The college men’s volleyball spotlight is focused on the Midwest tonight with several teams looking to make statement victories
No. 1 Loyola playing host to Penn State highlights the slate of matches tonight. In addition, Ball State and Ohio State will reignite their long-time rivalry dating back to 1960 with both teams vying for a critical conference victory.
Check out the nation’s top college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
No. 1 Loyola (10-0, 3-0 MIVA) vs. Penn State (4-8, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Chicago
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: No. 1 Loyola is one win away from having its first undefeated non-conference season in program history but will have to defeat Penn State to complete the feat. The Ramblers enter their home match as the only remain undefeated team in the nation, including defeating the Nittany Lions on the road in four games in January. In addition, Loyola is second in the nation with a .351 attack percentage and has hit more than .400 in three of their last five matches. All-American outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke is also second in the MIVA with a 3.78 kills per game average and was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions need a victory to avoid tying a single-season program record for the most losses during the rally scoring era. Penn State lost to No. 2 Lewis in four games on Friday to remain winless both against nationally ranked teams and in road matches so far this season. However, All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell is among the national leaders with a 4.61 kills per game average. In addition, Preseason All-American opposite Nick Goodell had a match-high 20 kills in the loss to Lewis.
No. 12 Ohio State (11-2, 5-0 MIVA) vs. No. 15 Ball State (8-5, 3-3 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Indiana
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: Two freshmen who are among the early front-runners for National Newcomer of the Year will face each other as No. 12 Ohio State and No. 15 Ball State renew one of the oldest rivalries in college volleyball. Ball State freshman middle attacker Matt Walsh is leading the nation with a 1.69 blocks per game average. He also twice this season tied the school’s rally scoring era record with 14 blocks in a single match. Ohio State outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen is in the top 10 in the MIVA and second among all freshman in the nation averaging 3.30 kills per game. In addition, Szerszen was selected as the National Freshman of the Week on Monday after having a match-high 16 kills and 11 digs in a win against Penn State last week. Ohio State is on an eight-match winning streak, including sweeping No. 9 IPFW on Friday. Ball State swept McKendree on Friday to snap its four-match losing streak. The Cardinals, though, have won their last three matches against the Buckeyes dating back to 2013.
No. 5 BYU (10-3, 9-2 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Long Beach State (8-5, 5-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: If the series opener was any indication, expect more of a defensive showcase as No. 5 BYU and No. 9 Long Beach State conclude their two-match series. Libero Jaylen Reyes led all players with a season-high 15 digs as the Cougars swept the 49ers in the opener on Friday. In addition, middle attacker Michael Hatch finished with a match-high nine blocks, including having the match-winning block to secure the victory. Long Beach State in the loss was out-hit .222 to .105 and blew a seven-point lead in the third game. Middle attacker Taylor Gregory also led the 49ers with six blocks against the Cougars. With another victory against Long Beach State, BYU would move a half-match ahead of No. 4 UC Irvine and into sole possession of first place in the MPSF.
Harvard (6-4, 2-1 EIVA) vs. Springfield (8-4)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Springfield, Massachusetts
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
What to know: Harvard will attempt to win one of the most prestigious non-conference tournaments in college men’s volleyball for the first time in its program history as it plays Springfield in the Morgan Classic championship match. In its second all-time appearance at the Morgan Classic, Harvard defeated Concordia-Irvine in four games on Friday in the semifinals. Outside attacker Branden Clemens in the victory had a match-high 15 kills on a .529 attack percentage. In addition, Clemens now has double-digit kills and at least a .340 attack percentage in his last three matches. Springfield, the three-time defending Division III NCAA champions, defeated Rivier in four games in its semifinal match Friday. The Pride are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the championship match of their home tournament. A victory against Harvard would also make Springfield the first NCAA Division III team to beat a NCAA Division I-II team that was ranked that season in the national coaches poll since the start of the Division III NCAA Tournament in 2012.
Stanford (4-10, 3-7 MPSF) vs. Hope International
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Palo Alto, California
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets