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Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

March 5, 2011

Two of the three men’s volleyball conferences will have two of their top teams playing each other tonight.

No. 1 USC finishing its weekend series against No. 2 BYU in the MPSF still highlights all the matches today. The other match, though, that is for sole possession of first place is in the Midwest as No. 4 Ohio State and No. 10 Loyola play with both teams vying to become the first team to go undefeated in MIVA play since 1998.

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

1. No. 1 USC (11-1, 11-1 MPSF) vs. No. 2 BYU (13-5, 9-4 MPSF)
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: The top two ranked teams will conclude their two-match series after USC won the opener in five games Friday. In the first match, BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander had a match-high 29 kills, while outside attacker Murphy Troy led USC with 22 kills. The Trojans also out-hit the Cougars .416 to .396, including having a .562 attack percentage in the decisive fifth game. Following tonight’s match, USC will retire the jerseys of former All-Americans and Olympians Dusty Dvorak and Celso Kalache.

2. No. 4 Ohio State (13-2, 6-0 MIVA) vs. No. 10 Loyola (12-3, 5-0)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: The two remaining undefeated teams in the MIVA will play each other for sole possession of first place. Expect for there to be a lot of offense in this match. Both teams are in the nation’s top three with more than a .360 attack percentage. In addition, Ohio State outside attacker Shawn Sangrey’s 4.33 kills per game average and Loyola outside attacker Mike Bunting’s 4.38 kills per game average led the conference. This will also be the first time the Buckeyes and Ramblers have played each other since the 2010 MIVA championship match, which Ohio State rallied to win in five games.

3. No. 3 Stanford (13-4, 10-4 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (6-13, 3-10 MPSF)
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in San Diego
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: UC San Diego pulled the upset of the year the last time it played Stanford, winning in three games for their first victory against the Cardinal in program history. The Tritons since that match in early February are on a five-mach conference losing streak, including a loss to 10th-place Pacific on Friday. Stanford defeated No. 7 UC Irvine in a road match Friday and has won five of its last six matches since being upset.

4. Pepperdine (6-8, 4-8 MPSF) vs. Hawai’i (7-9, 5-6 MPSF)
Match vitals:
Midnight in Honolulu
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed
What to know: Warriors outside attackers Joshua Walker and Jonas Umlauft each had a match-high 15 kills as Hawai’i swept Pepperdine in the opener of their two-match series Friday. In the loss, the Waves were held to a .158 attack percentage, including a .034 attack percentage in the final game. Pepperdine is in ninth place in the conference standings and a match out of the final spot for the MPSF Tournament.

5. Ball State (8-6, 3-3 MIVA) vs. George Mason (11-5, 6-1 EIVA)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: After being healthy and not starting in a match for the first time since his freshman year, Ball State senior middle attacker J.D. Gasparovic will return to the start lineup. Cardinals coach Joel Walton benched his former All-American for the team’s two conference matches against Quincy last week because of his poor recent performance. Gasparovic was averaging 1.59 kills per game and a .312 attack percentage — both below his career average.Playing George Mason, though, might be the best thing for Gasparovic. The senior had a season-high 14 kills in the two teams previous meeting this season. George Mason won that match in four games — the time it has defeated a MIVA team this year.

Best of the rest
UC Irvine vs. Pacific
Match vitals:
10 p.m. in Irvine, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: The turn around to the UC Irvine’s season started when it swept Pacific in early February. The Anteaters since that match have won four of their last six matches and are in sixth place in the MPSF. Pacific defeated UC San Diego on Friday to end a five-match conference losing streak and to move out of last place in the MPSF.

Sacred Heart (7-3, 3-1 EIVA) vs. IPFW (7-7, 0-5 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: Sacred Heart upset IPFW in five games earlier this season. The Pioneers are also fifth in the nation averaging 1.59 aces per game. Despite its losing record this season, IPFW is 7-2 in non-conference matches this year, including a victory against George Mason on Friday.

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