Top 5 college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

For it being a light slate of matches tonight, there is still plenty of intrigue.

One of the top defensive teams in the nation will go up against one of the top offensive teams in the nation as No. 4 UC Santa Barbara travels to play No. 9 Stanford. In addition, the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic begins tonight with Princeton playing Concordia-Irvine in the semifinals.


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

1. No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (8-3, 7-3 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Stanford (8-5, 5-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: The Gauchos are becoming living proof that preseason polls mean nothing. Despite being picked in the MPSF preseason coaches poll to finish the in seventh place, UC Santa Barbara is tied for third place entering its road match against Stanford. In addition, the Gauchos have won five of their last six matches, including two consecutive victories against top 10 nationally ranked teams. This match will also feature the conference’s top offense against the conference’s top defense. UC Santa Barbara is holding opponents to a conference-best .197 attack percentage, while Standing is at a conference-best .323 attack percentage. Stanford had its four-match winning streak snapped with a loss to No. 2 BYU last weekend. The Cardinal also lost on the road to the Gauchos in five games earlier in the season.

2. Princeton (1-5, 1-1 EIVA) vs. Concordia-Irvine (11-3)
Match vitals:
6 p.m. in Springfield, Mass.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: One of the oldest non-conference tournament in college men’s volleyball will open with Princeton playing the defending NAIA champions Concordia-Irvine. The two teams will meet semifinals of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic and are both making their first appearance in the annual non-conference tournament. Princeton enters the Morgan Classic after sweeping Sacred Heart last week to snap its five-match losing streak to open the season. Four of Princeton’s five losses were decided in a decisive fifth-game, including a road loss to Concordia-Irvine in January. In addition, Tigers outside attacker Pat Schwagler is third in the EIVA averaging 3.38 kills per game. The winner of this semifinal match will also advance to championship match on Saturday and will face the winner of the other semifinal match Friday between Springfield, the defending NCAA Division III champions, and UC Santa Cruz.


3. No. 8 UC Irvine (9-8, 6-7 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (4-8, 4-7 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Northridge, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: UC Irvine will try to restart its mid-season resurgence as it travels to Cal State Northriddge. The Anteaters dropped to ninth place in the MPSF following the team’s road loss to No. 6 Long Beach Sate on Wednesday. Before that loss, though, UC Irvine had won three of its last four matches to move back into contention for a postseason berth in the eight-team MPSF Tournament. Cal State Northridge is in 10th place in the MPSF and just snapped a five-match conference losing streak with a sweep against UC San Diego on Wednesday. In addition, the Matadors so far in February have yet to have a match go beyond the minimum three games.

4. Harvard (4-3, 3-0 EIVA) vs. St. Francis (7-4, 2-1EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: The Crimson could be walking right into a potential trap match as they begin their Pennsylvania conference road trip. Harvard one day before its rematch of the 2013 EIVA championship match against Penn State will play St. Francis in a battle between two of the top three teams in the EIVA standings. St. Francis has won five of its last six matches and is 6-1 at home so far this season. In addition, outside attackers Logan Patterson and Kyle Beatty are both in the conference’s top 10 in kills per game average. Harvard enters this match as one of the nation’s three remaining undefeated teams in conference play. Freshman outside attacker Casey White was also named an honorable mention for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week after having a team-high 11 kills in a sweep against George Mason on Sunday.

5. Ohio State (5-6, 2-2 MIVA) vs. Grand Canyon (6-7, 0-4 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets
What to know: Grand Canyon in desperate need of a conference victory will return to the site of its biggest victory in program history. The Antelopes and Buckeyes will meet each other for the first time since Grand Canyon upset Ohio State last season in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals. Despite being picked to finish in the top half of the conference in the preseason MIVA coaches poll, Grand Canyon has lost its first four MIVA matches and is tied for last place. The Buckeyes are tied for fourth place in the MIVA after they lost their last two conference matches. Outside attacker Andrew Lutiz is also third in the conference averaging 3.62 kills per game, but has been held to a combined 14 kills in the Buckeyes’ last two conference matches.

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