It’s a light slate of matches but they have plenty of intrigue and importance with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season.
No. 2 Long Beach State will travel to play No. 7 USC in the marquee match of the night and the only match featuring two top 10 ranked teams. In addition out in the Midwest, No. 10 Lewis will play host to Penn State in their annual non-conference meeting.
Check out the nation’s top five college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
1. No. 2 Long Beach State (15-5, 12-5 MPSF) vs. No. 7 USC (13-8, 12-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: For a coach who said he likes his team getting a chance to play at North Gym, Bill Ferguson could not have picked a much bigger home match to play at the historic gym instead of its traditional home court of the Galen Center. USC will play host to Long Beach State with both teams needing a victory not only for conference tournament seeding but in the race for a NCAA Tournament at-large bid. Off the Block’s latest bracketology had both USC and Long Beach State among the teams being considered for the at-large bid with the 49ers receiving one of the two bids. Long Beach State also enters this conference match after having its eight-match winning streak come to an end with a three-game loss to No. 4 Pepperdine. Outside attacker Taylor Crabb also leads the nation with a 4.91 kills per game average, but was held to 11 kills and a .182 attack percentage in the loss to Pepperdine. USC is on a two-match winning steak, including a sweep against Cal State Northridge on Friday at North Gym. In addition, freshman outside attacker Lucas Yoder has at least 20 kills in two of the last three USC matches.
2. No. 10 Lewis (15-5, 5-3 MIVA) vs. Penn State (14-5, 6-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Penn State coach Mark Pavlik was blunt on how highly he viewed Lewis. Pavlik said in his weekly news conference on Monday that despite the Flyers’ low ranking he considered them to be a top-five team and capable of beating anyone in the nation, including his Nittany Lions. Penn State and Lewis will meet in their annual non-conference match with both teams coming off recent losses to No. 1 Loyola. The Flyers lost to their conference rivals in four games on Tuesday, while the Nittany Lions dropped their non-conference match against the Ramblers in four games on Friday. Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell in the loss finished with a team-high 18 kills. Russell also leads the conference with a 3.82 kills per game average. However, Lewis middle attacker Bobby Walsh is among the national leaders with a 1.28 blocks per game average and had a season-high 10 blocks in a four-game victory against George Mason last week.
3. No. 4 Pepperdine (13-5, 13-5 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (7-13, 6-11 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Cal State Northridge doesn’t need to be reminded about Pepperdine’s blocking game. Pepperdine earlier this season had a season-high 21.5 blocks in a five-game road victory against Cal State Northridge. The Waves entered this week among the nation’s leaders with a 2.81 blocks per game average. Middle attacker Nikola Antonijevic is also in the nation’s top 10 with a 1.22 blocks per game average and had a match-high 12 blocks in the victory against the Matadors. Cal State Northridge lost in three games to USC on Friday to remain in 10th place in the MPSF and has lost four of their last five conference matches. In addition, the Matadors with seven remaining conference matches are four matches out of eighth place and the final postseason berth to the MPSF Tournament.
4. No. 3 BYU (15-4, 15-2 MPSF) vs. Cal Baptist (4-17, 2-15 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander is on the verge of setting another school record as BYU plays host to Cal Baptist. The senior enters this conference match with 1,550 career kills and is eight more kills away from surpassing former outside attacker Rob Stowell for the school’s all-time career kills record during the rally scoring era. Sander has double-digit kills in all but one of the Cougars matches so far this season and is in the nation’s top five with a 4.60 kills per game average. BYU enters this match on a 20-match home winning streak dating back to last season and can officially clinch a postseason berth with a victory against Cal Baptist. In addition, the Cougars can be assured of their second consecutive MPSF regular season championship if they win five of their remaining seven conference matches. Cal Baptist arrives to this road match after suffering an upset loss to Erskine last week — becoming the first MPSF team to lose to a team from the Conference Carolinas.
5. Mount Olive (11-10, 8-3 CC) vs. King (8-16, 3-8 CC)
Match vitals: 2 p.m. in Bristol, Tenn.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Mount Olive will attempt to move one step closer to clinching a first-round bye in the Conference Carolinas Tournament as it travels to play King. The Trojans are in second place in the Conference Carolinas and can clinch one of top two seeds for the upcoming conference tournament if they win their three remaining conference matches. In addition, Mount Olive is on a five-match conference winning streak, including a five-game victory against Lees-McRae on Friday. King lost at home to Barton on Friday to extend its losing streak to four matches and dropped into seventh place in the Conference Carolinas. This match will also feature three players in the conference’s top 10 for kills per game average, including Mount Olive outside attacker Angel Dache who is second in the conference with a 4.06 kills per game average.