There are plenty of compelling matches this weekend across all levels of college men’s volleyball.
Off the Block announced Thursday the Molten/Off the Block National Matches of the Weekend. Check out the top college men’s volleyball matches this weekend in NCAA Division I-II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.
No. 1/2 Hawai’i (0-0, 0-0 Big West) vs. No. 4/4 UC Irvine (5-3, 0-0 Big West)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. Saturday in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Live video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
Hawai’i player to watch: Opposite Rado Parapunov is fourth in the nation with a 4.16 kills per game average and is in the nation’s top 15 with a .366 attack percentage. He also had a combined 36 kills while hitting .463 in two regular season victories against UC Irvine last season.
UC Irvine player to watch: Middle attacker Scott Stadick has a nation-best 2.09 blocks per game average, including having a season-high 11 blocks in a four-game victory against USC on Saturday. In addition, Stadick is among the national leaders with a .355 attack percentage and has double-digit kills in three of the last six matches.
Quick breakdown: These two Big West rivals will meet in a non-conference match as part of the Outrigger Invitational. Hawai’i enters its home tournament that begins Thursday leading the country with both a .388 attack percentage and a 2.97 blocks per game average. The Rainbow Warriors also are one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the nation and on a four-match winning streak against the Anteaters dating back to 2018. UC Irvine rebounded after losing back-to-back home matches to No. 2/1 BYU and defeated both No. 14 Concordia Irvine and USC last week. Opposite Alexandre Nsakanda had season-high four aces and added 14 kills while hitting .522 against the Trojans. Nsakanda has double-digit kills in all but one match so far this season.
NCAA Division III National Match of the Weekend
No. 1 SUNY New Paltz (6-1) vs. No. 2 Springfield (7-1)
Match vitals: 6 p.m. Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
SUNY New Paltz: Setter Matthew Grace is sixth in the nation with a 10.68 assists per game average and has guided SUNY New Paltz to the sixth-best attack percentage in the nation at .309
Springfield player to watch: Opposite Jarrett Anderson is third in the nation with a 1.19 aces per game average, including having nine aces in a four-game victory against SUNY Poly on Saturday. He also has double-digit kills in six of his last seven matches.
Quick breakdown: The hype around this match-up between the top-two teams in NCAA Division III was slightly dampened as SUNY New Paltz suffered a five-game loss to No. 5 Vassar on Wednesday. Despite the loss, the defending NCAA champions had a .327 attack percentage and has hit more than .300 in four of its last six matches. Springfield is third in the nation with a .379 attack percentage, including hitting .567 in a sweep against No. 7 Wells last week. In addition, setter Matt Lilley has guided the offense to more than .300 attack percentage in seven of the first eight matches to open the season.
NAIA National Match of the Weekend
No. 3 Missouri Baptist (9-2) vs. No. 4 Lourdes (6-0)
Match vitals: 11 a.m. Saturday in Elgin, Illinois
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Missouri Baptist player to watch: Drew Iliff is fourth in the nation with a .513 attack percentage and has double-digit kills in four of the last six matches. In addition, Iliff is fifth in the nation with 42 blocks.
Lourdes player to watch: Setter Henrique Gehrke leads the nation with a 11.7 assists per game average and has guided the offense to the nation’s second-best attack percentage at .337.
Quick breakdown: Lourdes will attempt to earn its first victory in program history against Missouri Baptist as the two teams will play each other at the Judson Early Bird Invitational. The Gray Wolves have dropped one set so far this season and have held their opponents to a .086 attack percentage. Missouri Baptist is on a nine-match winning streak and leads the country with 94 aces. Outside attacker Luka Cajic has a nation-best 34 aces, included a season-high seven aces in a season-opening victory against No. 1 Campbellsville.