Things just got started in the MPSF, which has the potential to be a two-bid league to the NCAA Tournament and should provide plenty of competition from top to bottom. The question becomes who will clear the traffic in the middle of the standings and rise up, and can anyone challenge UCLA and BYU for the top two spots in the league?
With new story-lines emerging and a new season of sorts in league play commencing, VolleyMob will be giving conference updates. Below is analysis as well as the weekly MPSF table, awards, matches of the week and power rankings:
|#13 Grand Canyon||1-3||11-5|
|#18 Concordia Irvine||1-3||5-6|
MATCHES OF THE WEEK:
- Feb. 21: #1 Long Beach State at #2 UCLA
- Feb. 21: #7 BYU at #19 Stanford
- Feb. 22: #13 Grand Canyon at #18 Concordia Irvine
- Feb. 23: #2 UCLA at #11 Pepperdine
- Feb. 24: #13 Grand Canyon at #17 USC
VOLLEYMOB MPSF POWER RANKINGS:
- Grand Canyon
- Concordia Irvine
- #2 UCLA Bruins
Early on, no one has a better collection of depth of wins than UCLA. They’ve downed 10 teams ranked at the time of play in the VolleyMob Top 20 with two more wins against teams on the cusp. In fact, six of those 10 were top 10 victories with highlight successes at Hawaii, vs. UC Irvine (twice) and against Ohio State. It’s pretty clear at this point that they are the favorite in the league led by their fantastic setter Micah Ma’a with plenty of talent around him. That leads to the most potent offense in the MPSF, which pairs with their error-prone but aggressive serving that can keep opponents out of system at times and lower their offensive success.
RIGHT ON THEIR HEELS
- #7 BYU Cougars
The Cougars don’t have quite the cache of the Bruins in terms of resume boosting wins, but they’ve still earned some notable victories and impressed early on. The biggest difference has been BYU slipping up a few more times, but they also have a great offense that is only outdone by UCLA in the league. Defensively, they get things done differently than the Bruins serving barrage, as the Cougars own the top block in the MPSF at 2.82 per set. They’re unbeaten so far in MPSF play and appear to be the top contender for UCLA thus far.
SORTING THINGS OUT
- The Rest of the League
Right now Pepperdine sits in third of the league, and look to be a legit contender as a healthier team than they were to begin the season. The question becomes though are they here to stay or just on a hot streak? Even if they do round out the top three in the league, it still doesn’t end the sorting needed to be had between four through seven. More than likely, the amount of teams near each other competitively in that region will beat each other up and lead to more separation at the top, but it will be interesting to see if a school like Grand Canyon or a school with a poor non-conference start can clear the wreckage.
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