The MIVA and EIVA has a chance to make an even bigger statement with several marquee non-conference matches tonight.
No. 7 Loyola will attempt to get its third victory against a nationally ranked team in as many night as it plays host to No. 11 USC. In addition, Harvard will play No. 4 Long Beach State with the UC Santa Barbara Invitational championship on the line.
Check out the top five college men’s volleyball matches from around the nation to follow tonight.
1. No. 7 Loyola (2-0, 0-0 MIVA) vs. No. 11 USC (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Chicago
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Loyola could be on the cusp of history tonight. Following victories against No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 3 BYU to open the season, the Ramblers if they beat the Trojans have a chance to become MIVA team in 15 years to be ranked No. 1 in a national coaches poll released during the regular season. Preseason All-American outside attacker Thomas Jaescke had a match-high 18 kills as Loyola swept BYU on Friday. Outside attacker Joseph Smalzer, the 2013 MIVA Player of the Year, in the victory also led all players with four aces, including having back-to-back aces on the final plays of the third game to secure the victory. USC will make its season debut after it ended last season missing the postseason for the first time in more than five years. However, the Trojans have several starters returning and healthy after missing most of last season with injuries. In addition, All-American setter Micah Christenson returns for his junior season after playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team during the off-season.
2. No. 3 BYU (0-1, 0-0 MPSF) vs. No. 10 Lewis (0-1, 0-0 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: Both BYU and Lewis will attempt to bounce back after losing their season-openers earlier in the week. Lewis opened the 2014 college men’s volleyball season with a four-game home loss to No. 1 UC Irvine on Wednesday. Both outside attackers Geoff Powell and Greg Petty in the loss led Lewis with 13 kills. However, the Flyers finished the match with a .159 attack percentage and had two games with less than a .100 attack percentage. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander was the only BYU player in the team’s loss to Loyola on Friday to finish with double-digit kills. Sander, the 2013 Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year, had a team-high 11 kills against the Ramblers. This will be the second consecutive year Lewis and BYU have played each other in non-conference play. The two teams last season split a two-match series in Provo, Utah.
3. No. 1 UC Irvine (1-1, 0-0 MPSF) vs. Ball State (0-0, 0-0 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: The two teams with the best middle attacker tandems in the national will go up against in a non-conference match. UC Irvine middle attacker Collin Mehring was a First-Team Preseason All-American selection, while middle attacker Scott Kevorken earned All-MPSF honors last season and had a career-high 11 blocks in the NCAA finals. In addition, Ball State starting middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske were both named Second-Team Preseason All-Americans. UC Irvine enters its match against Ball State after splitting the first two matches of its three-match Midwest road trip to open its season. This will also be the first time Ball State has played its season opener against a MPSF team since 2009 when it lost to Stanford.
4. No. 4 Long Beach State (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. Harvard (0-0, 0-0 EIVA)
Match vitals: 8 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: In-match tweets
What to know: Harvard is one win away from leaving the West Coast with the UC Santa Barbara Invitational title but will have to beat No. 4 Long Beach State in the championship match. Both teams qualified for the championship match of this annual non-conference tournament after winning their pools Friday in the preliminary round, which consisted of four best-of-three game exhibition matches. Harvard in pool-play went 3-1, including victories against No. 5 Stanford and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach State went undefeated in its pool-play matches to reach the championship match.
5. No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Match vitals: 5:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: For the second consecutive season, UC San Diego will have a chance to finish in third-place at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. The Tritons and Gauchos both reached the third-place match after finishing in second place in their pools during the preliminary round. UC San Diego in pool-play went 2-2 beating No. 14 Cal State Northridge and IPFW. In addition, the Tritons last season at the annual non-conference tournament reached the third-place match and almost upset Long Beach State before losing in five games. UC Santa Barbara went 3-1 in its pool-play matches Friday but lost the tiebreaker to Harvard to miss out playing in the championship match.