It’s been a chaotic first third to the college men’s volleyball season but tonight could provide some clarity — or just add to the chaos.
No. 2 BYU makes its first road appearance this season as it plays No. 5 Pepperdine in the marquee match of the weekend. In addition, Harvard eyes an upset against No. 6 Penn State in EIVA play.
Check out the top-five men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow this tonight.
1. No. 2 BYU (8-2, 7-1 MPSF) vs. No. 5 Pepperdine (6-4, 6-4 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: One-third of the way into the season and BYU will finally play its first road match as it travels to Pepperdine in a match-up between two top-five nationally ranked teams. BYU is on a three-match winning streak, including a sweep against No. 6 UCLA last weekend. In addition, BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander is among the conference leaders with a 3.97 kills per game. The junior in his career also has 67 combined kills in four matches against the Waves. Pepperdine enters this match after defeating Cal Baptist on Wednesday and has won three of its last four matches. Outside attacker Maurice Torres during this four-match stretch leads the Waves with 71 combined kills. Torres is also in third in the MPSF averaging 4.14 kills per game.
2. No. 4 Stanford (8-4, 5-4 MPSF) vs. No. 8 Cal State Northridge (6-4, 4-4 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Northridge, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: Stanford will have a freshman starting at setter against Cal State Northridge, but which freshman setter remains uncertain. Joe Ctvrtlik in his first college start last week had 33 assists as Stanford swept UC Santa Barbara to snap a two-match losing streak. Ctvrtlik in the victory replaced freshman setter James Shaw, who in 11 matches had a 10.21 assists per game average. Cal State Northridge enters this conference match after upsetting Pepperdine last week and with a victory tonight can have a winning conference record for the first time this season. Matadors middle attacker Drew Staker is also in the MPSF’s top-10 with a .509 attack percentage and a 1.23 blocks per game average.
3. No. 6 Penn State (9-2, 3-0 EIVA) vs. Harvard (5-2, 1-1 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: Penn State will put its historic conference winning streak on the line this weekend against a team that has come close to snapping that streak the last two times they played each other. Penn State and its 61-match EIVA winning streak dating back to 2008 will travel to Harvard to open a two-match conference weekend road trip.
Despite Penn State having never lost to Harvard, the Crimson pushed the Nittany Lions to five games in their last two meetings. This conference match will also feature two of the best middle attackers in the conference. Harvard middle attacker Caleb Zimmick is second in the EIVA with a 1.27 blocks per game average, while Penn State middle attacker Aaron Russell is in the conference’s top 10 averaging 2.94 kills per game.
4. No. 9 UCLA (8-7, 4-5 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (4-7, 3-5 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, Radio feed, In-match Tweets
What to know: After upsetting a top-five nationally ranked team in three of its last four matches, Hawai’i will now attempt to beat another nationally ranked team as it opens a two-match series against UCLA. Hawai’i coming off of a bye week will play four matches in a five-day stretch starting with the UCLA series. UCLA opens this series having lost three of its last four matches, including a three-game road loss to BYU last week. This will be the second meeting between UCLA and Hawai’i this season. Outside attacker JP Marks had a match-high 18 kills to help the Warriors upset the Bruins in five games at the Outrigger Invitational in January.
No. 7 Ohio State (8-2, 2-0 MIVA) vs. IPFW (5-3, 2-1 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets
What to know: IPFW has already snapped one long losing streak this week, but now have an even more daunting losing streak to try to break as it plays Ohio State. The Mastodons are on a 10-match losing streak against the Buckeyes with their last victory coming in the 2007 MIVA Tournament championship match. In addition their winning streak against IPFW, Ohio State starts its five-match homestand on a seven-match winning streak after sweeping Penn State on the road last week. IPFW moved into fourth place in the MIVA following its victory against Ball State on Wednesday — the Mastodons first road win versus their in-state rival since 2006. For more on IPFW’s victory earlier this week, check out this story from The News-Sentinel.