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Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

March 25, 2011

This week has been anything but dull in men’s volleyball.

Five top-10 ranked teams will be in action tonight, one day after four teams ranked in the media poll all lost. No. 4 BYU playing No. 6 Hawai’i is the only match between two top 10 teams. However, not to be overlooked is No. 1 USC playing against the only team it lost to this season and a Hall of Fame coach being on the verge of achieving a milestone.

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

[Editor’s note: All match start times are local times]

1. No. 4 BYU (15-7, 11-6 MPSF) vs. No. 6 Hawai’i (12-10, 10-7 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Provo, Utah
Follow live: Game tracker, Radio feed, Online video
What to know: The two teams will conclude their two-match series after BYU swept Hawai’i in the opener Thursday to snap the Warriors’ six match winning streak. The Cougars had three players with at least 10 kills and out-hit the Warriors .552 to .263, including having no attack errors and a .773 attack percentage in the final game. Outside attacker Jonas Umlauft in the loss had a match-high 18 kills to improve upon his national leading 5.44 kills per game average. The victory also continued the series trend between these teams of the home team winning every match since 2006.

2. No. 1 USC (15-1, 14-1 MPSF) vs. Pepperdine (8-11, 4-11 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Game tracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: The lone blemish to USC’s perfect season come on the road against Pepperdine in January. The Trojans since that loss have won nine consecutive matches and are in first place in the MPSF with a three-match lead. If USC wins it would also tie the program’s longest home winning streaking at 19 matches. Pepperdine has lost six of its last seven MPSF matches, inlcuding a loss to last-place UC San Diego. With seven MPSF matches left, Pepperdine is three matches behind No. 7 UCLA for the final MPSF Tournament spot and is in jeopardy of missing the postseason for the first time in program history.

3. Lewis (15-7, 3-3 MIVA) vs. Ball State (12-8, 3-4 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed, In-match tweets
What to know: The rivalry has died down a little since three years ago when former Ball State setter Ethan Pheister had to be restrained from getting into an in-match fight with a Lewis player, but these team still do not like each other. Now add to that dislike the postseason positioning that is on the line tonight with the winner likely being the No. 3 seed and the loser the No. 4 seed in the MIVA Tournament. Expect for this to be a long match. The last five matches between Lewis and Ball State have all gone five games, including the Flyers’ victory against the Cardinals in February.

4. No. 3 Stanford (14-5, 11-4 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (6-16, 4-11 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Stanford, Calif.
Follow live: Game tracker
What to know: Stanford and coach John Kosty will see if their strategy of resting three starters in a non-conference loss to Cal Baptist last week pays off. Stanford prior to the loss was on a five match winning streak, including three wins against top 10 ranked teams. Cal State Northridge is tied for ninth place in the MPSF and ended a five match conference losing streak with an upset victory against then-No. 2 BYU last week. In their previous match this season, the Cardinal swept the Matadors.

5. Loyola (16-5, 6-1 MIVA) vs. IPFW (11-8, 2-5 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Fort Wayne
Follow live: Live stats, Radio feed
What to know: For the second consecutive match, IPFW will play a nationally ranked team with coach Arnie Ball attempting to get his 500th career win. No. 9 Penn State swept IPFW on Saturday to deny Ball the milestone victory and end the Mastodons’ five match winning streak. Loyola remains in second place in the MIVA after a five-game victory against Lewis on Tuesday. A win tonight would also set up Loyola’s match next week against first-place Ohio State to be for the MIVA regular season title.

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