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Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

April 16, 2011

It is the final day of the regular season and there is a sense of calmness to the brackets.

Unlike other seasons when teams were still battling to get into the postseason, all the teams in this year’s conference tournaments are known. However, there are a couple of matches tonight that will determine where teams are seeded and could play a vital role in any potential upsets in the conference tournaments.

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

1. No. 1 USC (20-2, 19-2 MPSF) vs. No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (14-13, 11-10 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: The Gauchos are one of the few teams whose postseason seeding has yet to be determined. If UC Santa Barbara lose it will be the No. 7 seed and play the No. 2 BYU in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. A win tonight coupled with a Long Beach State loss would move UC Santa Barbara to the No. 6 seed and a first-round match against No. 3 Stanford. UC Santa Barbara is 1-2 in its last three matches with an upset victory against Stanford and losses Pacific and Pepperdine, two teams eliminated from the postseason. USC swept UCLA on Wednesday and has a chance to become the first team to win 20 MPSF matches in more than 10 years.

2. No. 8 Long Beach State (13-13, 11-10 MPSF) vs. Cal State Northridge (7-21, 5-16 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video
What to know: How about this incentive for the 49ers tonight. A win and Long Beach State is the No. 6 seed and gets to play the No. 3 seed Stanford, a team it beat twice in the regular season, to open the MPSF Tournament. A loss and Long Beach State could get the No. 7 seed and play the No. 2 seed BYU, a team it has not defeated in three years. Long Beach State enters tonight after defeating UC San Diego last week to snap a three match losing streak. Cal State Northridge, one year removed from playing in the Final Four, will close out its season tonight attempting to avoid finishing in last place.

3. No. 10 UCLA (16-13, 9-12 MPSF) vs. Pepperdine (10-15, 6-15 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Follow live: Gametracker
What to know: One of the most dismal seasons for coach Marv Dunphy and Pepperdine will finally end tonight. After being in the preseason top five, the Waves will finish conference play with a losing record and will miss the MPSF Tournament for the first time in program history. In addition, the athletics department in March announced a one-year postseason ban for the men’s volleyball team because of NCAA violations. UCLA secured a conference losing record with a loss to USC on Wednesday, but will still be in the MPSF Tournament as the No. 8 seed. The Bruins have also lost four of their last five matches following a seven match winning streak.

4. No. 7 Penn State (21-6, 10-0 EIVA) vs. IPFW (16-10, 5-7 MIVA)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: Penn State will attempt to salvage its Midwest road trip after losing in three games to unranked Ball State on Friday. The loss snapped the Nittany Lions’ six match winning streak as the team hit .162 — well below its .327 season average attack percentage. IPFW has won five of its last six matches, including three-game victory against St. Francis on Friday.

5. No. 4 UC Irvine (17-11, 13-8 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (9-19, 5-16 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7 p.m. in San Diego
Follow live: Live stats
What to know: Anteaters outside attacker Corey Yoder is fourth in the nation averaging a .411 attack percentage and in the last two matches is hitting .491 with one attack error and 28 kills. In addition, UC Irvine can close out its regular season on a six match winning streak with a win tonight against last place UC San Diego. UC San Diego has lost four of its last five matches, but did upset UC Irvine earlier this season.

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