One of the biggest non-conference tournaments of the year opens tonight with two matches between nationally ranked teams.
No. 3 Penn State and No. 8 UC Irvine will open the Outrigger Invitational with both teams vying for a marquee non-conference victory. In addition, No. 14 Ohio State will attempt to extend its winning streak and upset No. 10 Hawai’i.
Check out the top college men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
No. 3 Penn State (0-0, 0-0 EIVA) vs. No. 8 UC Irvine (0-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: No. 8 UC Irvine will make its debut at the Outrigger Invitational against a staple of the annual non-conference tournament No. 3 Penn State. The Nittany Lions enter their season opener with their highest preseason national ranking in six years and return six starters from last year’s team that reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals. All-American Outside attacker Aaron Russell also returns for his senior season after spending the summer training with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Russell had a nation-best 71 aces last season, the third most aces in a single-season during the rally scoring era, and was named the EIVA Player of the Year for the third consecutive year. This will be Penn State’s 20th all-time appearance at the Outrigger Invitational and is 21-34 in the non-conference tournament dating back to 1995. UC Irvine lost in three games to No. 9 Lewis in its season-opener on Monday. Without Preseason All-American Zack La Cavera in the lineup because of an injury, outside attacker Tamir Hershko led UC Irvine with 17 kills. UC Irvine coach David Kniffin also said in an interview with Off the Block following the match that La Cavera will not play in the Outrigger Invitational.
No. 10 Hawai’i (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. No. 14 Ohio State
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: No. 14 Ohio State will have to end one streak to remain undefeated this season as it plays No. 10 Hawai’i in the Outrigger Invitational. The Buckeyes enter the non-conference tournament on a five-match losing streak at the annual event dating back to 2013, including a three-game loss to the Rainbow Warriors last season. All-conference outside attacker Michael Henchy had a match-high 21 kills as Ohio State defeated Cal Baptist in four games on Tuesday to extend its season-opening winning streak to three matches. Hawai’i in its season-opener swept Stevens Tech on Saturday and finished the match with a .407 attack percentage. Preseason All-American middle attacker Tyler Averill led all players with both 13 kills and five blocks against Stevens Tech. The senior also had zero attack errors and was named the MPSF Player of the Week.