All kinds of ranked carnage and chaos occurred this week, as league play has more than led to shuffling in the rankings. That was not just the case in the middle and lower parts of the rankings, but near the top and in the first five and 10.
Maybe no one capitalized more on the week than Concordia Irvine, who dives into the top dozen after three ranked victories. Sitting at the top once again though is the lone undefeated team left who still has not gone through a slip-up in the Beach:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 14-0 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. at #2 UCLA (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #16 CSUN, vs. #16 CSUN
- CSUN took down the second ranked team for the second time to remain the lone unbeaten team. It’s starting to get to a point where we can question not if LBSU is the top team, but how far the margin is between the 49ers and everyone else.
2. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 9-2 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #3; Def. #5 UC Irvine (3-1); Lost vs. #5 UC Irvine (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #12 Concordia Irvine, vs. #12 Concordia Irvine
- The Rainbow Warriors move up into the top two even though they split the week after UCLA lost twice and the win came over a top five team. Stijn Van Tilburg was phenomenal on the week for Hawaii, but they’ll need more balance if they want to take out the top team both in the country and their league at the moment in LBSU.
3. UCLA BRUINS
- 14-4 (3-1, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; Lost vs. #1 LBSU (1-3), at #11 Pepperdine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #20 Stanford, at #6 BYU
- The Bruins are in their first real rut of the season as losers of three straight. They are all explainable, as two came against the top team in the country and another was on the road against a red-hot Pepperdine team. It’s a bit of an indication too that they need Christian Hessenauer, who missed this last week with injury.
4. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 11-4 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #5; Lost at #3 Hawaii (1-3); Def. at #3 Hawaii (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: None
- UC Irvine’s three match losing streak came to a halt with a huge road victory at Hawaii. If not for that, they may have slipped a few spots down the rankings, but with plenty of losses throughout and a split at the then-third ranked team in the land, the Anteaters slide back into the top four.
5. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 12-3 (5-1, MIVA)
- Last Week: #6; Def. (RV) McKendree (3-0), #4 Ohio State (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #8 Lewis, vs. King, vs. Lincoln-Memorial
- The Ramblers first swept McKendree before they earned the reverse sweep of Ohio State and overcame the two-set deficit. That pushes the Ramblers ahead of the Buckeyes in the MIVA standings, as they’ll have a battle for first with Lewis this week.
6. BYU COUGARS
- 12-4 (5-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at #19 Stanford (3-1), vs. #19 Stanford (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #7 Pepperdine, vs. #3 UCLA
- Following UCLA’s loss to Pepperdine, BYU has overtaken first in the MPSF. That will either be cushioned or eliminated in a critical week in Provo for the Cougars, as they host the two other top contenders in the league.
7. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 9-3 (3-1, MPSF)
- Last Week: #11; Def. at #10 UCSB (3-2), vs. #2 UCLA (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #6 BYU, at #20 Stanford
- Pepperdine continues to soar up the rankings behind a healthy David Wieczorek and strong play. Their latest venture of a five-set win at UCSB was followed by a sweep of #2 UCLA as they truly imposed themselves as a legit contender to win the MPSF – which they can add to this week in Provo.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 11-4 (5-1, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #4 Ohio State (3-0), (RV) McKendree (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #5 Loyola Chicago, vs. Lincoln Memorial, vs. King
- Lewis dealt Ohio State a sweep loss with strong serving and good serve reception before adding to it with a win over McKendree. That sets up a match at Loyola Chicago this week for first in the MIVA before they dip out of conference for a few.
9. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 11-4 (4-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #4; Lost at #9 Lewis (0-3), at #6 Loyola Chicago (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: at (RV) McKendree, at (RV) McKendree
- The Buckeyes had a rough week in terms of serve reception, and were bounced in three at Lewis and in five after holding a 2-0 lead over Loyola Chicago. They still get both schools in Columbus, so by no means are they out of the MIVA, but they will have a much more uphill battle than last year.
10. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 5-5 (1-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; Lost vs. #11 Pepperdine (2-3); Def. (RV) UCSD (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #19 USC, at (RV) UCSD
- UCSB’s record fails to show how competitive they have been, as they’ve lost four of their five matches to teams currently in the top eight. They’ve also collected wins at BYU and at Pepperdine in the early season. They’re not the top contender in a stacked Big West, but they should make the race all the more interesting.
11. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 9-3 (4-1, EIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Lost vs. #20 George Mason (0-3); Def. (RV) Charleston (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at NJIT, at Princeton
- It seemed as if Penn State had a big distance over the rest of the competition for the EIVA race, but that thought came to a screeching halt as they were swept at home to George Mason. They’ll get another crack at George Mason in early April, but until then will look to rack up victories and keep pace at the top.
12. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 8-6 (3-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #18; Def. #13 Grand Canyon (3-0), at #17 USC (3-1), vs. #12 CSUN (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 Hawaii, at #2 Hawaii
- What a week it was for the Eagles, who earned three ranked victories, including their first ever at USC and second defeat of CSUN. They soar up the rankings with the huge week of resume boosting which they could confirm with a strong performance this week in Honolulu.
13. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 9-7 (4-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #14; Def. at Quincy (3-1), at Lindenwood (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at (RV) UCSD
- The Cardinals had two close road matches, but early in the season those were turning to losses. They came out victorious in these to push to a four-match winning streak as they are currently tied with Ohio State in the MIVA and just a match out from Lewis and Loyola Chicago for the top – both teams they’ve beaten.
14. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 12-6 (2-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #13; Lost at #18 Concordia Irvine (0-3); Def. at #17 USC (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: None
- Grand Canyon salvaged the week with a win at USC, but first hit a season low with their fourth straight loss. An off week couldn’t come at a better time for the Lopes, who will look to get back to their strong start to the season that had them in the top 10.
15. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 8-7 (4-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #20; Def. at #8 Penn State (3-0), at #16 Saint Francis (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Sacred Heart, at Sacred Heart
- The start to George Mason’s 11 match road streak went perfectly for the Patriots, as they took a hold of first place in the EIVA. The fashion in which they did so at Penn State truly showed they are a legit contender for the conference crown and a potential automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
16. CSUN MATADORS
- 8-5 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #12; Def. Cal Lutheran (3-0); Lost at #18 Concordia Irvine (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #1 LBSU, at #1 LBSU
- The Matadors were on the wrong side of an incredible match with Concordia Irvine, and dropped just out of the top 15 with a few schools making big leaps in the standings. They’ll have two chances to shoot back up in their Big West opener as they face LBSU in a home-and-home.
17. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 11-4 (3-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at Lindenwood (3-2), at Quincy (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Alderson Broaddus, vs. Loras
- It wasn’t the most impressive week for the Mastodons, but they earned two hard-fought road victories. The main reason they slide down two spots was due to George Mason and Concordia Irvine’s successes leading to jumps in the rankings.
18. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 7-10 (2-3, EIVA)
- Last Week: #16; Lost vs. (RV) Charleston (2-3), vs. #20 George Mason (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at Princeton, at NJIT
- Saint Francis’s tough week starts up a difficult stretch in which nine of their next 10 are on the road. The only home match too comes against Ohio State in that stretch. Put simply, they will need to be road warriors if they want to stay relevant in the EIVA standings.
19. USC TROJANS
- 4-12 (1-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #17; Lost vs. #18 Concordia Irvine (1-3), vs. #13 Grand Canyon (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #10 UCSB
- USC continues to be competitive but not garner winning results. They’ve got plenty of young pieces, so it will be interesting to see if they can turn the corner and be a team that can ride some late momentum into 2019 and spoil some matches.
20. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 3-13 (1-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #19; Lost vs. #7 BYU (1-3), at #7 BYU (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #3 UCLA, vs. #7 Pepperdine
- Just like USC, Stanford has been a team with some youngsters that has been competitive in some big matches but just can’t get over the hump. That was apparent in a five-set loss at BYU when they held the 2-0 set lead. Still, the season can be a launching pad for the Cardinal toward 2019 if they can find some late success.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Charleston (8-2, 3-1 EIVA)
McKendree (6-8, 3-3 MIVA)
UC San Diego (8-7, 0-1 Big West)
Barton (10-6, 8-0 Conf. Carolinas)