Check out all the matches today involving NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and how to follow them live.
No. 5/5 Ohio State (7-2, 0-0 MIVA) vs. Ball State (5-5, 0-0 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: Even days before the start of the season coach Joel Walton acknowledged in an interview with Off the Block that it was still a little painful at times to talk about what happened the last time Ball State was at St. John Arena. Ball State playing on the road in the 2017 MIVA Tournament semifinals was on the verge of upsetting Ohio State before the Buckeyes rallied from a 8-3 deficit in the fifth game to win the postseason match en route to their second straight NCAA championship. Ball State will now get its first opportunity to avenge that loss as it travels to play No. 5/5 Ohio State for its conference opener. Ohio State enters MIVA play on a four-match winning streak and has hit more than .325 in all of those matches. Preseason All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen and freshman opposite Jake Hanes are in the conference’s top five for both kills and aces. Szerszen, the 2016 AVCA National Player of the Year, is averaging 3.71 kills per game — third best in the conference and in the nation’s top 10. The senior also is among the national leaders with a 0.42 aces per game average and had a season-high four aces in road sweep against George Mason last week. Hanes leads the MIVA and is fourth in the nation with a 3.96 kills per game average. The freshman in three of his last four matches has at least 14 kills and a .400 attack percentage. In addition, Hanes has a 0.46 aces per game average and multiple aces in four of the last six matches. Ball State defeated St. Francis in four games on Saturday to end a three-match losing streak. Blake Reardon following a second-game loss to the Red Flash was moved from outside attacker to opposite and finished the victory with a match-high 15 kills. Reardon is now second on Ball State and among the conference leaders with a 2.63 kills per game average. In addition, Reardon had a team-high 14 kills in the near postseason upset versus Ohio State last season. Preseason All-MIVA opposite Matt Szews continues to lead Ball State and is ninth in the conference with a 2.81 kills per game average. However, Szews in the victory last week was held to a negative attack percentage for the second time this season. Ball State remains the last MIVA team to defeat Ohio State. The Buckeyes are on a 34-match conference winning streak since a three-game home loss to Ball State in February 2016.
No. 10/10 Grand Canyon (10-2, 0-0 MPSF) vs. No. 11 Pepperdine (4-2, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals: 6 p.m. in Phoenix, Arizona
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: The conference season for the revamped MPSF begins at one of its newest locations. No. 10/10 Grand Canyon will play its inaugural match in the MPSF as it plays host to No. 11 Pepperdine. The Antelopes are off to their best start in program history and are one of four teams in the nation with at least 10 victories. However, the team is 0-2 against nationally ranked opponents, including a five-game home loss to No. 4/4 UC Irvine on Jan. 20. Grand Canyon since that loss is on a four-match winning streak and has hit at least .300 in three of those four matches. First-year starting setter Puna Kaniho, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month for January, has guided the Antelopes offense to be in the nation’s top 10 with a .312 attack percentage. In addition, Kaniho is third in the MPSF averaging 9.73 assists per game. The Antelopes also have five home victories against nationally ranked teams since 2015. Pepperdine enters conference play on a three-match winning streak, but similar to Grand Canyon is winless against nationally ranked teams this season. The Waves’ winning streak coincides with the return of all-conference outside attacker David Wieczorek. Wieczorek since his return to the court has finished every match with at least 14 kills while hitting more than .400. He also had three of Pepperdine’s season-high eight aces in a non-conference sweep against Princeton last week. This is the first season of the MPSF since the West Coast conference split because of the addition of the Big West men’s volleyball conference. Six Big West schools officially left the MPSF in the offseason with the formation of the new volleyball conference. The MPSF bolstered its conference by adding Grand Canyon from the MIVA and the independent team Concordia-Irvine.