Don’t look now but the two-time defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes have got things rolling again right as we reach the final month of the season. With two top-10 victories this week, not only did they collect their best wins of the season, but also pushed their winning streak to eight. That created a bit of a mix-up in the top 10 of the rankings, with some other shuffling down the line.
One thing remains certain at the top though; Long Beach State continues to not flinch in the big moment – which occurs rarely with how dominant they’ve been. With another impressing job by the 49ers of fending off a highly ranked challenger, the Beach kicks things off at the top spot once again:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 21-0 (6-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. #4 UC Irvine (3-2), at #4 UC Irvine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at UC San Diego, vs. UC San Diego
- The 49ers still have to head to Hawaii for a pair, but dispelled their most difficult challenge left on the regular season slate in UC Irvine. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but the 49ers continue to look unbeatable in 2018.
2. BYU COUGARS
- 19-5 (9-1, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; Lost vs. #15 Concordia Irvine (2-3); Def. #12 Grand Canyon (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #7 Pepperdine, at #3 UCLA
- The Cougars were upended in a close one at home but bounced back strongly over Grand Canyon. The reason they don’t drop is because of that second win and losses from three through five this week as well – with the loss to #3 UCLA giving BYU at least a share of the regular season MPSF title.
3. UCLA BRUINS
- 20-6 (7-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; Def. #11 UCSB (3-0); Lost at #19 USC (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Stanford, vs. #2 BYU
- UCLA missed a big chance at USC, as not only did they fall to their rivals but also would have been just a match out of BYU with an appearance against them to come. Still, winning both this week with a BYU loss to Pepperdine would give them a share of the MPSF crown.
4. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 17-7 (3-3, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; Lost at #1 LBSU (2-3), vs. #1 LBSU (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #8 CSUN, at #8 CSUN
- The Anteaters were actually in discussion to move up in the rankings with two losses because of how close they played the unstoppable force that is LBSU. They remain four instead with a critical four matches to close the regular season in regards to their NCAA chances.
5. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 19-4 (10-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Def. #5 Loyola Chicago (3-1), #9 Lewis (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #13 Fort Wayne, at #12 Ball State
- Ohio State’s resume still doesn’t stack up with the top four, but they now have their top two victories of the season following this past week. Most importantly they’re tied atop the MIVA, as they look to be coming on strong at the right part of the season.
6. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 20-5 (10-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #5; Lost at #8 Ohio State (1-3); Def. at #18 McKendree (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Lindenwood, at Quincy
- Loyola Chicago couldn’t win in Columbus, but can still win twice this week to secure at least a share of the regular season crown. Then the real test comes in the MIVA postseason tournament.
7. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 14-6 (7-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at #19 USC (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #2 BYU, vs. (RV) Stanford
- Pepperdine slid down a spot with Ohio State jumping ahead, but now have a chance to hop some teams themselves with a big match ahead against BYU as they try to close out MPSF play strong and cling to their hopes of at least an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
8. CSUN MATADORS
- 13-8 (3-3, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; Def. #11 UCSB (3-1); Lost at #11 UCSB (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #4 UC Irvine, vs. #4 UC Irvine
- The Matadors did have a split, but jump ahead get closer to Hawaii in record and resume, allowing their two victories over the Rainbow Warriors to kick in and hop them to number eight.
9. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 15-6 (3-3, Big West)
- Last Week: #7; Def. (RV) UCSD (3-0), (RV) UCSD (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #11 UCSB, at #11 UCSB
- Hawaii was jumped by two teams – Ohio State and CSUN – who both got a big win and in one case the Rainbow Warriors were finally reached in a tiebreaker to their losses with the Matadors. They’ll have to earn their first road win of the season this week to not fall again.
10. LEWIS FLYERS
- 16-10 (7-5, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Lost at #18 McKendree (1-3), at #8 Ohio State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Quincy, at Lindenwood
- The four-match road trip to end the year didn’t start off too hot for Lewis, but the easier pair comes this week. They only slide a spot with the team below them also losing twice, a better record than them and a head-to-head win – as well as a H2H victory over now #12 a week prior.
11. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 10-9 (3-3, Big West)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at #3 UCLA (0-3), at #10 CSUN (1-3); Def. #10 CSUN (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #9 Hawaii, vs. #9 Hawaii
- UCSB had a 1-2 week, but considering it was against three top ten teams they stay at the #10 spot in the rankings with a chance to move up higher against Hawaii twice coming up.
12. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 15-11 (8-4, MIVA)
- Last Week: #13; Def. Lindenwood (3-2), Quincy (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #17 McKendree, vs. #5 Ohio State
- The regular season closes in a difficult pairing for Ball State, but it’s also a final chance at some resume boosting wins. Beyond that, it would give them plenty of confidence to play tough against Ohio State once the MIVA tournament rolls around.
13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 17-9 (5-7, MIVA)
- Last Week: #14; Def. Quincy (3-0), Lindenwood (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #5 Ohio State, vs. #17 McKendree
- The Mastodons will look to finish the year strong at home this week after beginning their final push in a four-match home-stand with a pair of victories.
14. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 13-14 (4-7, MPSF)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at #2 BYU (3-2); Lost at (RV) Stanford (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at UC Santa Cruz, vs. #19 USC
- Concordia has been able to reach up and take out some of the best teams this season – including now at BYU. The one thing holding them back has been consistency, which was displayed in a road loss to Stanford to disallow them from backing up a great week.
15. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 16-10 (3-8, MPSF)
- Last Week: #12; Lost at (RV) Stanford (2-3), at #2 BYU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Benedictine, vs. #19 USC
- Grand Canyon’s MPSF slate has not gone as hoped, as now they are in a competitive race for the final half of the league. They can still earn a bit of redemption against USC, which comes at home where they’ve been better at 8-4.
16. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 14-10 (10-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #16; Def. at NJIT (3-2), at (RV) Princeton (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Saint Francis, vs. #18 Penn State
- The Patriots first win coming in five wasn’t all too impressive considering the opponent, but a win even in five against a Princeton team that’s on a roll was. Although some hurdles lie ahead, all of their final four come at home as they look like a good bet to go unbeaten in EIVA regular season play.
17. MCKENDREE BEARCATS
- 11-12 (6-6, MIVA)
- Last Week: #18; Def. #9 Lewis (3-1); Lost vs. #5 Loyola Chicago (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #12 Ball State, at #13 Fort Wayne
- McKendree moves a bit higher this week as although they lost once they downed a top-10 Lewis bunch for another solid victory. They’ve really got it going of late and should pose a threat to Ball State and Fort Wayne this week on the road.
18. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 12-9 (7-3, EIVA)
- Last Week: #17; Def. at Sacred Heart (3-1); Lost at Harvard (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Charleston, at #16 George Mason
- The Nittany Lions defeated Sacred Heart, but were upset by Harvard on Saturday in five. It’s another add-on to a disappointing season, but that all can be changed if a talented team can flip the switch in the EIVA Tournament.
19. USC TROJANS
- 7-17 (3-7, MPSF)
- Last Week: #19; Lost vs. #6 Pepperdine (0-3); Def. #3 UCLA (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #15 Grand Canyon, at #14 Concordia Irvine
- USC had a split week, and earned their biggest win of the season in upending rival UCLA on senior night. They don’t move up though because the gap between them and 18 was already sizable, but now its closer. Most importantly though for a young team, the Trojans may have solidified the fact that they have a bright future ahead.
20. PRINCETON TIGERS
- 9-13 (5-5, EIVA)
- Last Week: RV; Def. Erskine (3-0); Lost vs. #16 George Mason (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Harvard, at Sacred Heart
- Princeton moves on from being unranked to #20 with a sweep win and an impressive tight loss on the road to an unbeaten team in EIVA play. They also have that Stanford win under their belt, which now looks a little better.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Stanford (6-17, 3-7 MPSF)
Barton (17-6, 13-0 Conf. Carolinas)