A few big clashes occurred this week, but overall there wasn’t a ton of shuffling in the rankings. One team who did make that jump was Fort Wayne, as even with a loss, they earned a win and proved their strong record to be more than just beating lower competition. We kick things off at the top once again though as the Beach keeps their top spot:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 10-0 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. #18 Concordia Irvine (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Harvard, at #20 George Mason
- The 49ers continue to roll and have collected 21 consecutive sets of play as they are 30-1 in sets overall this season. They’ll have a road test this week again lower-end opponents before a big week with UCLA twice.
2. UCLA BRUINS
- 10-1 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; Def. (RV) Princeton (3-0), at #3 UC Irvine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #13 CSUN, at #19 Concordia Irvine, at #9 Grand Canyon
- UCLA has one loss at Hawaii, but since then they downed Hawaii in round two, swept Princeton and won at UC Irvine for the sweep of the Anteaters. The Bruins actually own the best group of wins so far this season and can add to it this week before the big test against LBSU the week after.
3. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 8-1 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; Def. Lees-McRae (3-0), Academy United (3-0), Thompson Rivers (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: None
- The Rainbow Warriors have jolted out to a strong 8-1 start with its only loss to a team it also beat last week in UCLA. Now they get a few weeks off (one featuring the alumni game) to improve even more and get rested for a pair of matches with UC Irvine.
4. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 10-2 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #3; Def. #20 Stanford (3-0); Lost vs. #2 UCLA (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- The Anteaters fell to UCLA for the second time this season with the second time at home coming in four sets as opposed to five in Los Angeles. They’ve still got a great overall resume though and now get a week with just an alumni match before seeing Pepperdine next week.
5. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 7-2 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #16 USC (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Quincy, vs. Lindenwood
- The Ramblers one-match week with USC resulted a positive result. They’ve shown to this point that they are neck-and-neck with Ohio State – and maybe even Lewis – to compete for the MIVA title.
6. BYU COUGARS
- 6-4 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #6; Lost vs. #13 UCSB (0-3); Def. #13 UCSB (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #17 UC San Diego, at #18 USC
- The Cougars barely hold onto their six spot ahead of Ohio State with an overall better group of wins (top three at OSU, vs. Lewis and vs. UCSB) than the Buckeyes (top three vs. Penn State, at USC and vs. Saint Francis), a head-to-head win on the road and all four losses coming to teams in the top four plus one bad match vs. UCSB.
7. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 7-2 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #7; Def. at Charleston (3-0), at #19 George Mason (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Ball State, vs. #12 Fort Wayne
- Ohio State closed the gap on BYU, but they slightly remain behind for two big reasons. For one, the Buckeyes lost at home to BYU, but head-to-head is more of a tiebreaker than the be-all-end all. Currently Ohio State’s best win over Penn State doesn’t match up with some of the elite wins for BYU and they’ve lost more with a tougher schedule. Still, the Buckeyes are a force to be reckoned with.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 6-3 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Def. #16 USC (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Lindenwood, vs. Quincy
- Lewis continued its hot streak with a sweep of USC as they’ve recorded six straight victories. They also had their alumni match and will look to rack up two more victories this week at home.
9. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 10-2 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #9; Def. at (RV) Lindenwood (3-2), at McKendree (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #14 Pepperdine, vs. #2 UCLA
- The Lopes haven’t knocked off a top 10 opponent yet, so are still searching for true verification of their ranking. Still, they’ve looked great when they get things rolling and will have plenty of opportunities in MPSF play, as well as this week against Pepperdine and UCLA.
10. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 5-2 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #10; Def. (RV) Ball State (3-2), #15 Fort Wayne (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #15 Saint Francis
- The Nittany Lions bounced back from their loss at Ohio State for two solid wins on the week. The most important part of it too was that they did so without Calvin Mende, who is still out with an injury. It’s unclear the extent, but if he is out awhile they’ll have to continue what they did this week.
11. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 4-4 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #13; Def. at #6 BYU (3-0); Lost at #6 BYU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- UCSB did take a loss at BYU, but it also earned its best win of the season in Provo in sweep fashion. Going 1-1 at BYU isn’t a bad week basically. Three of their four losses are to top eight teams too, so it’s not as if they haven’t been battle tested in going 4-4. They now get a few weeks off before meeting Pepperdine and UCSD.
12. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 8-1 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at #12 Saint Francis (3-1); Lost at #10 Penn State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at McKendree, at #7 Ohio State
- Fort Wayne did drop one to Penn State, but was competitive and added it to a victory at Saint Francis. That pushes their top wins to equal with CSUN, but they also have a better record and slide into the top dozen for this week.
13. CSUN MATADORS
- 6-3 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #11; Def. UC Santa Cruz (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #2 UCLA, vs. #16 Stanford
- CSUN broke its streak of three straight losses with a sweep of UC Santa Cruz. They’ll hope that gets them back on track with a match in Pauley Pavillion highlighting their week.
14. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 4-2 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #14; Def. (RV) Princeton (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #9 Grand Canyon, at #19 Concordia Irvine
- Pepperdine has been kind of sneaking along in the young season with fewer matches played than plenty of their counterparts and no top 15 victories. That will be put to the test this week though as they can make a big statement at Grand Canyon.
15. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 5-7 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #12; Lost vs. #15 Fort Wayne (1-3), vs. (RV) Ball State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #10 Penn State
- The Red Flash took a couple of home losses to lower ranked teams, causing them to slide down the rankings a bit. They can establish their presence in the EIVA at home against Penn State though, as they look to rebound in the week ahead.
16. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 2-8 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #20; Lost at #3 UC Irvine (0-3); Def. at #17 UCSD (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at #18 USC, at #13 CSUN
- The Cardinal got their first win without Paul Bischoff, who continues to be out with an injury. They’ll hope it gets something going as a split this week could be very valuable in continuing momentum.
17. UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS
- 7-3 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #17; Def. (RV) Princeton (3-0); Lost vs. #20 Stanford (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #6 BYU, at #19 Concordia Irvine
- UCSD had a split week as they remain at #17. A split this week wouldn’t be so bad either considering their upcoming opponents. They’ve already beaten Concordia Irvine once, so they’ll look for the sweep after a tough BYU team comes to town.
18. USC TROJANS
- 3-7 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #8 Lewis (0-3), at #6 Loyola Chicago (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #16 Stanford, vs. #6 BYU
- The Trojans 3-0 start has turned into a 3-7 struggle as they dropped two more to fall to 3-7 on the season. Two of their wins came against teams Division III teams too. They’ve got a chance again to prove themselves this week though against two higher ranked opponents.
19. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 3-3 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #18; Def. Hope (3-1); Lost at #1 LBSU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #2 UCLA, vs. #17 UCSD, vs. #14 Pepperdine
- The Eagles had another split week of play and met the buzz-saw that is Long Beach State. They’ll have a loaded week – both in quality and quantity – ahead to prove how good they really can be.
20. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 3-6 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #19; Lost vs. #7 Ohio State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Barton, vs. #1 LBSU
- Following a week where they jumped back into the top 20, George Mason couldn’t get things going vs. Ohio State. Still, they stick around in the group by a thread with another big opportunity ahead.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Ball State (5-5)
King (7-2, 4-0 Conf. Carolinas)
Lindenwood (6-3, 1-1 MIVA)