It’s been two full months since the start of the Men’s NCAA Division 1 volleyball season, and there have been a lot of surprising games in that time. Here’s a recap of what’s happened since the first AVCA Poll in December and the most recent poll that was released on February 21st.
At the beginning of the season, these 10 teams were ranked best in the nation:
|#1||University of Southern California||#6||Brigham Young University|
|#2||UC Irvine||#7||Long Beach State|
|#4||Pepperdine||#9||Cal State Northridge|
|#5||Cal State Northridge||#10||Ohio State|
Now this is how the rankings stand:
|#1||Pepperdine (7-4)||#6||University of Southern California (8-5)|
|#2||Stanford (8-4)||#7||Penn State (10-2)|
|#3||UCLA (9-6)||#8||Hawaii (8-5)|
|#4||Brigham Young University (9-4)||#9||Long Beach State (6-6)|
|#5||Cal State Northridge (11-5)||#10||UC Santa Barbara (6-8)|
So what happened between the pre-season rankings and now? Let’s take a look.
After a rough start in January, which included losses to California Baptist, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and Long Beach State, Pepperdine is bouncing back with a strong February. The Waves haven’t lost since January 23rd (Long Beach State), and their winning streak has featured huge wins over USC, Cal State Northridge and Stanford.
UC Irvine, the 2009 NCAA champions, started the season ranked well but have dropped out of the top-10. They’re now 8-8 and have lost matches to Stanford, Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge (among others). The Anteaters may be turning things around, however, with an upset formerly #1-ranked Cal State Northridge on Feb 18th after losing to the Matadors on January 20th.
Penn State, whose women’s volleyball team won their third-straight NCAA championship in December, didn’t make it into the top 10 of the preseason poll. Their 12-2 record is currently pretty strong, but March brings matches against BYU, Ohio State, UC Irvine and Long Beach State that will test the Nittany Lions’ abilities quite a bit more.
Stanford’s 8-4 record is impressive given their difficult schedule. They’ve played Cal State Northridge (L), UCLA (W), UC Irvine (W) and Hawaii twice (both wins). And after their improbable post-season run in 2009, nobody can count the Trojans out of anything.
There’s still a lot of volleyball left to play before the championships take place in May. Keep your eyes on Volleyball-Life.com for more updates!