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

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. 2/2 Hawai’i (18-0, 4-0 Big West) vs. No. 8/7 BYU (12-6, 6-3 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Saturday in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: It’s another top 10 match-up in Provo, the third in nine days for No. 7/8 BYU as it faces No. 2/2 Hawai’i on the last night of the BYU Invitational –- and the last home match of the regular season for the Cougars. BYU will be looking to send lone senior Taylor Richards off in style on Senior Night as it is coming off of two major MPSF upsets of No. 4/4 Pepperdine and No. 5/5 UCLA and currently sit at second place in the conference. However, the injury-ridden Cougars were taken to #CincoSets Thursday night and almost upset by Princeton. They will certainly have their hands full with an undefeated Hawai’i team that has not lost a single set this season. However, Hawai’i has not won in Provo since 2003, and BYU leads the all-time series 41-19. Both teams rank in the top three nationally in blocks per game average (2.75 for Hawai’i and 2.57 for BYU). However, Hawai’i ranks in the top five nationally in nearly every stat category.
Hawai’i player to watch: Opposite Rado Parapunov averages 4.3 kills per game and leads the nation (as does Hawai’i) with a .533 hitting percentage. He currently ranks second nationally in points per game average and fifth in both aces game average and kills per game average. He has been named AVCA National Player of the Week twice this season.
BYU player to watch: Looking to slow down Hawai’i’s explosive offense will be middle attackers Felipe de Brito Ferreira – named the MPSF Defensive Player of the Week after recording 13 blocks against Pepperdine – and Miki Jauhiainen, who ranks ninth nationally in blocks per game average (1.159).

NCAA Division III National Match of the Weekend

No. 15 Rivier (14-7, 5-0 GNAC) vs. Emerson (9-5, 1-3 GNAC)
Match vitals:
3 p.m. in Boston
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: Emerson has lost three of the last four matches after starting the season 8-2. Those three losses were on the road, but this conference match will be at home where they are 7-2. Rivier has won seven of its last eight, including a sweep over then-No. 1 Springfield. Rivier is also in first place in the GNAC. Emerson will try to use a combination of ITS strong service — No. 1 in the conference and No. 3 in the nation averaging 2.61 aces per game — and ability to dig — No. 1 in the conference averaging 10.87 digs per game — to stop Rivier’s strong offense. Rivier ranks No. 1 in the conference averaging 11.27 assists per game and 11.83 kills per game. Rivier’s strength of schedule currently ranks top in Division III NCAA men’s volleyball, while Emerson’s schedule ranks No. 80.
Rivier player to watch: Setter Pedro Campos has been named conference offensive player of the week three times this year. He ranks first in the conference, and sixth in the nation with a 10.00 assists per game average. He also is second on the team in aces per game average (0.311) and digs per game average (1.78).
Emerson player to watch: Outside attacker Mark Piorkowski leads the team in aces per game average (0.778), attacks per game average (11.00) and kills per game average (4.47) – all of which rank in the top five nationally. He also leads his team in hitting percentage at .261.

NAIA National Match of the Weekend

No. 2 Lourdes (16-3) vs. No. 6 Aquinas (25-1)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: A regular season championship is on the line as first-place Lourdes travels to play second-place Aquinas. With two conference matches remaining, Lourdes has a one-match lead on Aquinas and can clinch the inaugural WHAC regular season title with a victory. The Gray Wolves are undefeated in the WHAC and have lost a combined two sets in the conference play. Aquinas is one of the two WHAC teams to win a set against Lourdes and that four-game road loss earlier this month remains the team’s only loss this season. This match-up also will feature two of the top offensive NAIA teams. Lourdes leads the WHAC and is third in the country hitting .293, while Aquinas is fourth in the nation with a .290 attack percentage.
Lourdes player to watch: Setter Henrique Gehrke leads the nation with a 10.9 assists per game average and guided the offense to a .436 attack percentage in a sweep against Erskine, a NCAA Division I-II school, last week. He also had 47 assists and helped Lourdes out-hit Aquinas .291 to .175 in their previous meeting this season.
Aquinas player to watch: Outside attacker Ruben Lopez leads Aquinas and is in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.2 kills per game average on a .313 attack percentage. He also has double-digit kills in four consecutive matches.