While there was slight movement in the top five and 10 of the rankings to pair with a few shifts beyond that, this week did not represent a huge jump for any teams in the rankings. Instead, some schools added to their league leads while others fell to higher ranked opponents.
One team who still has yet to fall is Long Beach State, who not only is undefeated but has put up ridiculous set numbers and has yet to be pushed to a fifth game this season. With the question of their chances for an undefeated season gaining more prudence each passing victory, we start up this week’s rankings once again with the 49ers at the top:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 16-0 (2-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. at #16 CSUN (3-0), vs. #16 CSUN (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Mount Olive
- The 49ers still cannot be stopped, regardless of the opponent as they remain unbeaten and start up Big West action at 2-0. Not only are they 16-0, but they are 48-3 in sets, showing how dominant they’ve been thus far.
2. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 11-2 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #2; Def. #12 Concordia Irvine (3-0), vs. #12 Concordia Irvine (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Lewis, vs. Penn State, vs. BYU
- The Rainbow Warriors rolled through all six sets of action this week, only allowing Concordia Irvine to reach 20 in two. Moving ahead, the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Invitational should be quite the doozy with three ranked opponents in the top 15.
3. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 11-4 (1-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. Fort Wayne, vs. Ball State, at Stanford
- It was an off week for UC Irvine, but they slide back into the top three as they remain ahead of Loyola Chicago (who they beat earlier in the year on a neutral court in four sets) and BYU (who they took down twice at home). A packed week lies ahead in non-league matches.
4. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 15-3 (6-1, MIVA)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #8 Lewis (3-0), King (3-1), Lincoln Memorial (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: at Concordia Irvine, at Pepperdine
- The week got progressively tighter for the Ramblers in terms of sets, as they may have ran out of steam a bit against a lower-end Lincoln Memorial team. Still, they got the victory after they took down Conference Carolina contender King and swept Lewis to take full control of the MIVA lead.
5. BYU COUGARS
- 14-4 (7-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #6; Def. #7 Pepperdine (3-2), #3 UCLA (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (N) Penn State, vs. (N) Lewis, at Hawaii
- The Cougars had a huge week that pushed them into a two-match lead for the MPSF top spot, as they slipped by red-hot Pepperdine and swept a downtrodden UCLA bunch. They remain behind a Loyola Chicago team who they lost to at home for the time being with most of the rest of the resume being equal, but can post a huge week as they head to Honolulu.
6. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 10-4 (4-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #7; Lost at #6 BYU (2-3); Def. at #20 Stanford (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at UCLA, vs. Loyola Chicago
- Pepperdine slides ahead of UCLA – who they swept a few weeks back – after the Bruins struggles and the Waves impressing even in a road loss. They’ll need to continue playing well on the road with the UCLA rematch before they get set for Loyola Chicago in a huge week for both the MPSF standings and their at-large bid chances.
7. UCLA BRUINS
- 15-5 (4-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; Def. at #20 Stanford (3-1); Lost at #6 BYU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Pepperdine, vs. George Mason
- The Bruins have now lost four of five after starting the year 14-1 and now are in a critical position at home against Pepperdine where a loss may push them out of reach of the MPSF title race. They’ll also face a George Mason team who is playing its best ball right now as UCLA looks to rebound from their recent struggles.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 13-5 (5-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Lost at #5 Loyola Chicago (0-3); Def. Lincoln Memorial (3-0), King (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Hawaii, vs. (N) BYU, vs. (N) Penn State
- Lewis doesn’t fall below Ohio State after they swept the Buckeyes last week and still earned a pair of sweep victories, not to mention their loss was on the road to a top five opponent.
9. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 13-4 (6-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Def. at (RV) McKendree (3-1), at (RV) McKendree (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: None
- Ohio State bounced back well after a week with losses to Lewis and Loyola Chicago, as they took care of business on the road with McKendree. They now get an off week to prepare for a stretch of four more road matches, including at Penn State right off the bat.
10. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 7-5 (2-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; Def. at #19 USC (3-1), at (RV) UCSD (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Fort Wayne, vs. Ball State
- UCSB earned the season sweep of UC San Diego, representing both of its early Big West victories. They’ll step out of league play this week though, with a couple of MIVA opponents on the ledger that should impact the edge of the top 10.
11. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 10-7 (4-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #13; Def. at (RV) UCSD (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Concordia Irvine, at UC Irvine, at UCSB
- Ball State has completely recovered their season after a slow start, and now can really make their presence be known as they head to southern California with three top 12 road matches for the week.
12. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 8-8 (3-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #12; Lost at #2 Hawaii (0-3), at #2 Hawaii (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Ball State, vs. Loyola Chicago, vs. Fort Wayne
- The Eagles didn’t have their best week, but considering they won three ranked matches the week prior, went on a long flight to a vacation destination and beat the team below them (who they are also ahead of in their league), Concordia Irvine stays at 12 – for now.
13. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 12-6 (2-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #14; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. Menlo College, vs. Mount Olive, vs. Mount Olive
- Grand Canyon comes off of a bye week with a match against a lower division team in Menlo College before they host a pair with one of the top Conference Carolinas contenders in Mount Olive.
14. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 10-7 (6-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at Sacred Heart (3-1), at Sacred Heart (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at CSUN, at UCLA
- George Mason continues to soar with the start of EIVA action, as they now own a two-match lead over everyone else in the conference. They step out of it momentarily in California where they try to prove its more than just taking on weaker teams in the EIVA that has led to the surge.
15. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 10-4 (5-2, EIVA)
- Last Week: #11; Def. at NJIT (3-0); Lost at Princeton (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (N) BYU, at Hawaii, vs. (N) Lewis
- Penn State got a wake up call in a sweep loss at home to George Mason a week prior, but now they have plenty of ground to make up following a loss at Princeton. This week won’t be the best for a team treading water right now, but it’s also an opportunity to surprise an opponent and garner some momentum.
16. CSUN MATADORS
- 8-7 (0-2, Big West)
- Last Week: #16; Lost vs. #1 LBSU (0-3), at #1 LBSU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. George Mason, vs. Harvard
- CSUN couldn’t garner a set on the top-team in the land, but neither have teams in 13 of LBSU’s 16 victories. They did play things close in all three in the meeting in Northridge though, as they remain at 16 with a big week ahead.
17. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 13-4 (3-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #17; Def. Alderson Broaddus (3-1), Loras (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at UC Irvine, at UCSB, at Concordia Irvine
- Fort Wayne took care of business with lower competition, but will be truly tested this week as they head to California to meet three top 12 opponents on the road.
18. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 8-11 (3-4, EIVA)
- Last Week: #18; Lost at Princeton (1-3); Def. at NJIT (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Lindenwood, at McKendree
- It was a split week for Saint Francis, as they move closer to the end of the rankings. Fortunately for them the teams behind them struggled as well, so they don’t move even though the gap was narrowed.
19. USC TROJANS
- 4-13 (1-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #19; Lost vs. #10 UCSB (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at UCSD, vs. Harvard
- USC once again was competitive but couldn’t get over the hump. The losses continue to rack up, but the young team will look to turn a corner this week with similar competition from a win-loss perspective.
20. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 3-15 (1-6, MPSF)
- Last Week: #20; Lost vs. #3 UCLA (1-3), vs. #7 Pepperdine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. UCSD, vs. UC Irvine
- The Cardinal are another winless week from dropping out of the rankings, as competing without victories can only take them so far. They’ve got a winnable match with UCSD first before they look to upend UC Irvine.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Barton (12-6, 8-0 Conf. Carolinas)