For a regular season mid-week slate of matches, this is about as big as it gets in college men’s volleyball.
No. 4 Pepperdine and No. 6 UCLA will play each other in a conference showdown that could be a factor when the selection committee meets in the upcoming weeks. In addition, Ball State and IPFW will renew one of the top in-state rivals with second place in the MIVA on the line.
Check out this special Tuesday edition of the top college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
No. 5 Pepperdine (10-5, 10-5 MPSF) vs. No. 6 UCLA (14-6, 11-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: The NCAA Tournament is about six weeks away but this conference match potentially could have significant postseason ramifications. UCLA has a half-match lead on Pepperdine for third place in the MPSF. Both teams, though, need a victory to remain as one of the front runners for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Among the criteria the selection committee uses to determine the two at-large bid and NCAA Tournament seeding includes head-to-head record and record against other teams under consideration for a NCAA Tournament berth. Pepperdine swept UCLA in their previous match this season. In addition, All-American outside attacker Josh Taylor in that victory had a match-high 14 kills and a .550 attack percentage. Taylor is also fifth in the nation averaging 4.11 kills per game. UCLA enters this match after defeating UC San Diego on Saturday to snap a three-match losing streak. Outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga had four aces against the Tritons and leads the conference with 39 aces.
IPFW (13-3, 4-2 MIVA) vs. Ball State (12-5, 4-2 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: IPFW doesn’t have to be reminded about the last time it played its biggest rival Ball State. The two in-state conference rivals will meet for the first time since the Cardinals rallied on the road to defeat the Mastodons in five games in January. Both teams enter this match tied for second place in the MIVA and on five-match winning streaks. Ball State outside attacker Marcin Niemczewski is fourth in the nation with a 3.58 kills per game average and was named the AVCA National Player of the Week after having 22 kills in the first meeting against IPFW. IPFW outside attacker had a match-high 19 kills in a five-game victory against Ohio State last week. In addition, the senior is in the conference’s top 10 with both a 3.05 kills per game average and a 1.88 digs per game average. This also is the first time since 2007 that Ball State and IPFW have played each during the second half of the season with both teams in the top four of the MIVA standings.
Lewis (12-4, 4-2 MIVA) vs. Ohio State (8-8, 4-4 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Lewis coming off of its bye week will have one of its biggest conference matches of the season as it plays host to Ohio State. The Flyers are in a three-way tie for second place in the MIVA and have won five of their last six matches. Ohio State snapped its two-match losing streak with a four-game non-conference victory against Penn State on Saturday. The Buckeyes also are in fifth place in the MIVA and need a conference victory to prevent it from becoming the first Ohio State team since 1962 to finish outside of the top four in the MIVA. This match will also feature two of the top young middle attackers in the conference. Lewis sophomore middle attacker Bobby Walsh in second in the MIVA with a 1.28 blocks per game average, while Ohio State freshman middle attacker Driss Guessous has a conference-best .459 attack percentage.