The highlight of the week was a tournament hosted by Hawaii where four top 15 teams took part in the action. The winner of the event, BYU, racked up three top notch victories, including a prize win at Hawaii. With some of the other top teams being upset, that pushes the Cougars to second, where they look to remain as MPSF leaders.
Beyond that, there was a bit of shuffling at the top with plenty of more movement in the 11-19 range of this week’s rankings. The picture is starting to become clear in terms of who still has a shot at at-large bids versus teams needing to win their leagues, as we start once again at the top where everything has gone right for the Beach:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 17-0 (2-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. Mount Olive (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #10 UCSB, at #10 UCSB
- The 49ers earned a sweep in a short week over Mount Olive, as they move back into Big West action this week with two matches for first place against UC Santa Barbara.
2. BYU COUGARS
- 17-4 (7-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #5; Def. (N) #15 Penn State (3-2), (N) #8 Lewis (3-1), at #2 Hawaii (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. USC
- The Cougars had as good of a week as anyone, downing three top 15 opponents – with two on neutral site and the third on the road. With others losing in front of them, the Cougars ride their 12-match winning streak into a top two ranking.
3. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 13-3 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #2; Def. #8 Lewis (3-0), #15 Penn State (3-0); Lost vs. #5 BYU (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #15 CSUN, at #15 CSUN, at #8 Pepperdine
- The Rainbow Warriors made quick work of their first two top 15 opponents, but were halted by BYU. They only slide one spot though with an overall strong week and now head to the road for three more against ranked opponents.
4. UCLA BRUINS
- 17-5 (5-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #7; Def. #7 Pepperdine (3-1), #14 George Mason (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #14 Concordia Irvine, vs. #11 Grand Canyon
- The Bruins stayed alive in the MPSF race with a win over Pepperdine – keeping them two back of BYU – and followed it with a sweep of EIVA leader George Mason. It appears they’ve righted the ship after a bit of a lull, and will now look to add a few more MPSF victories this week.
5. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 13-5 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #3; Lost vs. #17 Fort Wayne (2-3); Def. #11 Ball State (3-0), at #20 Stanford (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #16 George Mason, vs. (RV) UCSD, at (RV) UCSD
- The Anteaters week started with an upset loss, but they bounced back strongly with a pair of ranked sweeps after the five-setter. That enables them to stay in the top five, right behind a UCLA team who lost twice to.
6. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 16-4 (6-1, MIVA)
- Last Week: #4; Lost at #12 Concordia Irvine (1-3); Def. at #7 Pepperdine (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #9 Lewis
- The leaders in the MIVA were upended by Concordia Irvine, but bounced back against a higher ranked foe for a sweep. They slide a few spots to six, but still are in good position for the league title race if they can garner a big road win this week at Lewis.
7. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 13-4 (6-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; None
- Upcoming Week: at #17 Penn State, at #19 Saint Francis
- Ohio State had an off week but with two teams in front of them losing twice, they slide into the seven spot. They resume action this week with a pair of ranked EIVA opponents on the road.
8. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 10-6 (4-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #7; Lost at #7 UCLA (1-3), vs. #4 Loyola Chicago (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #14 Concordia Irvine, vs. #11 Grand Canyon, vs. #3 Hawaii
- Pepperdine had a bit of a disappointing week in that not only did they lose twice, but only took one set. Still, they’ve compiled a strong resume, and the losses to highly ranked opponents don’t cause a free fall for the Waves, who look to bounce back against a trio of ranked foes this week.
9. LEWIS FLYERS
- 14-7 (5-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Lost at #2 Hawaii (0-3), (N) #5 BYU (1-3); Def. (N) #15 Penn State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #6 Loyola Chicago
- Lewis fell twice, but rebounded with a nice neutral court victory over Penn State. The main prize is the MIVA though, where they sit a match behind Loyola Chicago. They now have a chance to even things up with a one-match week against the league leaders at home.
10. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 9-5 (2-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; Def. #17 Fort Wayne (3-0), #11 Ball State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #1 LBSU, at #1 LBSU
- UCSB has now won five consecutive matches, including two sweeps over strong MIVA competition. How hot they truly are will be put on the line this week with a pair on the road against the only other 2-0 Big West team in top-ranked Long Beach State.
11. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 15-6 (2-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #13; Def. Menlo College (3-0), Mount Olive (3-0), Mount Olive (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #4 UCLA, at #8 Pepperdine
- Grand Canyon didn’t take on any high-level opponents, but did take care of business with a trio of sweeps. They’ll get another chance to prove they belong in the top conversation of the MPSF, as they head to the road against UCLA and Pepperdine this week.
12. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 11-9 (4-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #11; Def. at #12 Concordia Irvine (3-1); Lost at #3 UC Irvine (0-3), at #10 UCSB (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #13 Fort Wayne, vs. #13 Fort Wayne
- The Cardinals slide a spot with two road losses to higher ranked opponents, but avoid too much of a dip with the win at Concordia Irvine. At this point, likely the only chance to make the tournament will be winning the MIVA, which they are just a match back in the loss column for with two crucial matches against Fort Wayne ahead.
13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 15-5 (3-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #17; Def. at #3 UC Irvine (3-2), at #12 Concordia Irvine (3-0); Lost at #10 UCSB (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #12 Ball State, at #12 Ball State
- Fort Wayne earned two big road wins playing in Irvine with a setback at UCSB stuck in between. They move into the top 13 though and will need to win both against Ball State if they want to re-emerge as a contender in the MIVA.
14. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 9-10 (3-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #12; Lost vs. #11 Ball State (1-3), vs. #17 Fort Wayne (0-3); Def. #4 Loyola Chicago (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Harvard, at #4 UCLA, at #8 Pepperdine
- The Eagles of course fell to the two lower ranked teams they played in the week, yet upended a top five opponent in Loyola Chicago. That keeps them around in the top 15, with two huge road matches ahead this week.
15. CSUN MATADORS
- 10-7 (0-2, Big West)
- Last Week: #16; Def. #14 George Mason (3-0), Harvard (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #3 Hawaii, vs. #3 Hawaii
- CSUN earned two impressive sweeps on the week to crack back into the top 15. They could rise even more with a strong showing this week, as they play host to the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii.
16. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 10-9 (6-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #16 CSUN (0-3), at #7 UCLA (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #5 UC Irvine
- George Mason hasn’t matched up well with teams out of the EIVA this season, but have a chance to turn things around with one win at UC Irvine this week before getting back to league play next week.
17. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 10-7 (5-2, EIVA)
- Last Week: #15; Lost (N) #5 BYU (2-3), at #2 Hawaii (0-3), (N) #8 Lewis (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #7 Ohio State, vs. #19 Saint Francis
- Penn State has now lost four in a row and five of their last seven in a combination of some struggles and a strong part of their schedule. That load doesn’t get any easier this week, with a top 10 Ohio State team and a ranked Saint Francis squad on the ledger.
18. MCKENDREE BEARCATS
- 7-10 (3-5, MIVA)
- Last Week: UR; Def. #18 Saint Francis (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Lindenwood
- McKendree has popped up several times on the ‘on the cusp’ portion, but now they earn a ranking with others on the fringe losing and a big win over Saint Francis.
19. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 8-13 (3-4, EIVA)
- Last Week: #18; Lost at Lindenwood (0-3), at McKendree (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #7 Ohio State, at #17 Penn State
- Saint Francis has some strong victories, but is now in a bit of a rut, which won’t be easy to recover from this week as they host Ohio State and head to the road against Penn State.
20. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 4-16 (1-6, MPSF)
- Last Week: #20; Def. UCSD (3-1); Lost vs. #3 UC Irvine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. USC
- Stanford was swept at UC Irvine, but fended off being unranked with a four set victory over UC San Diego – their second over the Tritons this season.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
UCSD (9-10, 0-2 Big West)
Barton (12-6, 9-0 Conf. Carolinas)