It’s all about the Midwest tonight in college men’s volleyball.
The MIVA Tournament will resume tonight with two rivalry matches in the semifinals. Ohio State will begin its title defense with a match against its oldest rival Ball State, while two geographical rivals in Lewis and Loyola will meet in the other semifinal.
Check out the conference tournament matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
No. 1 seed Ohio State (20-8, 9-3 MIVA) vs. No. 5 seed Ball State (13-11, 5-7 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (Ohio Sate won in three games in February and Ball State won in five games in March)
Follow live: Live blog and chat, Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The oldest Midwest rivalry in college volleyball will be renewed in the postseason as Ball State tries to pull off another upset against the four-time defending MIVA champions Ohio State. Ball State despite having less than a .150 attack percentage defeated Grand Canyon in the quarterfinals on Saturday — the only low seed in the nation to win a quarterfinals match. Ohio State received a first-round bye after winning its fifth consecutive MIVA regular season championship. The Ball State-Ohio State rivalry became additionally heated in the recent days. Ball State all-conference middle attacker Matt Leske was quoted Wednesday in The Ball State Daily News that the entire team “hates Ohio State.” Ball State players have also started using the Twitter hashtag #Wegonshocktheworld in reference to this upcoming match. Ohio State has eliminated Ball State from the conference tournament in four of the last five years, including sweeping the Cardinals in the 2008 and 2009 MIVA championship match.
No. 2 seed Lewis (24-6, 9-3 MIVA) vs. No. 3 seed Loyola (19-11, 8-4 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Season series: Tied at 1-1 (Lewis won in three games in February and Loyola won in five games in March)
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The two most balanced offenses in the MIVA will face each other in the semifinals as Loyola will travel less than 50 miles to play its rival Lewis. Lewis leads the MIVA and is sixth in the nation with a .320 attack percentage, while Loyola is second in the conference with a .276 attack percentage. The Ramblers are also the only MIVA team with two players — outside attackers Mike Bunting and Joseph Smalzer — in the nation’s top 20 for kills per game average. In addition, Flyers outside attacker Jay Petty is eighth in the nation with a 3.89 kills per game average. This match will be the third time that the two Chicago-area teams have played each other in the conference tournament. Loyola won the two previous meetings, including a victory in the 2010 MIVA Tournament semifinals.