Conference tournament men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

The spotlight will be on the each coast tonight in college men’s volleyball as the conference tournaments resume.

Four teams still vying for an at-large spot or automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament will meet in the MPSF Tournament semfinals in Los Angeles. In addition, Penn State out on the East Coast looks avoid the upset and move one step closer to its 14th straight EIVA championship.

Check out the conference tournament matches from around the nation to follow tonight.



No. 1 seed USC (23-4, 18-4 MPSF) vs. No. 4 seed UC Irvine (22-5, 17-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. in Los Angeles
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (UC Irvine won in four games in January and USC won in four games in April)
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The top serving team in the nation will go up against the top individual server in the nation. UC Irvine leads the nation with a 1.70 aces per game average and had eight aces in a four-game victory against USC at the beginning of the season. Trojans outside attacker Tony Ciarelli led the nation with a 0.65 aces per game average and set with the MPSF record with 11 aces in a single-match earlier this month. Ciarelli and UC Irvine outside attacker Carson Clark were also the only playes in the nation to have at least 50 aces this season. This is the second consecutive year that the USC will host to the MPSF Tournament and play UC Irvine in the semifinals. The Trojans last season beat the Anteaters en route to their second Final Four appearance in the last three years.

No. 2 seed Stanford (21-6, 17-5 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed BYU (24-6, 17-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Los Angeles
Season series: Stanford leads BYU 2-0 (Stanford won in four games and three games in February)
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: There will be a national viewing audience for the conference tournament match that could easily be a defacto play-in match for the NCAA Tournament at-large bid. Both Stanford and BYU remain in contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament — if they do not win the MPSF Tournament — but would likely have to win tonight to have make the four-team tournament. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since Stanford swept a two-match road series against BYU in February. However, BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander did not play in that match because of a hand injury. Sander is averaging 18.7 kills in his first match against an opponent this season. Stanford ended the regular season second in the nation with a .343 attack percentage and hit more than .300 in both regular season matches against BYU.

EIVA Tournament

No. 1 seed Penn Sate (21-5, 14-0 EIVA) vs. No. 4 seed Princeton (13-9, 7-7 EIVA)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Season series: Penn State leads 2-0 (won in three games in February and five games in March)
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The 13-time defending EIVA champions Penn State will try to make it back to the conference championship match by beating the only school it has lost to the EIVA Tournament during the last 20 years. Penn State and Princeton will meet in today’s second EIVA Tournament semifinal match — 14 years after Princeton upset Penn State in the 1998 EIVA Tournament semifinals. The Nittany Lions are on a 58-match conference winning streak dating back to 2008. However, Princeton in March forced Penn State to a decisive fifth game and had multiple match-point opportunities before the Nittany Lions won the match. This match will also feature two of the top outside attackers in the conference. Penn State All-American outside attacker Joe Sunder was named the 2012 EIVA Player of the Year, while Princeton outside attacker Cody Kessel led all freshman in the nation in kills per game average.

No. 2 seed Harvard (18-5, 10-4 EIVA) vs. No. 3 seed George Mason (12-16, 8-6 EIVA)
Match vitals:
5:30 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (George Mason won in three games in February and Harvard won in five games in March)
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Harvard will be vying for its first EIVA postseason victory in program history as it plays a team with EIVA Tournament experience in George Mason. Harvard, which was nationally ranked in the coaches poll for the first time in its program history, ended the regular season winning six of its final eight matches to clinch the No. 2 seed. This will also be the first time it is the higher seed in an EIVA Tournament match. George Mason reached the EIVA Tournament semifinals for the 10th consecutive years but has had problems in semifinal matches. The Patriots have lost three consecutive EIVA Tournament semifinal matches, including upset losses to Juniata and Springfield.