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
No. 5/3 Lewis (15-2, 10-2 MIVA) vs. No. 10/9 Loyola (13-3, 9-3 MIVA)
Match vitals: 5 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday in Chicago
Follow live: Live stats (Thursday), Live stats (Thursday), Live video (Friday), Live stats (Friday)
Lewis player to watch: All-American outside attacker Ryan Coenen has a nation-best 4.47 kills per game average and has at least 20 kills in three matches this season.
Loyola player to watch: Loyola is undefeated this season when outside attacker Cole Schlothauer is on the court and not sidelined with an injury. Schlothauer is in the nation’s top 15 averaging 3.88 kills per game, including having a match-high 20 kills in a victory against Ball State on Saturday.
Quick breakdown: The MIVA regular season championship and home court advantage throughout the conference tournament is at stake as No. 5/3 Lewis travels for a two-match series against No. 10/9 Loyola. The Flyers enter the final week of the regular season in first place and need to win one of the two matches versus their in-state rival to clinch back-to-back MIVA regular season titles. The Ramblers are in second place and one-match behind the Flyers in the conference standings, and if they sweep the series will win their first conference regular season title since 2014. Both Loyola and Lewis are the top offensive teams in the conference. Lewis is second in the nation with a .338 attack percentage and has hit more than .400 three times during its seven-match winning streak. Loyola is 10th in the country hitting .304, including having a .385 attack percentage in a sweep against Ball State last week.
Molten/Off the Block NCAA Division III National Match of the Week
No. 4 Vassar (4-2) vs. No. 6 St. John Fisher (6-3)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday in Elmira, New York
Follow live: Live stats
Vassar player to watch: Outside attacker Andrew Kim leads Vassar averaging both 3.58 kills per game and 1.00 aces per game, including having a program-record 11 aces in the season opener against Elmira.
St. John Fisher player to watch: Middle attacker Ivan Lopez is second in the nation with a 1.29 blocks per game average and had a season-high 10 blocks in a five-game victory against No. 13 Nazareth on Tuesday.
Quick breakdown: No. 6 St. John Fisher can clinch the No. 1 seed for the upcoming UVC Tournament as it plays a doubleheader against No. 4 Vassar to close out the regular season. St. John Fisher moved into sole possession of first place in the conference after beating No. 13 Nazareth on Tuesday. The Cardinals are third in the nation with a 2.42 blocks per game average and have two players in the nation’s top 40 for blocks. Vassar leads the conference with a .308 attack percentage and has hit more than .400 in three of its six matches this season.
Molten/Off the Block NAIA National Match of the Week
No. 15 UC Merced (10-0) vs. Simpson (6-5)
Match vitals: 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Redding, California
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
UC Merced player to watch: Opposite Chris Morikawa is in the top 20 of the NAIA with both a 4.00 kills per game average and a .409 attack percentage.
Simpson player to watch: Freshman setter Nikos Kalagasidis is ninth in the NAIA with a 0.59 aces per game average.
Quick breakdown: No. 15 UC Merced will attempt to complete its first undefeated regular season in program history as it plays Simpson. This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season. Outside attacker Joseph Webb had a team-high 14 kills on a .370 attack percentage as UC Merced defeated Simpson in five games last week in their most recent match.