Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

After several upsets last week, it doesn’t get much easier for the top ranked teams in the nation.

No. 1 Stanford will try to stay atop the national rankings as it plays host to No. 9 Pepperdine, while No. 4 BYU and No. 3 UC Irvine will both attempt to avoid upsets at home.

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


1. No. 1 Stanford (11-2, 8-1 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Pepperdine (7-5, 5-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: The new No. 1 in the polls Stanford will look to cement itself atop the national rankings as it returns home to play Pepperdine. Stanford jumped up in the national rankings after going 8-2 during a season-long 40 day road trip, including sweeping then-No. 2 UC Irvine last weekend. The Cardinal are also leading the conference and second in the nation with a .365 attack percentage. The Waves will play their first match in almost 10 days. Pepperdine in its last match rallied to defeat Cal Baptist in five games and snap its three-match losing streak. The Waves are winless this season on the road against top-10 ranaked teams.

2. No. 4 BYU (10-3, 6-2 MPSF) vs. UC Santa Barbara (4-8, 2-6 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: BYU will finally get its rematch against UC Santa Barbara after the Cougars were upset on their home court against the Gauchos in the MPSF Tournament last season. The loss was the first time that season a team defeated BYU at home and it eliminated the Cougars from consideration for the at-large bid to the Final Four. BYU enters tonight having won four consecutive matches without All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander, who injured his hand earlier this month. UC Santa Barbara, which only has one returning starter from last season’s team, is in 10th place in the MPSF standings.

3. No. 3 UC Irvine (11-3, 7-3 MPSF) vs. No. 10 Long Beach State (7-6, 3-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
6 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Coach Andy Read’s revamped lineup will attempt to extend Long Beach State’s winning streak to three matches and upset another top-five ranked team as it plays UC Irvine. Read last week overhauled a majority of his starting lineup and the 49ers defeated then-No. 1 UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Outside attacker John La Rusch has a team-high 29 combined kills in the two victories, including a match-high 21 kills against UCLA. This will be the final match of a four-match homestand for UC Irvine. UC Irvine after losing to Stanford last week to open the homestand swept Pacific on Saturday and Cal State Northridge on Wednesday.

4. No. 5 Penn State (10-1, 4-0 EIVA) vs. Princeton (3-3, 2-1 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match Tweets
What to know: The Nittany Lions with a sweep tonight can achieve a feat for the third time in the last five years: open conference play with five consecutive sweeps. Penn State has yet to lose a set in its first four EIVA matches and has once allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points in a set. The 2009 Penn State squad remains the only team in NCAA history during the rally scoring era to go an entire conference season without losing a set. Princeton is in third place in the conference after defeating Rutgers-Newark in five games last weekend. In addition, Tigers outside attacker Cody Kessel is 15th in the nation with a 3.74 kills per game average.

5. No. 6 USC (7-4, 5-4 MPSF) vs. Pacific (5-9, 3-6 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Stockton, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Two of the top blockers in the nation will face each other as USC travels to play Pacific for a conference match. USC freshman middle attacker Robert Feathers leads the nation with a 1.77 blocks per game average, while Pacific middle attacker Sean Daley leads the nation with 15 solo blocks. Daley is also sixth in the nation a with 1.45 blocks per game average. USC enters this match having won four of its last five matches and is tied for fifth place in the MPSF. Pacific lost to UC Irvine last weekend to snap a two-match winning streak and is in eighth place in the conference, the final spot to qualify for the MPSF Tournament.