Conference tournament semifinal matches to follow tonight

Check out all the postseason matches today involving NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and how to follow them live.

MPSF TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS

No. 1 seed BYU (24-3, 19-3 MPSF) vs. No. 5 seed UC Santa Barbara (22-9, 14-8 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets, TV (BYUtv)
Season series: BYU leads 2-0
Last MPSF Tournament title: BYU (2014); UC Santa Barbara (2011)
What to know: No. 6/6 UC Santa Barbara to continue its postseason run will have to find a way to better contain All-American opposite Ben Patch than it did in the regular season. Patch enters the No. 1/1 BYU’s conference tournament semifinal home match against UC Santa Barbara sixth in the nation with a 4.32 kills per game average. The 2016 Bryan Ivie Award finalist for the nation’s top opposite also led the Cougars with a combined 27 kills on a .455 attack percentage in their two sweeps versus the Gauchos in February. BYU is leading the nation with a .362 attack percentage and has hit more than .400 in its last three matches. All-conference outside attacker Jake Langlois also had 13 kills while hitting .545 and added a match-high eight digs in BYU’s quarterfinal sweep against No. 14 UC Irvine on Saturday. Along with Patch and Langlois, outside attacker Brenden Sander, a Karch Kiraly finalist, is among the national leaders with both a 3.12 kills per game average and .379 attack percentage. UC Santa Barbara is on a six-match winning streak, including upsetting No. 5/4 Stanford in MPSF Tournament quarterfinals during the weekend. Opposite Matt Marsh in the upset had a season-high 20 kills against Stanford for his sixth consecutive match with double-digit kills. The senior, though, the two regular season losses to BYU was held to less than .150 attack percentage. The victory against Stanford was first time since 2011 that a road team won a MPSF Tournament quarterfinal match. The Gauchos that postseason as a No. 7 seed upset the Cougars at Smith Fieldhouse and went on to reach the NCAA Tournament finals. BYU since that loss has won seven consecutive postseason home matches.


No. 2 seed UCLA (24-5, 17-5 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Long Beach State (24-6, 17-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: UCLA leads 2-0
Last MPSF Tournament title: UCLA (2006); Long Beach State (never)
What to know: Both No. 3/3 UCLA and No. 4/5 Long Beach State are projected to make the NCAA Tournament in the latest Off the Block bracketology, but a conference tournament semifinal victory could go a long way to solidify a spot in the field. UCLA enters this MPSF Tournament semifinal match against Long Beach State having won 11 of its last 13 matches, including sweeping the 49ers in March. All-MPSF outside attacker Jake Arnitz leads the Bruins and is among the national leaders with a 3.32 kills per game average. Arnitz also had a combined 33 kills and hit more than .400 in each of the Bruins’ regular season victories against the 49ers. Setter Micah Ma’a along with helping run the team’s 6-2 offense has a conference-best 56 aces and had the match-winning ace as UCLA defeated Long Beach State in five games in January. Ma’a also earlier this week was named a finalist for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year and to the Freshmen All-American Team. Long Beach State had a record three players earn Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team honors — outside attacker TJ DeFalco, opposite Kyle Ensing and setter Joshua Tuaniga. Along with this award, DeFalco is seventh in the nation with a 4.28 kills per game average and was named a finalist for the Karch Kiraly Award. The freshman also had a match-high 21 kills in the team’s loss to UCLA in January. Tuaniga was named a finalist for the Lloy Ball Award after having a MPSF-best 11.13 assists per game average and guiding the 49ers to a .329 attack percentage, fourth-best in the nation.

EIVA TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS


No. 1 seed Penn State (19-9, 12-2 EIVA) vs. St. Francis (18-9, 9-5 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied 1-1
Last EIVA Tournament title: Penn State (2015); St. Francis (never)
What to know: None of the Penn State players were alive the last time the Nittany Lions began a postseason with multiple EIVA regular season losses. The good news for the Nittnay Lions, though, is they still went on to win the conference title that year. Penn State enters this EIVA Tournament with two conference losses for the first time since 1992 and will play host to St. Francis in the semifinals. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Red Flashes on the road upset the Nittany Lions in March. All-conference outside attacker Stephen Braswell is one of two St. Francis players averaging more than 3.00 kills per game, including having a season-high 20 kills in the upset versus Penn State. Middle attacker Mike Marshman also has a conference-best .406 attack percentage and had a combined 12 kills and two attack errors in both regular season matches against the Nittany Lions. Penn State outside attacker Chris Nugent finished the regular season second in the conference with a 3.80 kills per game average and was named the 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the year. Nugent in the postseason last year also had double-digit kills in three consecutive matches to help the Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Penn State, the host school for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, has reach every NCAA Tournament since 1999.

No. 2 seed George Mason (14-11, 10-4 EIVA) vs. No. 3 seed Harvard (13-10, 9-5 EIVA)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Harvard leads 2-0
Last EIVA Tournament title: George Mason (1988); Harvard (never)
What to know: This isn’t anything new for Harvard and George Mason. For the fourth time in the last five years, the Patriots and Crimson will play each other in the EIVA Tournament semifinals. George Mason has won two of those last three conference tournament meeting and enters this postseason after pulling off one of its biggest victories in the program’s recent history. George Mason upset No. 9/10 Penn State in its regular-season finale on Saturday to clinch the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament. Outside attacker Jack Wilson in his first significant playing time in almost a month finished with a match-high 26 kills on a .340 attack percentage against the Nittany Lions. This was the sixth time this season that Wilson had at least 20 kills in a match. He also led all players with 15 kills in a four-game loss to Harvard in February. Harvard swept the season series against George Mason and won its regular-season finale to earn a berth to the EIVA Tournament. All-EIVA opposite Branden Clemens enters the postseason leading Harvard and in the conference’s top five with both a 3.67 kills per game average and a .321 attack percentage. The Crimson also have an EIVA-best .302 attack percentage, including hitting above its season average in seven of their last 10 matches.

One Reply to “Conference tournament semifinal matches to follow tonight”

  1. Penn State got bumped off by St. Francis (PA). The EIVA finals will be George Mason versus St. Francis (PA).

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