Everything from streaks to first place in the conference standings is on the line tonight.
No. 5 UC Irvine will attempt to become the first team in almost two years to win a road match against No. 6 BYU as the two teams open a two-match series in Provo, Utah. In addition, No. 8 Penn State and Princeton will meet each other in a rematch of the 2014 EIVA Tournament championship match.
Check out the nation’s top college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
No. 5 UC Irvine (18-4, 12-3 MPSF) vs. No. 6 BYU (13-7, 10-6 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets, OTB live reaction feed
What to know: The nation’s longest home winning streak will face its biggest test of the season so far. No. 5 UC Irvine will open a two-match series against No. 7 BYU attempting to end the Cougars’ 36-match home winning streak and become the first road team to win at Smith Fieldhouse since 2013. The Anteaters lead the conference with a .361 attack percentage and have hit at least .300 in their last 14 matches. In addition, outside attacker Tamir Hershko is second in the conference with a 3.79 kills per game average, while opposite Zack La Cavera is in the top 10 of the MPSF averaging 3.41 kills per game. BYU has held opponents to less than a .300 attack percentage in all of its home matches this season. The Cougars at home have also kept opponents to less than a .200 attack percentage six times. BYU returns home after losing four consecutive road matches, including two losses to No. 3 Pepperdine last week. If BYU loses this series opener, it would be the team’s first five-match losing streak since 2006. In addition, a loss would likely take the Cougars out of serious contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology projections.
No. 8 Penn State (10-9, 4-0 EIVA) vs. Princeton (10-7, 4-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: Not only is first place on the line in the EIVA, but almost as importantly is a chance for Penn State or Princeton to get a definitive win with the conference tournament about a month away. Penn State has a half-match lead against second-place Princeton in the EIVA standings as it attempts to move closer to clinching its 17th consecutive EIVA regular season title. The Nittany Lions are also on a season-long six-match winning streak with four of these victories coming against nationally ranked teams. All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell during that winning streak has a team-high 111 kills and had more than a .400 attack percentage in five of the matches. Russell is also leading the conference with a 4.72 kills per game average. Princeton opposite Cody Kessel is second in the EIVA averaging 4.29 kills per game, including having a season-high 23 kills in a five-game road loss to Ball State last week. In addition, Kessel last year finished with double-digit kills in a regular season upset victory against Penn State. This will also be the first meeting between the two teams since the Nittany Lions swept the Tigers in the EIVA Tournament championship match last season.