Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

The conference tournaments are still two weeks away but this weekend will have a postseason feel because of all the big matches with conference tournament seeding implications.

No. 3 BYU will open a two-match series at No. 4 UCLA with a chance to win the MPSF regular season title, while No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Lewis will continue to battle for first place in the MIVA.

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


1. No. 3 UCLA (20-5, 14-4 MPSF) vs. No. 4 BYU (20-5, 16-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: Coach Al Scates’ final regular season home matches during his 50-year Hall of Fame career could not get any bigger. UCLA and BYU will open a two-match weekend with both teams having a chance to finish the weekend in first place in the MPSF. BYU is tied with UC Irvine for first place and can clinch the conference regular season title if it sweeps the series at the Wooden Center. In addition, UCLA enters the weekend in fourth place in the MPSF but could end the weekend with a share of first place if it sweeps the series. BYU has won nine of its last 10 matches, including two victories against Cal State Northridge last weekend. A big reason for the Cougars’ success has been the play of outside attacker Taylor Sander. Sander after missing all of February with a hand injury returned to the court and had a nation-high 176 combined kills during March. UCLA last weekend split two conference matches — getting upset at UC San Diego and then sweeping then-No. 1 UC Irvine. The Bruins in their loss to the Tritons were without their starter setter Kyle Caldwell because of an Achilles tendon injury. However, Caldwell returned to the court for the UC Irvine match and had a match-high 68 assists as he guided the Bruins to a .378 attack percentage in the victory.

2. No. 8 Ohio State (17-8, 7-3 MIVA) vs. Grand Canyon (15-13, 5-4 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Ohio State and Grand Canyon will conclude their two-match conference series after the Buckeyes won the opener in five games to remain in first place in the MIVA. Ohio State outside attacker Shawn Sangrey in the victory had a match-high 24 kills. This was 12th time this season that Sangrey had more than 20 kills in a match — the most of any player in the nation. In addition, the Buckeyes out-hit the Antelopes .261 to .171, including holding Grand Canyon to a -.100 attack percentage in the fifth game. If Ohio State wins tonight, it will be one match away from clinching its sixth consecutive MIVA regular season title — a feat that no program has achieved in the conference’s 53-year history. Grand Canyon enters tonight in fourth place in the MIVA. However, the Antelopes will likely have to win one of their remaining three MIVA matches to finish the season in fourth place and host a MIVA Tournament quarterfinals match.


3. No. 9 Lewis (20-6, 6-3 MIVA) vs. Ball State (11-8, 4-5 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Lewis and Ball State will renew one of the most heated rivalries in the nation. The Ball State and Lewis rivalry in the last five seasons has featured everything from a player having to be restrained from starting an on-the-court fight during a match to the Cardinals eliminating the Flyers from the MIVA Tournament in the 2007-09 seasons. This match tonight will also have increased significance because of the conference tournament seeding on the line. Lewis lost two conference matches last week to move into second place in the MIVA. The Flyers because of tie-breakers will now likely have to win their three remaining MIVA matches to have a chance to win the conference regular season title. Ball State is tied for fifth place in the MIVA and one-match behind Grand Canyon for fourth place — the final seed that is guaranteed a home match in the MIVA Tournament.

4. Pacific (7-17, 4-14 MPSF) vs. Cal State Nothridge (10-15, 6-12 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Stockton, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Pacific’s chances of making its first MPSF Tournament in almost 10 years could vanish tonight if it doesn’t defeat Cal State Northridge. The Tigers with four remaining MPSF matches are in 10th place and trail the Matadors by two matches for eighth place and the final spot in the MPSF Tournament. Pacific has lost its last five conference matches. In addition, Cal State Northridge defeated Pacific in five games in February. However, the Matadors are a conference-worst 1-9 on the road this season with that lone win coming February.

5. No. 5 Stanford (16-6, 13-5 MPSF) vs. No. 10 Long Beach State (13-12, 8-10 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: It shouldn’t be a shock if this match between Long Beach State and Stanford goes five games. The last three times these two teams have each other the match went five games, including earlier this season when Stanford defeated Long Beach State. Stanford enters this match after sweeping Pacific on Tuesday. The Cardinal, though, have not won back-to-back matches in their last nine matches. Long Beach State is on a three-match winning streak. In addition, outside attacker Taylor Crabb has 45 combined kills during the streak, including a career-high 20 kills in a victory against Hawai’i last week.