Top 5 college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

Postseason implications are in full effect tonight.

No. 3 BYU and No. 8 UC Irvine will meet in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA finals that could have significant ramifications in the MPSF standings. In addition, No. 4 UC Santa Barbara will play No. 5 Pepperdine with both teams eye a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.


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

1. No. 3 BYU (13-4, 13-2 MPSF) vs. No. 8 UC Irvine (14-8, 11-7 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: There will be a postseason feel to this rematch of last season’s NCAA championship match between BYU and UC Irvine. BYU’s first-place lead in the MPSF is less than two matches and needs a home victory as it attempts to win back-to-back conference regular season titles. UC Irvine after almost falling out of postseason contention three weeks ago has won its last five matches to jump to sixth place in the conference. In addition, a win would not only maintain the Anteaters’ playoff positioning with six conference matches remaining but could potentially move into a tie for fourth place. In order to make that jump, though, UC Irvine would have to be the first team to beat BYU at home this season. The Cougars have won their last 17 conference home matches dating back to early last season. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander is among the nation’s leaders with a 4.58 kills per game average and has at least 20 kills in the last two meetings against the Anteaters. UC Irvine outside attacker Connor Hughes has finished with double-digit kills in every match during the Anteaters’ current winning streak, including a season-high 16 kills in a sweep against Cal Baptist on Wednesday.

2. No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (13-5, 12-5 MPSF) vs. No. 5 Pepperdine (11-5, 11-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: Two of the top defensive teams in the nation will face each other in a match that could significantly affect the NCAA Tournament at-large bid race as UC Santa Barbra plays host to Pepperdine. UC Santa Barbara is leading the conference holding opponents to a .210 attack percentage, while Pepperdine is among the national leaders with a 2.81 blocks per game average. In addition, Pepperdine is within a half-match of UC Santa Barbara for third place in the MPSF and both teams are in contention for one of the two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. Among the criteria that the selection committee uses to determine at-large bids includes head-to-head record and record against other teams under consideration for a tournament berth. The Gauchos enter this match after defeating the Waves in five games in February. Middle attacker Jake Staahl in that victory also had a match-high seven blocks.


3. No. 7 Stanford (12-7, 9-7 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Hawai’i (11-8, 9-7 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Setter James Shaw and the Stanford offense is coming off of its best performance of the season as the team enters a two-match conference series against Hawai’i. Shaw had 42 assists and guided the team to tie a rally-scoring era school record with a .527 attack percentage in Stanford’s sweep against USC on Sunday. In addition, Shaw was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Tuesday for the first time in his college career. The victory against USC also moved Stanford into a tie with Hawai’i for seventh place in the MPSF. Hawai’i lost two home matches to UC Irvine last weekend, including losing the series finale in a fifth game overtime. The Rainbow Warriors are also 2-4 on the road this season and has two road matches against top 10 ranked teams in the last three years. One of those victories, though, came against then-No. 3 Stanford in 2012.

4. Penn State (13-4, 6-1 EIVA) vs. Cal State Northridge (6-11, 6-10 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: Cal State Northridge coach Jeff Campbell has been adamant in recent weeks that his team is better than Penn State. Campbell in the last five weeks has ranked the Matadors ahead of the Nittany Lions on his coaches poll ballot — including this week when he put Penn State at No. 13, one spot behind Cal State Northridge. This match will also open the Active Ankle Tournament, the annual two-day non-conference tournament held at Long Beach State. In addition, it will be the first meeting between Penn State and Cal State Northridge since 2011 when the Nittany Lions at home beat the Matadors. Penn State enters this tournament after losing a non-conference match against Ohio State last week. In addition, outside attacker Aaron Russell is second in the nation with a 0.54 aces per game average and had a conference-best 3.83 kills per game average. Cal State Northridge outside attacker Sam Holt is also in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.54 kills per game average.

5. Lewis (13-4, 5-2 MIVA) vs. George Mason (8-9, 4-4 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: All-American opposite Geoff Powell will attempt to reduplicate the offense success he had the last time Lewis played George Mason. Powell last season had a match-high 21 kills and added 14 digs in a five-game victory against George Mason. In addition, Powell so far this season is among the MIVA leaders with a 3.69 kills per game average and had a match-high 14 kills in a sweep against Ohio State on Tuesday. With its victory against the Buckeyes, the Flyers are on a four-match winning streak and have not lost at home since early February. George Mason lost in three-games to No. 1 Loyola on Thursday to move to 1-5 on the road this season. In addition, middle attacker Hunter Stevens is leading the EIVA with a 1.54 blocks per game average.