Check out all the matches today involving NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and how to follow them live.
No. 1/2 Ohio State (18-2, 9-1 MIVA) vs. No. 9/8 Ball State (17-5, 9-1 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Indiana
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Nothing like having first place on the line for one of the oldest rivalries in college volleyball. No. 9/8 Ball State will play host to No. 1/2 Ohio State with both teams tied for first place in the MIVA. The Buckeyes earlier this week jumped to No. 1 in the national coaches poll for the first time this season and are on a nation-best 10-match winning streak. However, Ball State was the last team defeat Ohio State. The Cardinals rallied from a road two-game deficit to upset the Buckeyes in February for Ohio State’s only conference loss of the season. This upcoming rivalry match will feature one of the top offensive teams in the nation playing one of the best defensive teams. Ohio State leads the MIVA and is second in the nation with a .351 attack percentage. Outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen is also in the nation’s top 10 averaging 4.39 kills per game. The sophomore has at least 15 kills in 12 matches this season, including 17 kills in the previous loss to Ball State. In addition, outside attacker Miles Johnson had a match-high 20 kills last time against Ball State. He also finished with a season-high 23 kills in Ohio State’s five-game victory versus No. 10/10 Penn State last week — his third match this season with at least 20 kills. Ball State leads the conference and is third in the nation with a 2.88 blocks per game average. Middles attackers Alex Pia and Matt Walsh are both in the nation’s top 15 averaging more than 1.15 blocks per game. Pia also has at least five blocks in four of the last six matches, including a season-high nine blocks in a non-conference victory against No. 14 UC Irvine on Sunday. In addition, the Cardinals held the Buckeyes to a near season-low .256 attack percentage in their first meeting. If the Cardinals can upset the Buckeyes, it would be the program’s first victory against a No. 1 ranked team since 1995 when Ball State beat then-No. 1 UCLA.
No. 8/9 Hawai’i (12-9, 7-9 MPSF) vs. No. 14 UC Irvine (7-15, 5-11 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: No. 14 UC Irvine is essentially playing postseason matches this weekend, despite two weeks remaining in the regular season. UC Irvine will open a two-match road series against No. 8/9 Hawai’i with a chance to move into eighth place and the final berth for the MPSF Tournament. The Anteaters are in ninth place in the MPSF and a half-match behind No. 11/10 CSUN for eighth place. In addition, the team returns to MPSF play after going 2-3 in non-conference matches the last two weeks with a road victory against George Mason on Tuesday. This series opener will be the Anteaters’ fourth road match in the last six days that included matches in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and now Hawai’i. The defending MPSF champions UC Irvine continue to be without All-American outside attacker Tamir Hershko who suffered an injury almost two months ago. Coach David Kniffin also two weeks ago moved Michael Saeta from setter to opposites. Saeta since the position has finished two matches with at least 20 kills, including a career-high 24 kills versus George Mason. Hawai’i coming off of its bye week returns to the Stan Sheriff Center trying to end a five-match home losing streak. The Rainbow Warriors are in seventh place in the MPSF and with six remaining conference matches have a two-match lead on the Anteaters. In addition, Hawai’i outside attacker Sinisa Zarkovic is among the MPSF and national leaders with a 3.96 kills per game average.