Week four was highlighted by four top five teams who engaged in two matches with the same top five opponent. That led to some shuffling at the top after not much movement in last week’s rankings. Through the rubble, the top team remained in the number one spot though, where we kick off this week’s VolleyMob Men’s Top 20 Power Rankings:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 9-0 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. #19 Stanford (3-0), #14 USC (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #18 Concordia Irvine
- The 49ers swept two top 20 opponents and continue to roll through the season. Their earlier wins over Loyola Chicago and Lewis look even better now too as both of those teams moved up in the rankings.
2. UCLA BRUINS
- 8-1 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; Lost at #5 Hawaii (1-3); Def. at #5 Hawaii (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Princeton, at #3 UC Irvine
- The Bruins fell for the first time on the season at Hawaii, but came back to defeat them in the second match of the series on Sunday night. Considering they went 1-1 on the road against a team that had a 26-home match winning streak and that their overall resume now features four top-10 wins (including over #3 and #4) they remain at #2.
3. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 9-1 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; Def. at #17 Concordia (3-1), vs. #3 BYU (3-1), vs. #3 BYU (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #20 Stanford, vs. #2 UCLA
- The Anteaters scored a pair of huge victories over BYU and own a resume that parallels with UCLA’s as the top two so far in 2018. They stay behind those Bruins though for the time being since they lost vs. UCLA, but they continue to be a title contender and could have easily won that match.
4. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 7-1 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #2 UCLA (3-1); Lost vs. #2 UCLA (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Lees-McRae, vs. Academy United, vs. Thompson Rivers
- The Rainbow Warriors had done everything impressively early in the season, but lacked a top 10 win. While they did have their home winning streak snapped, they also scored that victory over UCLA and showed they can even defeat the best of the best as they slide up a spot in the rankings.
5. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 6-2 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #6; Def. #11 UCSB (3-1), #8 CSUN (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #16 USC
- The Ramblers only losses are to Long Beach State and UC Irvine while they added two more quality wins to a bunch that is headlined by a five-set victory at BYU. That pushes them into the top five, one spot in front of the Cougars.
6. BYU COUGARS
- 5-3 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; Lost at #4 UC Irvine (1-3), at #4 UC Irvine (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #13 UCSB, vs. #13 UCSB
- Once again BYU will take on the same opponent twice in the same week, but this time it should be easier than going on the road against UC Irvine. They stay in front of Ohio State for now with a win in Columbus under their belt.
7. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 5-2 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #7; Def. #13 Saint Francis (3-0), #9 Penn State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Charleston, at #19 George Mason
- The Buckeyes look to be rolling now as some of their new pieces are continuing to play better and better. That makes the two-time defending champs more than a threat, but for now they sit at seven behind a team they lost to at home and a top five that have fantastic resumes.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 5-3 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #10; Def. #8 CSUN (3-1), #11 UCSB (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #16 USC
- Lewis has figured things out and have now won five matches in a row, including two big wins over teams from California. They’ll look to add to that tally vs. USC before facing their alumni match later in the week.
9. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 8-2 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #12; Def. #16 UCSD (3-1), Ottawa (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Lindenwood, at McKendree
- Grand Canyon moves into the top 10 for the first time this season as they’ve now won eight of their first 10 matches. Time will tell if they can be a serious MPSF contender as they don’t have a top 15 victory yet, but they’ve looked impressive every other way and took UC Irvine to five in one of their losses.
10. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 3-2 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Lost at #7 Ohio State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Ball State, vs. #15 Fort Wayne
- In a one-match week, the Nittany Lions lost at Ohio State. It wasn’t the loss that was bothersome but the fact that they couldn’t reach 20 points in any of the set. They can rebound this week though as they slightly hold onto a spot in the top 10.
11. CSUN MATADORS
- 5-3 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #8; Lost at #10 Lewis (1-3), at #6 Loyola Chicago (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. UC Santa Cruz
- CSUN now has three consecutive four-set losses, but the good news is that Arvis Greene was back this week and put up some big numbers. Two tough road losses this week though isn’t the end of the world but they’ll need to find more balance around Greene.
12. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 5-5 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #13; Lost at #7 Ohio State (0-3); Def. Queens (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #15 Fort Wayne, vs. (RV) Ball State
- Saint Francis slides up a spot even with a loss because of what else happened in front of them. Their win earlier at UCSB in four sets also comes into play as they make the top dozen.
13. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 3-3 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at #6 Loyola Chicago (1-3), at #10 Lewis (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #6 BYU, at #6 BYU
- After rising to the fringe of the top 10, UCSB suffered a setback with a pair of losses. Still, both came to higher ranked teams on the road, so they don’t drop too much. They can more than rebound this week with a pair in Provo.
14. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 3-2 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #15; Def. at (RV) George Mason (3-0), vs. #20 Ball State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Princeton
- Pepperdine still doesn’t have a true signature win, but did earn a few nice pieces at GMU and on a neutral site against Ball State. They slide up a spot, but remain behind UCSB (who they lost to at home).
15. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 7-0 (0-0, MIVA)
- Last Week: #18; Def. at Lourdes (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #13 Saint Francis, at #10 Penn State
- Fort Wayne has been one of a few teams to emerge at the start of 2018 after not having much hype coming into the year. How good they really are will be on display this upcoming week with road matches against higher ranked opponents.
16. USC TROJANS
- 3-5 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #1 Long Beach State (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #8 Lewis, at #6 Loyola Chicago
- The Trojans 3-0 start has quickly fizzled into five straight losses and a 3-5 overall mark. It won’t get any easier this week, but it’s once again another opportunity to score a big victory as they head to the midwest.
17. UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS
- 6-2 (0-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #12 Grand Canyon (1-3); Def. at Ottawa (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Princeton, vs. #20 Stanford
- UCSD lost for just the second time this season but they continue to not waver. Two teams ranked around where the Tritons are should push them this week as they look to get another winning streak going.
18. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 2-2 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: RV; Lost vs. #4 UC Irvine (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Hope, at #1 LBSU
- Concordia couldn’t upend UC Irvine, but showed a lot in a four-set loss. It’s their second straight, but they also have a win over CSUN to pair with the two ranked losses which keeps them ranked.
19. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 3-5 (0-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: RV; Lost vs. #15 Pepperdine (0-3); Def. #20 Ball State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #7 Ohio State
- The Patriots leapfrog back into the VolleyMob Top 20, where they began the season, behind a big win over a Ball State team who was at the end of the ranks. They still have plenty to figure out but could ease plenty of minds with an upset of Ohio State this week.
20. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 1-7 (0-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #19; Lost at #1 LBSU (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: at #3 UC Irvine, at #17 UCSD
- The Cardinal continue to struggle in the early season after coming in with high expectations. While all of their matches have come against teams currently ranked, they need to start scoring some victories. It won’t be easy as they continue what will amount to a seven-match road trip.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Ball State (4-4)* (20)