Top 5 college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

Conference play begins tonight for several teams eyeing a conference title and trip to the NCAA Tournament this season.

No. 1 Loyola will attempt to remain atop the national rankings as it plays host to Ohio State in its MIVA opener. In addition, out in the West Coast the MPSF season continues with a marquee match-up between No. 3 BYU and No. 6 USC.


Check out the top five college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.

1. No. 1 Loyola (6-1, 0-0 MIVA) vs. Ohio State (4-3, 2-0 MIVA)
Match vitals:
4 p.m. in Chicago
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Loyola is No. 1 in the national rankings, but is currently looking up to Ohio State in the MIVA standings. The Ramblers after moving atop the AVCA national coaches poll on Monday for the first time their program history will open their conference season against the Buckeyes. Loyola is on a four-match winning streak, including road victories against Harvard and Sacred Heart last week. The team also became the first MIVA team to be ranked No. 1 in a regular season national coaches poll since Lewis in 1999. The Buckeyes are in first place in the MIVA following two victories last weekend to open its conference season. Ohio State swept both Quincy and Lindenwood on the road to extend its winning streak to four matches and improve above .500 for the first time this season.

2. No. 3 BYU (6-3, 6-1 MPSF) vs. No. 6 USC (5-2, 4-2 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Two All-Americans and potential future U.S. Olympic teammates will go up against each other for one of the final times at the college level as USC plays host to BYU. USC All-American setter Micah Christenson started the week leading the conference with a 12.23 assists per game average. In addition, the junior spent the off-season training with the U.S. Men’s National Team and helped lead the United States to a gold medal at the NORCECA championships. BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander is also among the nation’s leaders in kills per game average and leads the MPSF with 20 aces. The senior and 2013 Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year also had a team-high 19 kills in BYU’s five-game loss to No. 3 Pepperdine on Friday to open its weekend road trip. This is the second match of a four-match conference homestand for the Trojans. Outside attacker Lucas Yoder had a match-high 15 kills as USC opened its homestand beating Cal Baptist in four games.


3. No. 2 UCLA (7-1, 4-0 MPSF) vs. No. 8 UC Irvine (6-5, 3-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: For the second time in less than a week, UCLA and UC Irvine will meet each other in a conference match. All-American outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga had a team-high 14 kills in the initial match to help the Bruins sweep the Anteaters on Monday. UCLA in the victory out-hit UC Irvine .420 to .365 and had three players finish with double-digit kills. The win also extended the Bruins’ winning streak to a nation-best seven matches. UC Irvine with its loss to UCLA is now two matches below .500 in conference play and in ninth place in the MPSF. In addition, outside attacker Connor Hughes in the loss had a match-high 15 kills.

4. No. 7 Stanford (4-4, 1-4 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (3-3, 3-2 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: There is still three months of the regular season left, but Stanford needs a victory to end its early season conference struggles. Stanford after starting conference play losing four of its five matches will now play Cal State Northridge. All four of Stanford’s conference losses, though, have been against top-10 nationally ranked teams, including blowing a two-game lead in a five-game home loss to No. 5 Long Beach State on Friday. Cal State Northridge enters this road match following a five-game victory Pacific on Friday. With the win, the Matadors have a winning record in conference play for the first time this season. Opposite Damani Lenore, the defending Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week recipient, also had a match-high 20 kills against Pacific.

5. Penn State (4-2, 0-0 EIVA) vs. St. Francis (2-2, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets
What to know: Coach Mark Pavlik will walk the Penn State sidelines sporting a fedora for the team’s conference opener against St. Francis. Pavlik opted earlier this week to wear the hat for this home match in an effort to raise awareness and promote the new EIVA Rallies campaign. The EIVA Rallies is a season-long event with teams throughout the conference helping raise awareness and funding for cancer research. The Nittany Lions are undefeated through the first three matches of its season-long 11 match homestand, including a sweep against Mount Olive on Friday. In addition, Penn State is 32-0 all-time against St. Francis and has lost five games to the Red Flashes in the last 10 years. St. Francis, though, enters its conference opener leading the EIVA with a .312 attack percentage.