Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

Opening day is here and within the first hours of the season chaos has already hit the national rankings.

The UC Santa Barbara Invitational continues tonight with two semifinals matches, while No. 5 Lewis looks to recover in the tournament’s consolation bracket after being upset. In addition, BYU looks to begin its run at a conference title as it opens MPSF play.

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


1. No. 1 UC Irvine (2-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. No. 7 Long Beach State (1-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets
What to know: For the second consecutive season, UC Irvine and Long Beach State will play each other in the UC Santa Barbara Invitational semifinals. Long Beach State this morning became the first team to beat a nationally ranked team this season as it swept No. 10 Loyola in the quarterfinals, while UC Irvine in its quarterfinals match needed overtime in the first game but swept Cal Baptist. The Anteaters last season at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational defeated the 49ers in five games en route to winning the non-conference tournament.

2. No. 6 UCLA (1-0, 0-0 MSPF) vs. UC San Diego (1-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets
What to know: UCLA’s reward for rallying from a two-game deficit its quarterfinal match at the UC Santa Barbara Invitation: getting to play a team that upset them the last time they played. UCLA and UC San Diego will play each other the semifinals of the non-conference tournament after both won their quarterfinal matches this morning. Outside attacker Robart Page had a match-high 22 kills as UCLA rallied to defeat UC Santa Barbara in five games. In addition, freshman setter Steve O’Dell came off the bench at the start of the third game and helped the Bruins offense to out-hit the Gauchos .319 to .234. UC San Diego in its quarterfinals match pulled the upset of the tournament as it defeated No. 5 Lewis in five games. This will be the first meeting between UC San Diego and UCLA since the Tritons upset the Bruins in the final weeks of the 2012 regular season.

3. No. 5 Lewis (0-1, 0-0 MIVA) vs. UC Santa Barbara (0-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match Tweets
What to know: A couple hours into the regular season and Midwest volleyball fans have already hit the panic button. Lewis will play a consolation match against the host-school UC Santa Barbara after being upset against unranked UC San Diego in the opening round of the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Lewis, the preseason favorites to win the MIVA, entered this season the highest ranked non-West Coast team in the nation. UC Santa Barbara moved into the consolation bracket after it blew a two-game lead and lost to UCLA in five games this morning. Freshman middle attacker Ryan Hardy in the loss led the Gauchos with 13 kills and a .688 attack percentage.


4. No. 2 BYU (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The MPSF season officially gets underway as BYU and Hawai’i open their two-match series — and also officially launching tonight is Taylor Sander for National Player of the Year campaign. Sander returns for his junior season after being named a First-Team All-American last season and finishing second in the nation with a 4.89 kills per game average. Sander is one four starters returning for the Cougars. In addition, this season opener will be the college debut of BYU outside attacker Ben Patch. The true freshman during the fall helped lead the United States to a Junior NORCECA championship and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Hawai’i enters its season opener after finishing last season in last place in the MPSF. However, coach Charlie Wade brought in a top recruiting class in the off-season — including libero Kolby Kantetake, who was named a High School All-American.

5. George Mason (0-0, 0-0 EIVA) vs. Pacific (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Stockton, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: This non-conference match will be the first meeting between George Mason and Pacific in their two programs’ histories. George Mason opens the season at No. 14 in the national coaches poll — its first time in national rankings in more than two years. The Patriots return three all-conference senior starters, including multiple All-EIVA selection outside attacker Mark Jones. Pacific finished last season tied for 10th place in the MPSF. With a majority of starters returning, though, coach Joe Wortmann said during the preseason this team feels it has a chance to reach the eight-team MPSF Tournament. A feat Pacific has not achieved in almost 10 years.

BEST OF THE REST
No. 10 Loyola vs. Cal Baptist
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets
What to know: Both Loyola and Cal Baptist will look to rebound from getting swept in the opening round of the UC Santa Barbara Invitational and pick up their first victory of the season. In addition, Loyola will try to snap a four-match losing streak at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational dating back to last year. To make matters worse for the Ramblers, the team tweeted following its loss to Long Beach State that several players are battling an illness.