The 2018 Men’s Division I-II season is now at its close, with the 49ers of Long Beach State sitting atop the throne as National Champions. This final VolleyMob Top 20 Power Rankings for 2018 reflects the results of the NCAA Tournament, with not much shifting going on. Here’s how we end the season:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 28-1 (9-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; Def. #6 Ohio State (3-1), vs./at #3 UCLA (3-2)
- LBSU didn’t have issues with its long delay, overcoming a feisty Ohio State team in the Volley Four to reach the National Championship. They then were challenged even more so by UCLA in what was essentially a raucous road environment and fell behind 2-1. Like they’ve done all year long though, the 49ers fought the deficit off and won their school’s second ever National Championship.
2. UCLA BRUINS
- 26-8 (9-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; Def. #17 Harvard (3-1), #2 BYU (3-1); Lost vs. #1 LBSU (2-3)
- UCLA got its revenge on BYU, evening the season series at 2-2 but winning the most important in the Volley Four. They then came incredibly close to knocking off Long Beach State, but ended up falling in five. Still, UCLA should have no shame in a fantastic season where they end as the National Runner-Up.
3. BYU COUGARS
- 22-7 (10-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; Lost vs./at #3 UCLA (1-3)
- It was a tough draw for BYU, who lost to a UCLA team who had faced them three times and got to play them in the Volley Four on their home court. Still, the Cougars won the regular and postseason MPSF titles over UCLA and had a phenomenal season that produced a pair of team trophies.
4. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 19-8 (6-4, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; None
- Hawaii didn’t win the Big West, but they won a match that was extremely important against UC Irvine… or so we all thought. It seemed like at that point with the two basically neck-and-neck that the Rainbow Warriors win right before selection to win the season series 2-1 would put them in, but instead the committee opted for a team with more road/neutral wins.
5. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 25-6 (11-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #6; Def. #16 King (3-0), (N) #5 UC Irvine (3-2); Lost (N) #1 LBSU (1-3)
- The Buckeyes made a late surge in the season in overtaking Loyola Chicago to tie for the MIVA crown and win it in the postseason. They then showed the heart of a champion as back-to-back National Title winners by advancing to the Volley Four and pushing Long Beach to the limit, but they just fell short.
6. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 21-10 (6-4, Big West)
- Last Week: #5; Lost (N) #6 Ohio State (2-3)
- The Anteaters just fell short in a match with Ohio State, as they could not set up a third season meeting with Long Beach State. That drops them below the Buckeyes, as they still end the year in the top six.
7. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 23-7 (11-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #7; None
- Loyola Chicago fell just short of the NCAA Tournament as they were one of the first teams out and were a match from winning an automatic bid. Still, their season ends with a share of the regular season MIVA title and a top 10 ranking.
8. LEWIS FLYERS
- 19-11 (9-5, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; None
- Lewis was incredibly close to upending Ohio State and heading to the MIVA Tournament Championship for the second time in three seasons. Instead, their season comes to a close as they end up in the top 10.
9. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 15-8 (8-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #9; None
- A home loss to USC not only ends Pepperdine’s run in the MPSF Tournament right where it started, but it also ended their season a few weeks back.
10. CSUN MATADORS
- 16-11 (5-5, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; None
- CSUN ran into the buzzsaw that is LBSU to end their season, but also added a solid top 12 victory on the week against UCSB. Overall, they finish the year in the top 10 with just two seniors – although one is star Arvis Greene.
11. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 18-12 (10-4, MIVA)
- Last Week: #11; None
- The Cardinals fell short in the third meeting with Loyola Chicago, as they failed to make it to the MIVA Championship. Still, it was a great effort, not just in the match but for the season. They started the season 5-7, but turned it on in MIVA play and end right on the cusp of the top 10.
12. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 11-13 (4-6, Big West)
- Last Week: #12; None
- UCSB couldn’t get another shot at LBSU as they were cut off by CSUN. It’s too bad for them, because they showed the ability to take out top teams with wins over BYU, Pepperdine and UC Irvine this season. Instead, those carry them to a top 12 finish.
13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 18-11 (6-8, MIVA)
- Last Week: #13; 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
- 16-15 (5-7, MPSF)
- Last Week: #14; None
- Concordia Irvine got to face UCLA after taking down Grand Canyon a week prior but couldn’t upend the Bruins. After starting the season unranked though, to finish the year in the top 15 is a great season for the Eagles.
15. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 18-11 (4-8, MPSF)
- Last Week: #15; 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. KING TORNADO
- 23-6 (15-1, Conf. Carolinas)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #6 Ohio State (0-3)
- King powered through the Conference Carolinas Tournament to claim the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, defeating Barton to win the series 2-1 in the process. They couldn’t snag a set from the Buckeyes, but still ended the year with the top opponent hitting percentage.
17. HARVARD CRIMSON
- 13-14 (10-4 EIVA)
- Last Week: #17; Lost vs./at #3 UCLA (1-3)
- Harvard began the year 1-8 and 1-2 in EIVA play. Sure enough they finished the year just short of the regular season crown in the last week of the season and excelled in the league tournament. They then challenged UCLA on the road, but came up just short in what was overall a great season.
18. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 17-12 (13-1, EIVA)
- Last Week: #18; None
- George Mason ended up 13-2 against teams in the EIVA, but unfortunately for them one of those losses came at a bad time. Still, it was a great run for the Patriots who still find themselves with a trophy for the regular season.
19. PRINCETON TIGERS
- 12-16 (7-7 EIVA)
- Last Week: #19; None
- With a healthier team and momentum coming as the season came to its end, Princeton was much better than their record showed. That was proven by their road upset of top-seeded George Mason, but they couldn’t re-kindle that magic in the EIVA Championship. Still, they end the year ranked after starting the year 1-11.
20. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 15-11 (10-4, EIVA)
- Last Week: #20; None
- Penn State had plenty of talent, but couldn’t get it all to click this season. In totality, it ends with a EIVA Semifinals exit, but one that could have easily been different as they still end the season ranked.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
USC Trojans (8-20, 3-7 MPSF)
McKendree Bearcats (11-15, 6-8 MIVA)
Barton Bulldogs (21-8, 15-1 Conf. Carolinas)