Off the Block, Molten announce college men’s volleyball National Matches of Week

Photo courtesy of Ball State athletics

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 Week. Check out the top college men’s volleyball matches this weekend in NCAA Division I-II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

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Molten/Off the Block NCAA Division I-II National Match of the Week

No. 15 Ball State (3-1, 0-0 MIVA) vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (0-0, 0-0 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday in Muncie, Indiana.
Follow live: Live stats, Live video, In-match tweets
Ball State player to watch: Blake Reardon, who switched from outside attacker to opposite at the start of the season, is second in the nation with a 4.94 kills per game average. He also has at least 20 kills in three of Ball State’s first four matches, including a match-high 22 kills on a .444 attack percentage in a four-game victory against Lincoln Memorial last week.
Purdue Fort Wayne player to watch: All-MIVA outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas led the MIVA and was fourth in the nation with a 4.38 kills per game average last season. The member of the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team also had a team-high 15 kills while hitting .333 as Purdue Fort Wayne beat Ball State in four games last season.
Quick breakdown: Purdue Fort Wayne will open its season with a two-match road series against its biggest rival. The Mastodons are on a three-match winning streak versus the Cardinals dating back to the 2019 season. In addition, Purdue Fort Wayne was the only MIVA team not to play a non-conference match, while Ball State played four matches entering MIVA play. Setter Quinn Isaacson has guided the Ball State offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in back-to-back matches. The Cardinals on Monday also jumped into the national coaches poll for the first time this season.

Molten/Off the Block NCAA Division III National Match of the Week

No. 11 Benedictine (0-0, 0-0 NACC) vs. No. 14 North Central (1-0, 0-0 CCIW)
Match vitals:
Noon Saturday in Lisle, Illinois
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Benedictine player to watch: Outside attacker John Davis last season had a team-high 2.98 kills per game average on a .310 attack percentage last season and was named to the All-West Region Team.
North Central player to watch: Outside attacker Jared Moser as a freshman last season was a Second-Team All-American selection and among the conference leaders with a 3.27 kills per game average.
Quick breakdown: Bnedictine will open its season days after naming its new head coach. McKendree assistant coach Christian Staple was hired on Tuesday to take over the program following Dan Buehring stepping down last month to become the Stevens head coach. Benedictine is the highest ranked team from the NACC in the preseason national coaches poll. However, it will be replacing two all-conference starters from last year’s team that ended the abbreviated season at 12-5. North Central was 12-6 last season, including an upset victory against then-No. 1 NYU in March. The team opened the 2021 season with a sweep against Aurora on Wednesday. Setter Matt Nealon in the victory guided the Cardinals to a .400 attack percentage and added a match-high five aces.

Molten/Off the Block NAIA National Match of the Week

No. 4 Campbellsville (5-2) vs. No. 13 Goshen (3-1)
Match vitals:
4 p.m. Saturday in Campbellsville, Kentucky
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Campbellsville player to watch: All-American libero Jay Montalvo is in the nation’s top 10 with a 3.44 digs per game average and has double-digit digs in every match so far this season.
Goshen player to watch: Outside attacker Alexander Rabadzhiev is in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.73 kills per game average.
Quick breakdown: Goshen one month after nearly upsetting Campbellsville will get another chance at trying to pull off the upset. The Maple Leafs since that season-opening loss are on a three-match winning streak. In addition, Rabadzhiev in that loss led Goshen with a season-high 19 kills and has double-digit kills in all four matches this season. Campbellsville in the first meeting against Goshen had four players with double-digit kills, including outside attacker Jason Camacho having a match-high 20 kills. The Tigers are on a three-match winning streak and won the NCCAA Invitational Championship last week.