face each other in EIVA play. Penn State and Harvard are two of three Division I-II teams with one loss this season — and the only two teams from conferences with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Penn State, the 13-time defending EIVA champions, is on a nation-best six-match winning streak. In addition, the Nittany Lions have yet to loss a game in the EIVA — sweeping NJIT and Rutgers-Newark at home last weekend. Harvard lost its conference opener to George Mason but swept its Ivy League rival Princeton last weekend. In addition, Harvard outside attacker Matt Jones is second in the nation averaging 4.54 kills per game. This match will also the be first time Penn State has played a road match against Harvard.
4. No. 8 Ohio State (9-4, 1-0 MIVA) vs. Ball State (7-4, 1-2 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: The oldest Midwest rivalry in college volleyball will be renewed tonight as Ohio State plays host to Ball State. Ohio State won its MIVA opener against IPFW last week and has won seven of its last eight matches. Outside attacker Shawn Sangrey continues to lead the nation with a 4.85 kills per game average — almost a 2.50 kills per game average better than only other Buckeye. Ball State is 2-0 since announcing two weeks ago that it would change its entire offensive system to run a quicker offense to the pins. The Cardinals enter this match, though, on a 10-match losing streak to the Buckeyes dating back to 2008 — its longest losing streak against Ohio State in program history.
5. Long Beach State (6-6, 2-5 MPSF) vs. UC Santa Barbara (4-7, 2-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed
What to know: The roller coaster of season for Long Beach State will continue with a home match against UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach State upset UCLA on Tuesday to snap a two-match losing streak and earn its first conference victory against a top-10 ranked team. Coach Andy Read in the upset revamped his starting lineup and freshman outside attacker John La Rusch had a season-high 21 kills. UC Sant Barbara defeated Cal State Northridge on Wednesday for its second MPSF victory of the season. In addition, Gauchos outside attacker Miles Evans is among the MPSF and national leaders with a 3.92 kills per game average.
BEST OF THE REST
No. 3 BYU (8-3, 6-2 MPSF) vs. Cal Baptist (3-10)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: BYU will begin a season-long eight-match homestand as it begins a two-match series against Cal Baptist. The Cougars as a team lead the nation with a 3.17 blocks per game average and middle attacker is second in the nation with a 1.59 blocks per game average. Cal Baptist is in the midst of a 12-match road trip and lost to No. 9 Pepperdine in five games on Wednesday.