Top 5 college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

It’s a smaller than usual slate of matches for a Saturday night, but there is still plenty of intrigue with several matches.

No. 3 Pepperdine days after knocking off No. 1 UCLA will now take on No. 8 UC Santa Barbara, which is coming off an emotional five-game loss to No. 6 USC. In addition, Ball State and Princeton will play each other in a critical non-conference match for both teams.


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

1. No. 3 Pepperdine (6-1, 6-1 MPSF) vs. No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (6-3, 5-3 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: The top two defensive teams in the MPSF will go up against each other as Pepperdine plays host to UC Santa Barbara. The Waves enter the weekend leading the nation with a 3.50 blocks per game average. Middle attack Nikola Antonijevic also has a nation-best 1.75 blocks per game average, including having a match-high nine blocks in a sweep against No. 1 UCLA on Wednesday. In addition, Pepperdine in that victory held UCLA to a season-low .110 attack percentage and finished with 14.5 blocks — 9.5 more blocks than the Bruins. UC Santa Barbara is the only MPSF team with less than a .200 opponent attack percentage. In addition, middle attacker Ryan Thompson is among the conference’s top five in blocks per game average. UC Santa Barbara, though, is coming off of a five-game loss to USC on Thursday. The Gauchos in the loss had four match-point opportunities in the fourth game and were given a red card at 24-23 before losing in overtime.

2. Hawai’i (6-4, 4-3 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (3-5, 3-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
2:30 p.m. in Northridge, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Hawai’i will attempt to complete the conference road series sweep against Cal State Northridge after the Rainbow Warriors won the opener in three games on Friday. Hawai’i in its first road victory of the sason out-hit Cal State Northridge .360 to .153 and had two players finish with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Brook Sedore had a team-high 10 kills, while outside attacker Jace Olsen added 10 kills and a .533 attack percentage. In addition, middle attacker Nick West had a match-high six blocks as the Rainbow Warriors out-blocked the Matadors 12.5 to 4.5. Cal State Northridge in the loss was held to a season-worst -.153 attack percentage in the second game and is now on a two-match losing streak.


3. Ball State (4-3, 1-0 MIVA) vs. Princeton (0-3, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Princeton, N.J.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: One of the biggest surprise stories in college men’s volleyball this season will be back on the court as Princeton plays host to Ball State. Outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski after barely touching the court for Ball State as a freshman last season is now leading the MIVA with a 3.73 kills per game average. Marcin’s streak of six consecutive matches with at least 10 kills also was snapped in Ball State’s sweep against George Mason on Friday. With that victory, the Cardinals improve above a .500 winning percentage for the first time this season and are on a three-match winning streak. Princeton lost in five games to IPFW on Friday and has lost its first three matches to open the season. All-EIVA outside attacker Pat Schwagler in the loss to IPFW had a team-high 19 kills and is now second in the conference averaging 3.69 kills per game.

4. Grand Canyon (5-4, 0-1 MIVA) vs. Lindenwood (7-2, 2-1 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in St. Charles, Mo.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Lindenwood has a chance for a statement weekend in conference play but will need to defeat Grand Canyon for a second consecutive day. The Lions swept the Antelopes in the opener of their two-match series Friday to move to third place in MIVA and extend their winning streak to six matches, the second longest active winning streak in the nation. Lindenwood in the series opening sweep out-hit Grand Canyon .456 to .175 and finished the match with a season-low four attack errors. In addition, outside attacker Colin Hackworth had a match-high 14 kills and is now third in the conference with a 3.47 kills per game average. Despite the conference opener loss, Grand Canyon has yet to lose back-to-back matches this season. Libero Jared Morrison also had a match-high 14 digs against Lindenwood.

5. Erskine (3-3, 3-0 CC) vs. St. Francis (4-3, 0-1 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: Erskine will try to pick-up a signature non-conference victory for the Conference Carolinas as it concludes its East Coast road trip against St. Francis. The Flyers in their program’s second year are in first place and undefeated in the Conference Carolinas but are winless against the EIVA and MIVA so far this season, including a three-game loss to Penn State on Friday. Outside attacker Michael Michelau in the loss to Penn State had a team-high 18 kills and is among the national leaders with a 4.65 kills per game average. St. Francis has won the first two matches of its three-match homestand. Outside attacker Kyle Beatty has led the Red Flashes in kills for both of those matches, including a team-high 14 kills in a four-game victory against Pfeiffer on Friday.