Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

BYU won the MPSF regular season title, but that’s about the only thing that’s been decided for conference tournament seeding with the regular season coming to an end.

Several teams will play in critical matches to determine the conference brackets highlighted by No. 4 Long Beach State traveling to play No. 5 Pepperdine. In addition, No. 1 BYU will return play No. 3 UCLA on the one-year anniversary of the servegate controversy.

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


1. No. 1 BYU (20-3, 19-2 MPSF) vs. No. 3 UCLA (17-10, 13-8 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: When John Speraw was asked last week in his introduction news conference as the new U.S. Men’s National Team coach about any current college players who could make his 2016 Olympic team, one of the first names the coach said was BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander. The junior will now get an opportunity to showcase his abilities right in front of the Olympic coach as Speraw and his UCLA team play host to BYU. Sander enters sixth in the nation averaging 3.99 kills per game and is on pace to be named an All-American for the third time in his college career. The Cougars have already clinched the No. 1 seed for the MPSF Tournament and the program’s first regular season conference title since 2004. UCLA is in fourth place and had its season-long six-match winning streak snapped Thursday with a four-game loss to Cal Baptist. This match will also be first time BYU has returned to UCLA since the servegate match of last season. The controversial match resulted from a disputed potential BYU match-winning ace in a fifth-game overtime being overturned by the officials. After UCLA rallied in overtime to win the match, the MPSF league office the following day overturned the overturned call and ordered that the entire overtime be replayed. BYU proceeded to win replayed overtime.


2. No. 4 Long Beach State (20-7, 16-6 MPSF) vs. No. 5 Pepperdine (13-9, 12-9 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: If the last time these teams played was any indication, expect a lot of offense and not very long rallies as Long Beach State travels to play Pepperdine. In their first meeting this season, Pepperdine swept Long Beach State but both teams finished the match with more than a .400 attack percentage — the only match this year to achieve that feat. This match also features the two outside attackers battling for the nation’s lead in kills per game average. Long Beach State outside attacker Taylor Crabb entered this week with a nation-best 4.24 kills per game average. However, Pepperdine outside attacker Maurice Torres moved ahead of Crabb after a match-high 28 kills in a five-game comeback victory against Cal State Northridge on Thursday. Torres now leads the nation with a 4.27 kills per game average.

3. Ohio State (17-6, 7-4 MIVA) vs. Loyola (17-8, 8-3 MIVA)
Match vitals:
4 p.m. in Chicago
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Ohio State is out of contention to earn the No. 1 seed for the MIVA Tournament, but it now has a chance to knock Loyola out of contention as well. Two days after getting swept by Lewis, Ohio State will continue its Illinois road trip as it plays Loyola. The loss to the Flyers prevented the Buckeyes from winning their seventh consecutive out-right MIVA regular season championship. Ohio State, though, still has a chance to get a share of the regular season title and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament if it can beat Loyola. The Ramblers are currently in second place, one-match behind first-place Lewis, and are on a seven-match winning streak. However, their last loss came against the Buckeyes in early March.


4. No. 10 Cal State Northridge (11-12, 9-12 MPSF) vs. USC (5-16, 5-16 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: If the Matadors are going to clinch a berth in the MPSF Tournament on their own, they will likely have to do it tonight. Cal State Northridge needing only to win one of its three remaining matches to get into the MPSF Tournament will travel to play 11th-place USC. However, following this match Cal State Northridge will close out its season on the road against UC Irvine and Long Beach State. The Matadors enter on a two-match losing streak, including losing a potential postseason-clinching match to Pepperdine in five games Thursday. USC is on a three-match losing streak and was officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week. This is the first time since 2006 that the Trojans will not qualify for the MPSF Tournament.

5. Ball State (17-5, 6-5 MIVA) vs. Lindenwood (19-9, 5-6 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in St. Charles, Mo.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Ball State has a chance to secure its first double-digit winning streak in five years and move one step closer getting a conference tournament quarterfinals home match if it can defeat Lindenwood on the road. The Cardinals are on a conference-best nine-match winning streak, including a sweep against last-place Quincy on Friday. In addition, Ball State needs to win two of its remaining three conference matches to be guaranteed a top-four seed in the upcoming MIVA Tournament. Lindenwood in its inaugural MIVA season is ineligible for the postseason but currently is in fifth place. This will be second match between the two schools this season. Middle attacker Kevin Owens in the first meeting in February had a team-high 14 kills as Ball State won in five games.