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.
Molten/Off the Block NCAA Division I-II National Match of the Week
Mount Olive (8-1, 7-1 ConfCarolinas) vs. King (6-5, 3-3 ConfCarolinas)
Match vitals: 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Mount Olive, North Carolina
Follow live: Live video
Mount Olive player to watch: Outside attacker Tobi Azeez is fourth in the nation with a 4.20 kills per game average and had at least 20 kills in two matches during Mount Olive’s current three-match winning streak.
King player to watch: Opposite Joshua Kim is in the conference’s top 10 with both a 3.50 kills per game average and a 2.05 digs per game average.
Quick breakdown: Mount Olive will attempt to extend its first-place lead in the ConfCarolinas as it plays host to King. The Trojans lead the conference and are in the nation’s top 10 with a .298 attack percentage, including having a season-high .455 attack percentage in a sweep against the Tornado last month. Middle attacker Eric Visgitis in that victory also had nine kills and zero attack errors while hitting .600. King since that home loss has won three of its last five matches. This will be the final match of a three-match road trip during a four-day span that opened with a loss to North Greenville on Wednesday.
Molten/Off the Block NCAA Division III National Match of the Week
No. 5 Rutgers-Newark (1-0) vs. No. 11 Juniata (4-0)
Match vitals: 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Rutgers-Newark player to watch: Opposite Andrew Zaleck earned National Player of the Week honors after having 28 kills on a .641 attack percentage in a four-game victory against NJCU last week. Zaleck ended last season with a 4.48 kills per game average and was a Second-Team All-American and the AVCA National Newcomer of the Year.
Juniata player to watch: Setter Austin Goodsel is second in the nation with an 11.89 assists per game average and has guided the offense to the seventh-best attack percentage in the nation at .317.
Quick breakdown: Two former EIVA teams will face each other in a doubleheader with first place on the line in the CVC. Juniata is on a four-match winning streak to open its season and has lost one game during those matches. In addition, the team had a season-high .406 attack percentage in a sweep against Alderson Broaddus in February. Rutgers-Newark maintained its top-five national ranking following its season-opening victory against NJCU. The Scarlet Raiders finished the abbreviated 2020 season at 17-1 and were No. 6 in the national coaches poll.
Molten/Off the Block NAIA National Match of the Week
No. 7 Park (10-3) vs. No. 14 Mount Mercy (11-5)
Match vitals: 1 p.m. Saturday in Parkville, Missouri
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
Park player to watch: Outside attacker Felipe Guirau is in the top 15 of the NAIA with a 3.86 kills per game average, including having double-digit kills in six consecutive matches.
Mount Mercy player to watch: Outside attacker Evan Gaskill is in the NAIA’s top 20 with a 3.77 kills per game average and has double-digit kills in all but one match this season.
Quick breakdown: One of the top offensive teams in the nation will go up against one of the best defensive teams as No. 7 Park plays host to No. 14 Mount Mercy. Setter Luciano Bucci has an NAIA-best 10.81 assists per game average and has guided the Park offense to the .292 attack percentage, seventh-best in the NAIA. Mount Mercy has players among NAIA leaders in multiple defensive categories. Middle attacker Ben Stffen leads the NAIA with 65 blocks and is sixth in the nation with a 1.16 blocks per game average. In addition, libero Tiago Almeida is sixth in the NAIA averaging 3.49 digs per game and has double-digit digs in 10 straight matches.