It’s all about the story lines on the sidelines tonight in college men’s volleyball.
UCLA coach Al Scates and Pepperdine coach Marv Dunphy will face each other for the final time in a coaching rivalry stretching back 35 years. In addition, Mike Wilton after being the Hawai’i head coach for 17 years will make his first trip back to the islands as a BYU assistant coach.
Check out the top five matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 2 UCLA (18-4, 12-3 MPSF) vs. No. 8 Pepperdine (11-9, 7-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video
What to know: Two of the greatest coaches in NCAA volleyball history will face each other for the final time in the regular season. Pepperdine and coach Marv Dunphy will travel to play UCLA and coach Al Scates, who will retire at the end of the season. Scates and Dunphy have a combined more than 75 years of head coaching experience and more than 1,500 career victories. In addition, both coaches are in the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the AVCA Hall of Fame. Scates leads the all-time series against Dunphy 54-31 dating back to 1977. UCLA enters this Scates versus Dunphy finale after losing to then-No. 2 UC Irvine on Saturday and No. 3 USC on Wednesday — the first time this season the Bruins lost back-to-back matches. Pepperdine has won three of its last four matches, including a sweep against UC Santa Barbara earlier this week. That victory against the Gauchos snapped the Waves’ three-match MPSF losing streak. This match will also serve as the annual Kilgour Cup. The Kilgour Cup is the nation’s oldest college men’s volleyball charity match and raises money for a disabled student at UCLA.
2. No. 4 BYU (15-4, 11-3 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (7-12, 4-10 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The most intriguing story line for this two-match weekend MPSF series has nothing to do with the players on the court. Mike Wilton after winning a program-record 300 matches as Hawai’i’s head coach will return to Honolulu for the first time as a BYU assistant coach. Wilton coached Hawai’i for 17 years before retiring in 2009. The Warriors in 2002 under Wilton won the program’s only national championship, but the title was later vacated because of NCAA rule violations. BYU is on a four-match winning streak since the return of All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander from a hand injury. Sander also has a team-high 60 combined kills in those four matches. Hawai’i returns to Honolulu after upsetting Stanford in its last match. The Warriors are also a half-match behind Cal State Northridge for the final MPSF Tournament berth.
3. Grand Canyon (12-9, 3-1 MIVA) vs. IPFW (10-8, 2-2 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live chat, In-match Tweets
What to know: IPFW and Grand Canyon will battle for better seeding in the upcoming MIVA Tournament as the two teams open a two-match conference series. With five weeks remaining in the regular season, the Mastodons are tied for fourth place in the conference, while the surprising Antelopes are tied for second place. For more on this match, check out this preview story in today’s issue of The News-Sentinel.
4. No. 3 USC (14-4, 11-4 MPSF) vs. UC Santa Barbara (5-14, 3-12 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed
What to know: USC will play UC Santa Barbara with a chance to finish its three-match road trip undefeated and bring the nation-best winning streak to double digits. USC swept its cross-town rival No. 2 UCLA on Wednesday to extend its winning streak to nine matches and have defeated five top-10 ranked teams during the streak. In addition, outside attacker Toni Ciarelli is third in the nation with a 4.00 kills per game average. UC Santa Barbara is on a five-match conference losing streak following a three-game loss to Pepperdine on Wednesday. The Gauchos are also 1.5 matches behind Cal State Nothridge for the final spot in the MPSF Tournament.
5. UC San Diego (5-16, 3-13) vs. Cal State Northridge (8-12, 4-9)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Northridge, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: The biggest spoiler in the race for the final spot in the MPSF Tournament will look to continue to wreak havoc. Last-place UC San Diego after having an 11-match MPSF losing streak has won its last two conference matches, including defeating No. 10 Long Beach State on Thursday. Cal State Northridge enters this weekend with a half-match lead on ninth-place Hawai’i for the final spot in the MPSF Tournament. This will be one of the four matches remaining on the Matadors schedule that will be against a non-top-10 nationally ranked team.