Two days remain in the regular season for the MPSF and MIVA and there is still a whole lot left to be decided.
No. 4 Pepperdine versus No. 10 Hawai’i highlight the matches tonight as both teams are in need of a victory to improve their playoff position. In addition out in the Midwest, No. 1 Loyola plays Ohio State with a chance to accomplish something not done in the last 35 years.
Check out the top five college men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.
1. No. 4 Pepperdine (16-6, 16-6 MPSF) vs. No. 10 Hawai’i (15-10, 14-9 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: If Hawai’i is going to earn a spot in the MPSF Tournament it will have to overcome its biggest challenge all season by winning on the road. Hawai’i opens a two-match road series against Pepperdine in eighth place in the MPSF and must win at least one of the two matches to be have a chance for a spot in the postseason. The Rainbow Warriors are 4-6 on the road this season and have not won a road match against the Waves since 2010. Hawai’i kept its postseason hopes alive last week with two home victories against first-place BYU. Outside attacker Sinisa Zarkovic had a team-high 34 combined kills in the two wins and was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week. Pepperdine enters this series needing one win to be assured it will earn a home match of the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and can lock-up the No. 2 seed with a series sweep.
2. No. 2 Stanford (18-7, 15-7 MPSF) vs. No. 5 UC Irvine (17-9, 14-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, Online video, In-match tweets
What to know: As unlikely as it may have seemed midway through the season, UC Irvine and Stanford will play each with both teams needing a victory to get home match for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal and the Anteaters started the season in the bottom half of the MPSF, but recovered in the final two months to move into the conference’s top five. Stanford enters its weekend road trip on a conference-best nine-match winning streak, while UC Irvine has won eight of its last nine matches. In addition, the Cardinal is second in the nation with a .336 attack percentage and has hit at least .300 in its last five matches. Outside attacker Brian Cook is also in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.63 kills per game average. UC Irvine outside attacker Zack La Cavara leads the team and is among the conference leaders with a 3.15 kills per game average.
3. No. 1 Loyola (23-1, 13-0 MIVA) vs. Ohio State (11-14, 6-7 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets
What to know: Loyola in its regular season-finale against Ohio State has a chance to do something no MIVA team has accomplished in more than 30 years. The Ramblers with a victory will finish the MIVA regular season undefeated — becoming the first MIVA team to have a perfect conference season consisting of at least 10 matches since Ball State in 1979. Outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke leads Loyola and is among the conference leaders with a 3.62 kills per game average, including having 10 kills and 10 digs in a sweep agains the Buckeyes earlier this season. Ohio State has clinched the No. 5 seed for the upcoming MIVA Tournament. This is also the first time since 1962 that the Buckeyes will not be a top-four seed in the MIVA Tournament. Freshman middle attacker Driss Guessous, though, is second in the conference with a .450 attack percentage and has double-digit kills in the last three matches.
4. No. 3 BYU (18-6, 18-4 MPSF) vs. No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (16-8, 15-8 MPSF)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: UC Santa Barbara still has a chance to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament but it will need to beat first-place BYU in its regular season finale to bolster its at-large bid hopes. The Gauchos in the latest Off the Block bracketology were among the first-four teams out for one of the two at-large bids following its upset loss to Cal State Northridge last week. In addition, UC Santa Barbara has already clinched a berth to the MPSF Tournament and can clinch a home match for the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals if it beats BYU. The Gauchos have not played host to a postseason match since 2000. BYU continues its regular-season ending road trip after losing two matches to No. 10 Hawai’i last weekend. The Cougars have already clinched the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the conference tournament. Outside attacker Taylor Sander in the two losses led the Cougars with a 33 combined kills and now has at least 15 kills in each of BYU’s last four matches.
5. Princeton (14-8, 9-3 EIVA) vs. George Mason (13-12, 7-5 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fairfax, Va.
Follow live: Live stats, In-match tweets
What to know: George Mason will try to lock-up the final berth to the EIVA Tournament as it plays Princeton in its home regular season finale. The Patriots enter this conference match in fourth place in the EIVA and has a one-match lead on fifth-place St. Francis. In addition, George Mason middle attacker Hunter Stevens also leads the conference with a 1.34 blocks per game average, including have a match-high eight blocks in a non-conference loss to Ohio State in Sunday. Princeton has already clinched a berth to the EIVA Tournament but can clinch at least the No. 3 seed and avoid playing Penn State until the conference tournament championship match if it beats George Mason. The Tigers also enter their first meeting of the season against the Patriots having won seven of their last eight matches.