Off the Block announces college men’s volleyball national matches of weekend

Photo by Fabiana Beatriz

There are plenty of compelling matches this weekend across all levels of college men’s volleyball.

Check out the Off the Block National Matches of the Weekend for NCAA Division I-II, NCAA Division III and NAIA men’s volleyball.

NCAA Division I-II National Match of the Weekend

No. 4/4 UCLA (8-2, 0-0 MPSF) vs. No. 7/8 BYU (4-3, 0-0 MPSF)

Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles
Follow live: Live stats, Live Video, Radio feed, In-Match tweets, TV (Pac-12 Network)
What makes this match so big: BYU and UCLA will once again face each other in the first meeting between the two teams since the Bruins beat the Cougars in the 2018 VolleyFour. UCLA enters its conference opener winning six of its last seven matches and has hit more than .400 in four of those matches. BYU for the first time since 1994 has been swept in three straight matches, including allowing 13 aces its conference-opening loss to No. 5/5 Pepperdine on Wednesday. UCLA is third in the nation with a 2.00 aces per game average, while also being among the nation’s leaders with 210 service errors. Along with its recent VolleyFour meeting, BYU and UCLA have played each other in two of the last three MPSF Tournament finals.
UCLA player to watch: All-American middle attacker Daenan Gyimah has a nation-best .550 attack percentage and double-digit kills in two consecutive matches.
BYU player to watch: All-American opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez is fourth in the nation averaging 4.58 kills per game, including a season-high 27 kills in a non-conference victory against Penn State in January.

NCAA Division III National Match of the Weekend

No. 2 Carthage (7-0) vs. No. 9 Benedictine (5-1)

Match vitals: 7 p.m. Friday in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Follow live: Live stats, Live Video
What makes this match so big: This will be Carthage’s first match against a top-10 nationally ranked team this season, while Benedictine already has wins against a top-10 ranked team and a NCAA Division I-II opponent. Undefeated Carthage has lost two games during its seven-match season-opening winning streak. It also is in the nation’s top 10 with a 2.28 blocks per game average and is holding opponents to less than a .125 attack percentage. Benedictine has never defeated Carthage in its program history but almost pulled off an upset before losing in five games last season.
Carthage player to watch: Middle attacker Parker Connolly is fifth in the nation with a 1.28 blocks per game average and had a season-high eight kills while hitting .462 in a sweep against No. 14 Cal Lutheran last week.
Benedictine player to watch: Opposite Elijah Medlock is among the national leaders with a 3.87 kills per game average, including having a match-high 19 kills in a victory against Quincy.

NAIA National Match of the Weekend

No. 1 Grand View (5-1) vs. No. 8 St. Ambrose (3-2)

Match vitals: 4 p.m. Saturday in Davenport, Iowa
Follow live: Live video
What makes this match so big: The defending NAIA champions Grand View will attempt to earn its second victory against a top-10 nationally ranked team this season as it travels to play its in-state rival St. Ambrose. In addition, Grand View suffered an upset against Mount Mercy on Tuesday for its first loss of the season. St. Ambrose after starting the season the on a three-match winning streak dropped two matches during the weekend. It also is trying to earn its first home victory versus Grand View since 2015.
Grand View player to watch: Middle attacker Felix Chapman leads the NAIA with a 4.80 kills per game average, including having a match-high 24 kills in a four-game victory versus Cardinal Stritch on Friday.
St. Ambrose player to watch Setter Jake Synder is eighth in the nation with a 9.90 assists per game average and has multiple aces in three of the team’s five matches.