Conference tournament finals to follow tonight

Conference Championship Saturday is finally here and with it comes four automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament that are on the line.

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

No. 1 seed Barton (22-5, 16-2 ConfCarolinas) vs. No. 3 seed Mount Olive (18-9, 14-4 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals:
6:30 p.m. in Wilson, North Carolina
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Barton leads 2-0
Last ConfCarolinas Tournament title: Barton (never); Mount Olive (2010)
What to know: Mount Olive coach David Heller was quick to admit his team had to play better than the last time it faced Barton in order to win the Conference Carolinas Tournament. The Trojans will get its rematch against the Bulldogs in the conference finals — almost two weeks since Barton swept Mount Olive in the regular season finale to clinch a share of the conference regular season title. In that victory Barton held Mount Olive to a conference season-low .045 attack percentage with the Trojans having a zero or negative attack percentage in two of the three games. Opposite Angelos Mandilaris also had a match-high 10 kills in the sweep that clinched home court advantage throughout the conference tournament for the Bulldogs. Mandilaris is in the conference’s top five with both a 3.44 kills per game average and a .350 attack percentage. Mandilaris, a to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team, also has a combined 31 kills in the two previous conference tournament matches, including a 10 kills and a team-high two aces in a semifinals sweep against Limestone on Friday. Mount Olive advanced to the conference tournament finals for the first time in three years with an four-game victory against the No. 2 seed King on Friday. Setter Jeff Yaslonis guided the offense to a .358 attack percentage as four Trojans had double-digit kills in the postseason victory. Opposite Robert Poole led Mount Olive with 18 Kills on a .410 attack percentage. In addition, Poole is second in the conference with a 3.50 kills per game average along with a conference-best 0.59 aces per game average. Both Barton and Mount Olive are attempt to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their programs’ histories.

No. 1 seed Penn State (20-10, 11-3 EIVA) vs. No. 2 seed St. Francis (16-13, 10-4 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in University Park, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Tied at 1-1
Last EIVA Tournament title: Penn State (2015); St. Francis (never)
What to know: Once again No. 13 Penn State and St. Francis will meet in the conference tournament and this time it will be with a NCAA Tournament berth at stake. Last season the Red Flash upset the Nittany Lions in the conference semifinals. That upset was Penn State’s first conference tournament loss since 1998. Two days later St. Francis was unable to beat George Mason in the finals to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth. St. Francis enters the championship match as the only team with multiple player’s in the EIVA top five for kills. Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American outside attacker Michael Fisher is second in the conference with a 3.52 kills per game average, while All-EIVA opposite Jeff Hogan is fourth in the EIVA averaging 3.47 kills per game. Fisher in his postseason debut also had a match-high 14 kills on a .440 attack percentage as St. Francis defeated Sacred Heart in the EIVA semifinals on Thursday. Penn State All-EIVA outside attacker Chris Nugent is among the conference leaders with a both a 3.27 kills per game average and a .309 attack percentage. Nugent also had a match-high 16 kills on a .600 attack percentage in the first meeting versus St. Francis in February. In the second regular season meeting between the two teams, the senior suffered an injury midway through the match as Penn State lost in five games. Nugent has double-digit kills in seven matches since returning the court in mid-March after missing almost a month of the season with that injury. This championship match-up will also feature two brothers playing against each other. Penn State setter Luke Braswell, a Freshman All-American selection, leads the EIVA with a 10.53 assists per game and was injured for the last meeting between the two teams. He also guided the Penn State offense to a .413 attack percentage in a semifinals sweep against Princeton on Thursday. St. Francis junior outside attacker Stephen Braswell is in the conference’s top 20 with a 2.57 kills per game average and finished with 12 kills in the Red Flash’s semifinal victory.

No. 1 seed Ohio State (29-2, 16-0 MIVA) vs. No. 3 seed Grand Canyon (19-10, 11-5 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
Season series: Ohio State leads 2-0
Last MIVA Tournament title: Ohio State (2016); Grand Canyon (never)
What to know: No. 2/2 Ohio State days after pulling off a postseason comeback will now face a Grand Canyon team that has already made its deepest postseason run in program history. Ohio State rallied from a 7-2 fifth-game deficit to beat No. 11 Ball State in MIVA Tournament semifinals on Wednesday to reach MIVA Tournament finals for the fifth time this decade. Middle attacker Blake Leeson in the postseason victory finished with a match-high seven blocks. In addition, Lesson led all players with a combined 12 blocks along with 15 kills on a .636 attack percentage in the Buckeyes’ two-match regular season series sweep against the Antelopes in February. Outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen, the 2017 MIVA Player of the Year, had a match-high 22 kills in five-game series finale versus Grand Canyon. That series finale was the one of three times in conference play the Buckeyes were pushed to a decisive fifth game, and it featured Ohio State coach Pete Hanson receiving a red card and getting ejected from the fourth game. Szerszen is 11th in the nation with a both a 3.72 kills per game average and a .383 attack percentage. He also leads the nation with both a 0.63 aces per game average, including having two aces in the series opener against Grand Canyon in February. Szerzen earlier this week was named a finalist for the Karch Kiraly Award, the International Player of the Year and the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year. Grand Canyon, in its final season in the MIVA before joining the MPSF, is making its debut in the conference tournament finals. Opposite Matthew Kinnebrew had a team-high 14 kills and five aces to help Grand Canyon upset Lewis on the road in a fifth-game overtime in the MIVA Tournament semifinals. Kinnebrew had a combined 32 kills in the two regular season matches against the Buckeyes, including coming off the bench to finish with 14 kills on a .522 attack percentage in a four-game loss. All-MIVA middle attacker Drake Silbernagel also enters this championship match third in the nation with a .436 attack percentage. Silbernagel in the semifinal victory finished with 12 kills on a .500 attack percentage — his fourth consecutive match that he hit at least .400. The only previous conference tournament victory for Grand Canyon before its postseason run this season came against Ohio State in the 2013 MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

No. 1 seed Long Beach State (26-3, 16-2 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Hawai’i (26-4, 14-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Long Beach, California
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, Online video (pay-per-view), In-match tweets
Season series: Long Beach State leads 2-0
Last MPSF Tournament title: Long Beach State (never); Hawai’i (never)
What to know: Sure the Big West doesn’t start until next year, but two teams that will join the newly formed men’s volleyball conference will close out this era of the MPSF. No. 1/1 Long Beach State will play host to No. 4/4 Hawai’i in a MPSF Tournament finals that will officially conclude before program’s tenure in the conference. This match-up will feature two of the top offensive teams in the nation. The 49ers have a nation-best .374 attack percentage, while the Rainbow Warriors are fifth in the nation with a .325 attack percentage. Long Beach State, though, were held to a .284 attack percentage their semifinal victory against No. 5/5 UC Irvine — its lowest hitting efficiency in a match since the second week of the season. All-MPSF setter Josh Tuaniga leads the nation with a 11.26 kills per game average and was named a finalist for the Lloy Ball Award. In addition, All-MPSF outside attacker TJ DeFalco is in the nation’s top 10 with both a 4.05 kills per game average and a .398 kills per game average. DeFalco, the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year and finalist for the Karch Kiraly Award, also had a combined 29 kills in a two-match series sweep against Hawai’i in January with 22 kills coming in the series-opening five-game victory. Hawai’i advanced to the MPSF Tournament finals for the first time since 2002 as it swept No. 3/3 BYU in the semifinals on Thursday. All-MPSF opposite Stijn van Tilburg is third in the nation with a 4.34 kills per game average. The finalist for the 2017 International Player of the Year has double-digit kills and at least a .300 attack percentage in both postseason matches this season. All-MPSF setter Jennings Franciskovic has guided the Rainbow Warriors to more than a .300 attack percentage in six of their last seven matches, including hitting .429 in the semifinals.