Only one thing could overshadow a No. 1 versus No. 2 match-up: the aftermath of servegate.
No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 BYU will conclude their two match series after the opener featured one of the most controversial ending to a NCAA volleyball match in recent history. In addition, No. 1 USC will look to extend its nation-best winning streak as it plays host to No. 2 UC Irvine.
Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 3 UCLA (21-5, 15-4 MPSF) vs. No. 4 BYU (20-6, 16-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: Welcome to the aftermath of servegate. Less than 24 hours after the wildest ending to a college volleyball match in recent history, UCLA and BYU will play each other again to conclude their two-match conference series. The Bruins in the series opener defeated the Cougars in part because of a controversial call on a serve in the fifth game overtime. With BYU serving match-point at 16-15, the officials initially ruled the Cougars’ serve landed inside the back-line for a match-winning ace. That call resulted in large protest from UCLA as coach Al Scates left the bench and walked across the court argue with the officials. In addition, UCLA players refused to leave the court or line-up to shake hands with the BYU players in protest of the call. Event security also went on the court to stand in between the players and officials. After almost 10 minutes of arguing from both UCLA and BYU, the officials decided to replay the point. The replay point ended in a BYU service error, and UCLA eventually won the fifth game 20-18. UCLA with the victory moved into a tie for second place in the MPSF and a half-match behind first-place UC Irvine, while BYU dropped into fourth place. Despite the loss, BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander had amatch-high 21 kills and outside attacker Robb Stowell added 18 kills. This upcoming series finale will also be the final regular season home match for Scates, who will retire at the end of the season. Following the BYU and UCLA match, there will be a ceremony to honor the Hall of Fame coach.
2. No. 1 USC (19-4, 15-4 MPSF) vs. No. 2 UC Irvine (20-4, 16-4 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The nation’s top offensive team will go up against the nation’s top defensive team as USC will play host to UC Irvine. UC Irvine leads the nation with a .363 attack percentage, while USC leads the MPSF holding opponents to a .191 attack percentage. The Trojans also are on a nation-best 14-match winning streak — their longest winning streak in more than 20 years — and a half-match behind the Anteaters for first place in the MPSF. UC Irvine lost to UCLA in three games last week to snap its eight-match winning streak. The team rebounded from the loss, though, and defeated No. 6 Pepperdine in five games on Thursday. This will be the second meeting this season between USC and UC Irvine. The Anteaters in the first game out-hit the Trojans .333 to .234 and won in four games.
3. No. 7 Penn State (19-3, 12-0 EIVA) vs. Harvard (17-3, 9-2 EIVA)
Match vitals: 2 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match Tweets
What to know: Penn State will can clinch its 13th consecutive EIVA regular season title if it can defeat the nation’s biggest surprise team this year: Harvard. The Crimson, which were picked to finish the EIVA in sixth place in the conference’s preseason coaches poll, are in second place and two-and-half matches the Nittany Lions for first place. Harvard has won 10 of its last 11 matches, including beating St. Francis in four games on Friday. Penn State remains undefeated in conference play after sweeping Sacred Heart on Friday. That victory also extended the Nittany Lions’ conference winning streak to 54 matches. Penn State is 3-0 all-time against Harvard and has never dropped a set to the Crimson.
4. Ball State (11-9, 4-6 MIVA) vs. IPFW (12-12, 4-5 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live chat, In-match Tweets
What to know: Anyone wondering what the IPFW and Ball State rivalry means to the Mastodons just needs to know this: two weeks ago the IPFW athletics department launched the Twitter hashtag #BeatBallState. IPFW moved into solo possession of fifth place in the MIVA following Ball State’s four-game loss to No. 9 Lewis on Friday. For more on this match, check out this article in today’s issue of The News-Sentinel.
5. No. 7 Pepperdine (13-12, 8-11 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (8-17, 6-14 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video
What to know: UC San Diego will have to upset another top 10 nationally ranked team tonight if it wants to remain in contention for the final spot to the MPSF Tournament. The Tritons with two conferences matches remaining are in ninth place in the MPSF and are two-and-half matches behind Cal State Northridge for the final postseason berth. UC San Diego is on a program-best five-match conference winning streak, including an upset victory against UCLA last week. Pepperdine’s last three matches have gone five games with loses to No. 5 Stanford and No. 2 UC Irvine. If Pepperdine defeats UC San Diego, it would move into solo possession of sixth place in the MPSF.