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Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

March 4, 2011

The men’s volleyball spotlight is once again focused brightly on Southern California tonight.

No. 1 USC and No. 2 BYU opening their two-match weekend series in Los Angeles highlights tonight’s schedule. Not to be overlooked, though, are two other matches in Southern California tonight between teams in top 10 national rankings, including No. 3 Stanford playing No. 7 UC Irvine.

Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight.

1. No. 1 USC (13-1, 13-1) vs. No. 2 BYU (13-4, 9-3 MPSF)
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: This match marks the first time this season and 10th time in the last five years during the regular season that the top two nationally ranked teams have played each other. USC enters this match first in the nation with a .376 attack percentage and BYU leads the country with a 3.13 blocks per game average. For more on this match you can view Off the Block’s interviews with BYU coach Rob Neilson and USC coach Bill Ferguson.

2. No. 3 Stanford (12-4, 9-4 MPSF) vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (10-8, 7-5 MPSF)
Match vitals:
9 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, In-match tweets
What to know: After being sub-.500 for the first quarter of the season, UC Irvine is on a four match conference winning streak and is fifth in the MPSF. However, the Anteaters last conference loss came against the Cardinal in five games. The match will also feature two of the nation’s leaders in kills per game average. UC Irvine’s Carson Clark is fourth averaging 4.65 kills per game, while Stanford’s Brad Lawson is ninth averaging 4.25 kills per game and is the reigning National Player of the Week.

3. No. 4 Ohio State (12-2, 5-0 MIVA) vs. Lewis (12-4, 3-1 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: One day before playing second place No. 10 Loyola, Ohio State will play third-place Lewis in a conference match. The Buckeyes have yet to lose a match or game in MIVA play this season, and outside attacker Shawn Sangrey is averaging 4.33 kills per game. Lewis is one of five teams in the nation to have 12 wins, but all four of its losses have come against teams currently ranked in the top 10. If the Flyers lose Friday it could make the MIVA a two-team race for the rest of the season.

4. No. 6 Long Beach State (9-6, 8-4 MPSF) vs. No. 9 UCLA (10-9, 5-8 MPSF)
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed
What to know: If recent history tells us anything, expect this match to go five games. This will be the third time Long Beach State and UCLA have met this season, with the previous two matches both going five games. Long Beach State has won three of its last four matches, including a road win against No. 5 UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. UCLA is 3-2 in its last five matches and swept Cal State Northridge earlier this week.

5. Pepperdine (6-7, 4-7 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (6-9, 4-6 MPSF)
Match vitals:
Midnight in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed
What to know: This two-match series reeks of desperation. In the preseason both these teams were ranked in the top five and now they are fighting just to get into the MPSF playoffs. Pepperdine has recovered from an 0-5 conference start and is now one match out of the eighth place — the final MPSF Tournament spot. Hawai’i outside attacker Joshua Walker is leading the nation at a 5.30 kills per game average, but the Warriors have lost three of their last four MPSF matches.

Best of the rest
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (10-7, 8-6 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (4-13, 3-9 MPSF)
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: Both teams lost midweek matches. In addition, the Gauchos are in sixth place in the conference and a win against the 10th place Matadors will help continue their push to make their first MPSF Tournament in five years.

George Mason (11-4, 6-1 EIVA) vs. IPFW (6-7, 0-5 MIVA)
Match vitals: 7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: IPFW upset George Mason in their previous match this season as outside attacker Darryl Shank had a career-high 37 kills. This will also be the first match George Mason has played since being swept by No. 8 Penn State in match for sole possession of first place in the EIVA.

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