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Conference tournament men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

April 28, 2011

From coast to coast the men’s volleyball conference tournaments are in full swing tonight.

Penn State on the East Coast looks to move one win closer to clinching its 13th consecutive EIVA title and a spot in the Final Four. In addition, the two Cinderellas of the West Coast, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara, play with a chance to advance to the MPSF Tournament championship match.

The winners of these semifinals matches tonight will play in their conference tournament championship match Saturday.

Check out the conference tournament matches to follow tonight.

MPSF Tournament semifinals

No. 1 seed USC (22-2, 20-2 MPSF) vs. No. 4 seed UC Irvine (19-11, 14-8 MPSF)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Online video, In-match Tweets
Season series: USC leads 2-0 (won in four games in January and March)
What to know: Two of the best offenses in the nation will face each other in the conference tournament semifinals. USC leads the nation in kills per game average and is second with a .353 attack percentage, while UC Irvine is second in country in kills per game average and third with a .347 attack percentage. In addition, the match will feature four First-Team All-MPSF outside attackers. USC’s Murphy Troy was named the MPSF Player of the Year after finishing in the nation’s top 15 in kills per game average and attack percentage, and Tony Ciarelli was among the conference leaders with a 3.50 kills per game average. UC Irvine’s Carson Clarke is fourth in the nation averaging 4.58 kills per game, and Cory Yoder is fourth in the nation with a .417 attack percentage. USC is hosting the MPSF Tournament after winning conference regular season title and defeating UCLA in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The Trojans also became the first team since 1995 to be ranked No. 1 from the preseason through the end of the regular season. UC Irvine defeated Hawai’i in its quarterfinals match to extend its winning streak to a nation-best seven matches.

No. 6 seed Long Beach State (15-13, 12-10 MPSF) vs. No. 7 seed UC Santa Barbara (15-14, 11-11 MPSF)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. in Los Angeles
Follow live: Gametracker, Radio feed, Online video
Season series: Long Beach leads 2-0 (won in three games in January and four games in March)
What to know: For one of the first times in MPSF Tournament history, a No. 6 seed will play a No. 7 seed with the winner advancing to the conference championship match. UC Santa Barbara playing in its first postseason match since 2007 upset the No. 2 seed BYU in the quarterfinals on Saturday. In the victory outside attacker Jeff Menzel, the only Gaucho named to the First-Team All-MPSF, had a match-high 27 kills. Long Beach State upset the No. 3 Standford in its quarterfinals match as three 49ers had at least 15 kills. This will be the third time UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State have played each other this season. The 49ers held the Gauchos in both their regular season matches to less than a .225 attack percentage — well below UC Santa Barbara’s .327 season average, seventh best in the nation. Menzel was also held to a combined 24 kills in the two matches. Menzel leads the team and is ninth in the nation with a 4.17 kills per game average.

EIVA Tournament semifinals

No. 1 seed Penn State (22-6, 10-0 EIVA) vs. No. 4 seed Rutgers-Newark (17-11, 4-6 EIVA)
Match vitals:
8 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets, Live blogging
Season series: Penn State leads 2-0 (won in four games in February and three games in March)
What to know:The only EIVA team to defeat Penn State in the last three years will play the Nittany Lions in the conference tournament semifinals. Rutgers-Newark upset Penn State in five games at Newark, N.J., last season. Since that match Penn State is undefeated in the EIVA, including two victories against Rutgers-Newark in the regular season. Penn State coach Mark Pavlik also said Tuesday that the loss to Rutgers-Newark has helped keep his players focused and they are not overlooking the Scarlet Raiders. Penn State received a bye to the semifinals and has home court throughout the EIVA Tournament after winning the conference regular season title. It is also two wins away from its 13th consecutive EIVA championship and a trip to the Final Four, which will be played at Penn State this season. Rutgers-Newark swept St. Francis on Saturday to advance to its first EIVA Tournament semifinals match in five years.

No. 2 seed George Mason (17-10, 8-2 EIVA) vs. No. 3 seed Springfield (17-14, 4-6 EIVA)
Match vitals:
5:30 p.m. in University Park, Pa.
Follow live: Gametracker, Pay-per-view online video, In-match Tweets, Live blogging
Season series: George Mason leads 2-0 (in three games in January and five games in February)
What to know: George Mason this season quietly has been one of the best defensive teams in the nation this season. The Patriots are second in the nation with a 2.95 blocks per game average and middle attacker Shaun Sibley leads all players in the country with a 1.55 blocks per game average. George Mason also led the EIVA averaging almost nine digs per game. Springfield has been one of the best offensive teams in the EIVA this season, only trailing Penn State in the conference with a .312 attack percentage. In addition, Springfield middle attackers Greg Falcone and Cal Palumbo, both First-Team All-EIVA selections, led the conference with a .508 and .495 attack percentage. George Mason defeated the No. 7 seed NYU in four games in its quarterfinals match on Saturday, while Springfield beat the No. 6 seed Juniata in four games to advance to the semifinals.

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