The most chaotic day of the postseason has arrived as five conference tournament quarterfinal matches take place tonight.
BYU playing host to USC in a match with significant ramifications to the NCAA Tournament seeding and at-large bid races highlights the four MPSF Tournament quarterfinal matches. In addition, IPFW and Ohio State meet in the final MIVA Tournament quarterfinals match.
Check out the college men’s volleyball conference tournament matches to follow tonight.
MPSF TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
No. 1 seed BYU (18-8, 18-6 MPSF) vs. No. 8 seed USC (16-10, 14-10 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: BYU leads 2-0 (won in five games in February and three games in February)
Last MPSF Tournament title: BYU (2013); USC (2009)
What to know: BYU is returning home at the right time to end its late-season slide. The Cougars after clinching a share of the MPSF regular season championship in March closed out the regular season on a four-match road losing streak and will now open the postseason against USC. Despite having a losing record on the road, BYU is undefeated at home this season and on a 23-match home winning streak dating back to last season. In addition, the Trojans have not won on the road against the Cougars since 1998. The status, though, of BYU starting setter Tyler Heap remains uncertain entering the postseason after he suffered an injury in the team’s regular season finale. USC setter Micah Christenson ended the regular season leading the nation with an 11.69 assists per game average and was named one of the three finalists for the Lloy Ball Awards. The Trojans won five of their final seven regular season matches to earn a postseason berth and are attempting to become the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the history of the MPSF Tournament.
No. 2 seed Pepperdine (18-6, 18-6 MPSF) vs. No. 7 seed Long Beach State (19-8, 16-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (Long Beach State won in five games in January and Pepperdine won in three games in March)
Last MPSF Tournament title: Pepperdine (2005); Long Beach State (never)
What to know: The legend of Taylor Crabb could get even bigger if Long Beach State on the road can somehow find a way to upset Pepperdine. Crabb, the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year, leads the nation with a 4.79 kills per game average. The First-Team All-MPSF senior also had 35 combined kills in the two regular season matches against Pepperdine, including a team-high 24 kills in the 49ers’ five-game victory in January. Besides Crabb’s offensive performance, though, no other Long Beach State has more than 2.50 kills per game average. Pepperdine won nine of its final 10 regular season matches to clinch a share of the MPSF regular season championship and the No. 2 seed for the MPSF Tournament. All-conference outside attacker Josh Taylor after missing three late-season matches because of an injury recorded his 1,000th career kill in the team’s regular season finale against Hawai’i. All-conference opposite Parker Kalmbach also returned to practice with the team last week after missing the final two weeks of the regular season with a leg injury.
No. 3 seed Stanford (20-7, 17-7 MPSF) vs. No. 6 seed UC Irvine (18-10, 15-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Palo Alto, Calif.
Follow live: Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Stanford leads 2-0 (won in three games in February and won in five games in April)
Last MPSF Tournament title: Stanford (2010); UC Irvine (2012)
What to know: It’s almost only fitting that Stanford and UC Irvine would meet in the opening round of the conference tournament following their match during the final week of the regular season. Stanford last week rallied to defeat UC Irvine by two points in a decisive fifth game to clinch the home-court match for the MPSF Tournament. That victory also helped the Cardinal close out the regular season on a conference-best 11-match winning streak and put it into position for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Stanford earlier this week led all teams with five players earning All-MPSF honors, while setter James Shaw added being named a finalist for the Lloy Ball Award. UC Irvine won nine of its final 11 regular season matches to clinch a postseason berth and remain in contention for a possible three-peat as NCAA champions. Outside attacker Jeremy Dejno had a team-high 17 kills in the loss to Stanford last week. The senior also has 49 combined kills in the Anteaters’ final three conference matches.
No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara (17-8, 16-8 MPSF) vs. No. 5 seed UCLA (18-10, 15-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (UCLA won in three games in January and UC Santa Barbara won in three games in March)
Last MPSF Tournament title: UC Santa Barbara (2011); UCLA (2006)
What to know: UC Santa Barbara following its best conference regular season record season record in almost 20 years will now play host to UCLA in its first postseason home match since 2007. The Gauchos behind a 12-2 home record finished in fourth place in the MPSF to earn home-court advantage for the conference tournament quarterfinals. In addition, outside attacker Weston Nielsen in the regular-season finale had a match-high 18 kills to help UC Santa Barbara beat BYU in four games. Nielsen also had double-digit kills in the last six matches and had a match-high 13 kills on a .500 attack percentage to help UC Santa Barbara sweep UCLA the last time the two teams played each other. UCLA won its final three matches to earn a berth to the MPSF Tournament on the final day of the regular season. All-American senior Spencer Rowe since switching from middle attacker to opposite because of injuries to UCLA’s starting lineup has 84 combined kills in the last five matches.
MIVA TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
No. 4 seed IPFW (20-6, 9-5 MIVA) vs. No. 5 seed Ohio State (11-15, 6-8 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: IPFW leads 2-0 (IPFW won both in five games in March and April)
Last MIVA Tournament title: IPFW (2007); Ohio State (2011)
What to know: The last time IPFW won a conference tournament match it was against Ohio State. The only problem for the Mastodons with that stat is several of the IPFW starters weren’t even in high school when that victory happened in 2007. IPFW playing its first postseason home match in seven years will take on Ohio Sate in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals. The Mastodons defeated the Buckeyes twice in the regular season in five games to help them clinch the No. 4 seed. Outside attacker Andy Sellan also had a season-high 22 kills in IPFW’s last victory against Ohio State. Despite the Buckeyes finishing outside of the top-four in the MIVA for the first time in more than 50 years, setter Christy Blough and middle attacker Driss Guessous were both named to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team earlier this week.