Quick-hit guide to MPSF Tournament quarterfinal matches

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

Jonathan Bates | Off the Block Associate Editor

The MPSF Tournament bracket and the quarterfinal match-ups are set. Check out the quick-hit guide of what to know about each opening-roundmatch.

No. 1 seed Pepperdine (20-6, 9-3 MPSF)
Match vitals: Quarterfinal bye, and will host the MPSF Tournament semifinals and finals.
Last MPSF Tournament title: 2008
Stats to know: MPSF teams were 7-35 in conference play on the road this year. The away team in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinal matches are winless on the road in conference play, while the home team has won at least one match on the road in conference play. The last time the Waves were the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament was 2005 – the last year they won a NCAA tournament title.

No. 2 seed UCLA (18-8, 8-4 MPSF) vs. No. 7 seed Concordia-Irvine (14-18, 3-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles
Follow Live: Live stats, In-match tweets
Season series: UCLA leads 2-0 (sweep on Feb. 20 in Irvine; sweep on Thursday in Los Angeles)
Last MPSF Tournament title: UCLA (2006); Concordia-Irvine (never)
Stats to know: The last time the Bruins won the MPSF Tournament was also the same year they last won the NCAA Tournament title. UCLA has won its previous three quarterfinal home matches and is 16-4 overall at home in the MPSF Tournament. The Bruins won their first two matches in the 2018 MPSF Tournament before losing to No. 1 seed BYU. UCLA earned an at-large bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and fell in national championship match to Long Beach State in five games. Concordia-Irvine is 1-1 all-time in the MPSF Tournament having defeated Grand Canyon but falling to UCLA in the semifinals last season. In their brief series history, the Bruins have won all six matches, with four of them at UCLA.

No. 3 seed USC (16-9, 7-5 MPSF) vs. No. 6 seed Grand Canyon (13-15, 3-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles
Follow Live: Live stats, In-match tweets
Season series: Series tied 1-1 (USC swept on Feb. 7 in Los Angeles; GCU won in four games on Mar. 14 in Phoenix)
Last MPSF Tournament title: USC (2009); Grand Canyon (never)
Stats to know: The Antelopes are 0-1 all-time in the MPSF Tournament and 3-9 overall in postseason conference tournament play. Grand Canyon moved from the MIVA to MPSF prior to the 2018 season. The Trojans have won the MPSF Tournament just once and are 12-15 in MPSF Tournament play. Last year, the Trojans upset Pepperdine in four games in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals before losing to No. 1 seed and eventual tournament champion BYU in the semifinals. In that quarterfinal upset, outside attackers Jack Wyett and Gianluca Grasso combined for 39 kills and a .523 attack percentage. This match is being played in North Gym, where coach Jeff Nygaard is a perfect 12-0, including a sweep of then-No. 1/1 Long Beach State last month. In the brief series history, the Trojans and Antelopes have split the previous six matches, with USC winning two of the three played in Los Angeles.

No. 4 seed Stanford (15-10, 6-6 MPSF) vs. No. 5 seed BYU (12-11, 6-6 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Stanford, California
Follow Live: Live stats, In-match tweets
Season series: Series tied 1-1 (BYU won in five games in Provo on Feb. 28; Stanford won in four games in Stanford on Mar. 2)
Last MPSF Tournament title: Stanford (2010); BYU (2018)
Stats to know: By beating Grand Canyon their final regular season conference match, Stanford tied BYU at 6-6 for fourth place in the MPSF. Stanford won the head-to-head tiebreaker based on percentage of sets won (5 to 4). The first match in this year’s series was marred by controversy as the final no-call has been dubbed Touchgate. The Cardinal has won the MPSF Tournament twice and won the NCAA Tournament in both of those years (1997 and 2010). BYU has won the MPSF Tournament seven times in its history, tied with UCLA for most all-time. The last five times they’ve won the title, they also hosted the tournament. Overall, BYU leads the head-to-head series, 37-22, with a 17-12 mark on the Farm.