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

Photo courtesy of Princeton athletics

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. 13 George Mason (13-6, 6-2 EIVA) vs. Princeton (10-12, 8-1 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday in Fairfax, Virginia
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: Princeton will face a giant hurdle en route to trying to win its first EIVA regular season championship in program history — beating George Mason on the road. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Tigers are in first place and lead the second-place Patriots by one-and-half matches. Princeton out-hit George Mason .379 to .195 during a four-game home victory in February. The Tigers return to EIVA play after losing four straight non-conference matches, including the team nearly pulling off a road upset against No. 10/10 BYU last week. George Mason enters this home match on a 13-day layoff after sweeping Grand Canyon in its last match. In addition, the Patriots lead the EIVA with a .292 attack percentage and have hit more than .300 in five conference matches this season. This will be the first time that George Mason and Princeton have played at each other at the Recreation Athletic Complex since the Tigers upset the Patriots on their home court in the 2018 EIVA Tournament semifinals.
George Mason player to watch: Opposite Hayden Wager is second in the EIVA with a 4.34 kills per game average and has double-digit kills in 18 consecutive matches. He also is sixth in the conference averaging 1.04 blocks per game.
Princeton player to watch: Outside attacker Parker Dixon had a match-high 15 kills on a .345 attack percentage and added two aces in the victory against George Mason in February. He also leads the Tigers and is third in the conference averaging 3.48 kills per game.

NCAA Division III National Match of the Weekend

No. 2 Springfield (20-2) vs. No. 8 Endicott (20-4, 11-1 NECC)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: There are three matches in Division III between ranked teams this weekend, but this is the only matchup between top-10 teams. Both teams enter this weekend in the top-three of Division III for attack percentage (Endicott at .326 and Springfield and .294) The Pride rank in the top-15 in terms for kills per game average (12.03) and assists per game average (11.33), while Gulls rank in the top-15 in aces per game average (2.55), assists per game average (11.18), and kills per game average (12.04). Springfield, which has the third-best winning percentage in Division III, is five-match winning streak, while Endicott, the 11th-best winning percentage in Division III, has won nine of its last 10 matches. Springfield is 10-1 at home, while Endicott is 8-1 on the road. The last time Endicott defeated Springfield was 2004, and since then Gulls are 0-11 versus the Pride. Springfield has the fifth-toughest schedule in Division III, while Endicott is at No. 14.
Springfield player to watch: Springfield is a well-rounded team, so it’s difficult to pinpoint a single player. Setter Eli Gabrielle Irizarry Pares leads the Pride averaging 0.394 aces per game and 8.87 assists per game. The sophomore from Puerto Rico also is third on the team with a 0.535 blocks per game average and a 1.76 digs per game average.
Endicott player to watch: Outside attacker Bryn Lipton leads the team and the NECC in aces per game average (0.589) and attack percentage (0.358). He also leads the Gulls with a 3.41 kills per game average. Lipton has been named NECC Player of the Week three times this season, including the most recent week when he posted a 4.27 kills per game average while attacking at a .493 clip. In the match last week versus Cal Lutheran, he had a career-high 26 kills while tying his career-high of 14 digs.

NAIA National Match of the Weekend

St. Andrews (16-5, 12-0 Mid-South) vs. Life (16-2, 11-1 Mid-South)
Match vitals:
1 p.m. Saturday in Laurinburg, North Carolina
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
What makes this match so big: A division championship will be on the line as St. Andrews plays host to Life in the regular season finale for both teams. First-place St. Andrews enters undefeated in the Mid-South Conference and with a one-match lead over Life in the South Division. The Knights have won 13 of their last 14 matches, including a five-game victory NCAA Division II school Coker. Life in the program’s inaugural season has suffered one conference loss — a five-game home loss to St. Andrews in February. The Running Eagles are on a six-match winning streak since that loss and are sixth in the nation with a .269 attack percentage. However, Life in the decisive fifth-game against St. Andrews hit negative-.417 and lost 15-3.
St. Andrews player to watch: Middle attacker Ben Twigger is fifth in the nation averaging 1.12 kills per game. He also had a match-high 12 blocks along with 11 kills on a .500 attack percentage in the previous meeting against Life.
Life player to watch: Setter Allain Larroche is in the nation’s top 10 averaging both 10.04 assists per game and 0.54 aces per game. He also has guided the Life offense to more than a .400 attack percentage in two of the last five matches.