It’s all about the surprise teams and players tonight in college men’s volleyball.
UC San Diego eyes another massive upset as it travels to play BYU, while the Cougars are playing to lock down the No. 1 ranking. In addition, outside attacker Greg Herceg will try to continue his breakout season as Ball State travels to Sacred Heart.
Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow this Saturday.
1. No. 3 BYU (4-1, 3-0 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (3-3, 2-1 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Live stats, In-match Tweets
What to know: BYU has a chance move to No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time this season if it can defeat a team that has knack of knocking off nationally ranked teams. BYU enters its home match against UC San Diego after defeating No. 1 UC Irvine in four games Friday. With this victory and No. 2 Stanford’s loss to USC on Friday, the Cougars should be next line to take the top spot in the rankings if they can beat the Tritons. UC San Diego is off to one of its best starts in program history having already upset two top-10 nationally ranked teams. Outside attacker Carl Eberts leads the Tritons with a 3.38 kills per game average, including a match-high 22 kills in UC San Diego’s win against Cal Baptist on Thursday. BYU is 37-0 all-time against UC San Diego.
2. Hawai’i (1-5, 0-3 MPSF) vs. Long Beach State (4-2, 2-1 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match Tweets
What to know: Hawai’i and Long Beach State will conclude their two-match conference series after the 49ers won the first match in a fifth-game overtime Friday. Outside attacker Taylor Crabb in the series-opening victory had a match-high 22 kills. In addition, Long Beach State outside attacker Dalton Ammerman added a match-high five aces. Hawai’i in the loss was held to a .169 attack percentage, including hitting a team-worst .038 in the decisive fifth game. Outside attacker JP Marks in the loss led the Warriors with 15 kills.
3. Loyola (3-3, 0-0 MIVA) vs. George Mason (1-2, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fairfax, Va.
Follow live: Live stats, Pay-per-view Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: The top offense in the MIVA will go up against the top blocking team in the EIVA as Loyola travels to play George Mason. The Ramblers lead the MIVA with a .298 team attack percentage and had a season-high .412 attack percentage in a sweep against St. Francis on Friday. In addition, Loyola outside attacker Joseph Smalzer is among the MIVA leaders with a 3.42 kills per game average. George Mason leads the EIVA with a 3.40 blocks per game average. Middle attacker Piotr Dabrowski also is first in the conference with a 1.90 blocks per game average. If Loyola can win this match, it will have a winning record for the first time this season after starting the year 0-3.
4. Ball State (2-0, 0-0 MIVA) vs. Sacred Heart (0-2, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fairfield, Conn.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Sacred Heart will try to slow down the biggest offensive surprise in the MIVA as it plays host to Ball State. Ball State outside attacker Greg Herceg through two matches leads the conference with a 5.29 kills per game average, including having a match-high 20 kills in a four-game victory against NJIT on Friday. The senior last year averaged 1.81 kills per game. A Ball State player has not finished the season leading the MIVA in kills per game average since Patrick Durbin accomplished the feat in 2008. Sacred Heart lost to IPFW in five games Friday to begin the season with two consecutive losses.
5. Cal Baptist (3-2, 1-1 MPSF) vs. Springfield (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: In-match Tweets
What to know: The defending NCAA Division III champions will open its title defense against the team that upset the defending NCAA Division I champions earlier this week. Springfield and Cal Baptist will both travel to Concordia to play each other as part of a weekend non-conference tournament. Springfield last season captured the inaugural NCAA Division III championship. The Pride also open the season No. 1 in the Division III national coaches poll. Cal Baptist pulled off one of its biggest victories in program history as it defeated UC Irvine in five games earlier this week. Cal Baptist following that victory lost to UC San Diego in five games on Thursday.