While some schools partook in the start of their conference tournaments, others finished up regular season play. Now headed into this week everyone will be on a postseason playing court who is still alive as they make a final push to either claim an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament or boost their ranking and resume for a potential at-large berth.
A few differences occurred in the rankings, with small sliding here or there. One of those was in the top five as Hawaii moved to number four behind their upset victory over Long Beach State. Speaking of the 49ers, even with the loss they remain in the top spot once again for what is now every week except for the preseason.
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 24-1 (9-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. at #5 Hawaii (3-2); Lost at #5 Hawaii (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: Big West Tournament (Semifinals vs. #11 CSUN#/12 UCSB)
- For the first time all season LBSU lost, as Hawaii showed they are beatable in the second of two fantastic five-setters. Still though, it took a remarkable effort on the road, and no other team has less than five losses, so the 49ers stay #1 with the Big West Tournament ahead.
2. BYU COUGARS
- 20-6 (10-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; None
- Upcoming Week: MPSF Tournament (Semifinals vs. #19 USC)
- BYU had the lone bye week in the MPSF Tournament last week as the regular season champs, and with Pepperdine falling they benefit from reseeding and get USC instead of Concordia Irvine – the only team who beat them in Provo in MPSF play this season.
3. UCLA BRUINS
- 23-6 (9-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; Def. Stanford (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MPSF Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. #14 Concordia Irvine)
- UCLA made quick work of Stanford and now takes on Concordia Irvine in Provo for the Big West semifinals. They may actually be a lock to make the NCAA Tournament as at least an at-large at this point, but a win over the Eagles would go a long way in securing that.
4. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 18-7 (6-4, Big West)
- Last Week: #5; Lost vs. #1 LBSU (2-3); Def. #1 LBSU (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: Big West Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. #5 UC Irvine/UC San Diego)
- Just two weeks ago Hawaii was ranked ninth and on the outside-looking-in of the second at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. Now they’re neck-and-neck with UC Irvine – and maybe even have a slight edge. That comes after they were the first to sleigh the titan that is Long Beach State, giving them a win that no one else can touch.
5. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 20-8 (6-4, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; Lost at #12 UCSB (2-3); Def. #12 UCSB (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Big West Tournament (Quarterfinals (N) vs. UC San Diego)
- The Anteaters suffered a big loss at UCSB for their at-large hopes, but got revenge on the Gauchos in the second go-around. That sets themselves up without a bye in the quarterfinal round and a win pushing them to the semifinals where they’d take on Hawaii in a potential at-large match.
6. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 21-5 (11-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #6; Def. Quincy (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MIVA Tournament (Semifinals vs. #8 Lewis)
- The Buckeyes made quick work, as was expected, of Quincy in their opening MIVA match. Now the real test begins, as the MIVA Tournament went all chalk in the first round and sets up a great semifinal round of four top 10 teams.
7. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 22-6 (11-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #7; Def. Lindenwood (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MIVA Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. #10 Ball State)
- Despite losing to Lindenwood in the last week of the regular season, Loyola Chicago swept Lindenwood in their MIVA Tournament meeting. That sets up a match with Ball State this week – a team who split with the Ramblers this season. It’s a must-win for Loyola Chicago to keep alive not just their MIVA title hopes but at-large ones as well.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 19-10 (9-5, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #13 Fort Wayne (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MIVA Tournament (Semifinals at #6 Ohio State)
- Lewis took care of the 4-5 matchup in the MIVA Tournament well as they continued their ownage of Fort Wayne this season. Now things ramp up as they take to the road against Ohio State – who they split the season series with.
9. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 15-8 (8-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #8; Lost vs. #20 USC (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- A home loss to USC not only ends Pepperdine’s run in the MPSF Tournament right where it started, but it also might have ended their season as they don’t sit in the best spot for an at-large bid. If that’s the case, it was a great run for the Waves after David Wieczorek came back from injury to end the year in the top 10.
10. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 18-11 (10-4, MIVA)
- Last Week: #10; Def. #19 McKendree (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MIVA Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. #7 Loyola Chicago)
- The Cardinals continued to push forward with now their fifth consecutive win as they swept McKendree, setting up a semifinals match on neutral court with Loyola Chicago – who they split the season series with in winning at home and losing on the road.
11. CSUN MATADORS
- 15-10 (5-5, Big West)
- Last Week: #11; Def. UC San Diego (3-1), at UC San Diego (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Big West Tournament (Quarterfinals (N) vs. #12 UCSB)
- CSUN finished the Big West season strong with a pair of victories, giving them the four seed in the Big West Tournament. That means a matchup with the team ranked right behind them for a chance to play #1 LBSU in the semifinals.
12. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 11-12 (4-6, Big West)
- Last Week: #12; Def. #4 UC Irvine (3-2); Lost at #4 UC Irvine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: Big West Tournament (Quarterfinals (N) vs. #11 CSUN)
- UCSB earned a big upset of UC Irvine in five, but couldn’t repeat their successes in the second meeting. Still, it gives them something positive to draw on heading to the postseason. If they can get through CSUN, they’ve shown the ability to take down some top competition, which would make a match with LBSU interesting.
13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 18-11 (6-8, MIVA)
- Last Week: #13; Lost at #9 Lewis (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- Fort Wayne just couldn’t figure out Lewis this season, losing all nine sets they played with the Flyers. Still, as their season comes to a close with the MIVA Tournament loss, they had a remarkable year starting unranked and finishing in the top 15.
14. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 16-14 (5-7, MPSF)
- Last Week: #14; Def. #15 Grand Canyon (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: MPSF Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. #3 UCLA)
- The Eagles continued their strong season with a victory over Grand Canyon, pushing them to the semifinal round of the MPSF Tournament. Now they’ll look to be Cinderella and take down UCLA to head to the finals, as they are two wins from stealing a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
15. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 18-11 (4-8, MPSF)
- Last Week: #15; Lost at #14 Concordia Irvine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- Grand Canyon’s season came to a close at Concordia Irvine, but overall it was a strong season for the Lopes who came close to the 20-win clip and will end the year either in or right around the top 15.
16. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 17-11 (13-1, EIVA)
- Last Week: #16; Def. (RV) Harvard (3-2), (RV) Harvard (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: EIVA Tournament (Semifinals vs. (RV) Princeton)
- You can now refer to George Mason as the EIVA regular season champs, as they took down Harvard to clinch that title. Now they look to defend it in the EIVA Tournament, as they get to do so at home for the first time and face a Princeton team that took them to five a few weeks back.
17. KING TORNADO
- 20-5 (15-1, Conf. Carolinas)
- Last Week: #18; Def. Lincoln Memorial (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: Conference Carolinas Tournament (Quarterfinals vs. Lees-McRae)
- The Tornado now look to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as they get the added benefit of playing the Conference Carolinas Tournament at home. That comes because they earned the #1 seed from the tiebreaker in sharing the league title, as they take on Lees-McRae first.
18. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 15-10 (10-4, EIVA)
- Last Week: #17; Lost vs. (RV) Princeton (0-3); Def. NJIT (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: EIVA Tournament (Semifinals (N) vs. (RV) Harvard)
- Penn State didn’t have much to play for last week, as even two wins would have given them the exact same matchup/path in the EIVA Tournament. Now they embark on that starting with Harvard, who they split the season series with.
19. USC TROJANS
- 8-19 (3-9, MPSF)
- Last Week: #20; Def. at #8 Pepperdine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: MPSF Tournament (Semifinals at #2 BYU)
- The Trojans had the lone upset in the MPSF Tournament’s first round, pushing them to the semifinals for a road meeting with regular season champ BYU. Both meetings this season went the Cougars way in four sets, but the Trojans kept it close enough that they should provide a challenge.
20. MCKENDREE BEARCATS
- 11-15 (6-8, MIVA)
- Last Week: #19; Lost at #10 Ball State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: None
- McKendree’s season came to a close this week as they fell in the MIVA Quarterfinals to Ball State. Still, the season represented one of growth for the Bearcats’ program, as they will end the year either ranked in the VolleyMob Top 20, or right there (depending what happens behind them to finish).
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Harvard (11-13, 10-4 EIVA)
Princeton (11-15, 7-7 EIVA)
Barton (19-7, 15-1 Conf. Carolinas)