UCLA Makes an Early Season Statement; MPSF Update (Week 3)

  0 Derek Johnson | January 17th, 2018 | News

The second week of action is now in the books, and although we still have yet to hit league play, plenty of storylines and teams have emerged early on. In total, every team in the MPSF is either ranked or on the cusp in the latest VolleyMob Top 20 Power Rankings.

Below is analysis as well as the weekly MPSF table and awards as we hit the second week of the regular season:

MPSF Table:

#2 UCLA 0-0 5-0
#13 Grand Canyon 0-0 5-1
#3 BYU 0-0 3-1
#14 USC 0-0 3-2
(RV) Concordia 0-0 1-0
#12 Pepperdine 0-0 1-1
#16 Stanford 0-0 1-4

Weekly Honors:

Matches of the Week:

  • Jan. 17: #8 CSUN vs. #16 Stanford
  • Jan. 18: #9 Penn State at #2 UCLA
  • Jan. 18: #7 Ohio State vs. #14 USC
  • Jan. 20: #9 Penn State vs. #14 USC
  • Jan. 20: #7 Ohio State at #2 UCLA

Making Early Statements

  • #2 UCLA Bruins, 5-0 (0-0, MPSF)

The Bruins scored a huge win over UC Irvine after falling behind 0-2. One of the big pieces of the match that both kept UC Irvine around but also fueled some success was the serve, which has created an interesting debate over their style of play. The Bruins have been ripping it and not letting the serve errors bother them, instead just searching for high ace numbers and more importantly keeping the offense out of system more often. If UCLA continues its success with the philosophy, more and more teams could pick it up.

A Bit of Revenge

  • #3 BYU Cougars 3-1 (0-0, MPSF)

The Cougars had another shot at taking on Ohio State after the Buckeyes downed BYU in the National Championship match last year. This time, even in Columbus, BYU took care of Ohio State. The win pushed them back up the rankings after they fell in the first week, but the new dynamic of freshman Gabi Garcia Fernandez, the AVCA Player of the Week, might be the difference in pushing the Cougars over the edge. At 6’7″, he brings similar size as one of their departures from last year in Ben Patch. That size was a question this year as the Cougars lost plenty of star-power, but they seem to have found a good mix of new talent and a bit of faster play to stay successful.

Positives to Build On

  • #16 Stanford Cardinal 1-4 (0-0, MPSF)

The Cardinal had a rough first week, going 0-3 against solid but not top-tier opponents. Week two was much better, with a competitive road loss to Ohio State preceding a big road win at Ball State. Part of the switch was just from better play and internal growth, but the addition of setter Paul Bischoff – who was injured and missed the first week – may have been the team’s biggest boon of the week. They may enter MPSF play ranked toward the lower-end of the polls, but if Bischoff remains healthy than this team may play more toward their high preseason expectations and could be a dark horse in the league.

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