Don’t let the lack match-ups between top 10 nationally ranked teams fool anyone, this is a big night in college men’s volleyball.
First-place in the EIVA will be on the line as Princeton and Harvard renew their rivalry in a critical conference match. In addition, out in the West Coast No. 2 BYU, No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 Pepperdine will each attempt to bounce back from conference losses earlier this week.
Check out the top five college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
1. Harvard (8-5, 6-2 EIVA) vs. Princeton (7-6, 6-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. in Princeton, N.J.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: Princeton has a chance to surpass Penn State and move into sole possession of first-place, but in order to accomplish that feat it will have to beat its biggest rival. The Tigers enter their home match against the Crimson tied for first place in the EIVA and on a conference-best six-match winning streak, including a four-game victory against Sacred Heart on Friday. Outside attacker Cody Kessel is also second in the conference with a 3.42 kills per game average and has double-digit kills in every match during Princeton’s winning streak. Harvard is coming off a three-game upset loss to George Mason on Friday. The Crimson had a chance to take sole possession of first place with a win but the loss moved team into third place. This will also be the second meeting between the two conference rivals this season with Harvard defeating Princeton in five games in February.
2. No. 2 BYU (12-4, 12-2 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (6-10, 6-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Northridge, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: BYU will try to pick up a rebound victory and maintain its first-place lead in the MPSF as it travels to Cal State Northridge. This match comes less than 24 hours after BYU had its six-match winning streak snapped with a four-game road to No. 3 Long Beach State. Despite the loss to the 49ers, All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander finished with a match-high 24 kills. It was also the fourth time this season that Sander had at least 20 kills in match. In addition, the senior led BYU with 14 kills in a home sweep against Cal State Northridge in January. The Matadors are in 10th place in the MPSF and 2.5-matches out of eighth-place and the final berth to the MPSF Tournament. Cal State Northridge, though, has won two of its last three conference matches, including a road sweep against Cal Baptist on Thursday.
3. No. 5 Pepperdine (9-5, 9-5 MPSF) vs. Pacific (2-16, 1-14 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Pacific has one final shot to get a road win against Pepperdine. In its final season before the Pacific administration dissolves the program, the Tigers travel to play the Waves with a 0-17 all-time record at Firestone Fieldhouse dating back to 1993. Pepperdine enters this conference match following a four-game home loss to No. 10 Stanford that dropped the team into fifth place in the MPSF. Setter Matt West in the loss guided Pepperdine’s offense to a .374 attack percentage — the eighth match this season the Waves hit more than a .300 attack percentage. Pacific is on a seven-match losing streak, including a three-game loss to No. 7 USC on Friday.
4. No. 4 UCLA (13-6, 10-5 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (1-17, 0-16 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: Given everything UCLA has experienced in the last 10 days this conference match against UC San Diego is a must-win. Within the last week-and-half, UCLA has lost three straight MPSF matches to drop from second to fourth place and multiple players have suffered injuries. In addition, the Daily Bruin reported earlier this week that UCLA coach John Speraw kicked every player out of a practice because of a lack of effort. The Bruins in their most recent loss also allowed a season-worst .429 opponent attack percentage as No. 6 UC Santa Barbara swept UCLA for the first time since 1988. UC San Diego defeated Grand Canyon last week for its first victory of the season. The Tritons have also pulled off big upsets against the Bruins in recent history, including a win 2012 that cost UCLA a chance to host a conference tournament match.
5. Erskine (11-5, 7-1 CC) vs. Lees-McRae (12-6, 4-3 CC)
Match vitals: 3 p.m. in Due West, S.C.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
What to know: In what could be a potential preview of a late-round Conference Carolinas Tournament match next month, Erskine will attempt to maintain its first-place conference lead as it takes on Lees-McRae. The Flyers are on a conference-best six-match winning streak and have won all but one match at home this season. In addition, outside attacker Michael Michelau has a conference-best 4.48 kills per game average. The sophomore also has three matches with at least 20 kills, including a match-high 21 kills in the team’s most recent victory against Limestone on Tuesday. Lees-McRae is in fourth place in the Conference Carolinas but 2.5-matches behind Erskine for first place. Bobcats outside attacker Brady Markle also entered the weekend third in the conference with a 3.96 kills per game average.