The preseason speculation being replace with actual evidence of matches leads to several changes on my media poll ballot this week.
UC Irvine jumping two spots to No. 1 in my ballot was the biggest change. However, there were several other changes among the top 10 teams this week.
Check out this week’s top 10 men’s volleyball media poll and my ballot with explanations on why ranked each team where I did.
Let the debate begin on who are the best teams in the nation.
Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll
1. UC Irvine — 98 (8) points
2. UCLA — 83 points
3. BYU — 79 (1) points
4. Stanford — 72 (1) points
5. Penn State — 53 points
6. Long Beach State — 49 points
7. USC — 44 points
8. Ohio State — 30 points
9. Lewis — 19 points
10. Pepperdine — 10 points
Others receiving votes: Cal State Northridge, Loyola, UC Santa Barbara
My ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll ballot
1. UC Irvine (4-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Cal Baptist, BYU, Long Beach State and UCLA
Everyone expected outside attacker Carson Clark to be good, but not many people expected sophomore outside attacker Jeremy Dejno to be this good. Dejno had a team-high 4.38 kills per game average in the UC Santa Barbara Invitational, which the Anteaters won. UC Irvine is the deepest team in the nation at outside attacker and off to the season’s best start.
2. BYU (2-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Loyola and UC Santa Barbara, lost to UC Irvine
Way too soon to hit the panic button in Provo, Utah, despite the Cougars dropping two spots in the poll. Outside attacker Taylor Sander had 59 total kills in three matches at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Just wait until outside attacker Robb Stowell and middle attacker Futi Tavana return to this team in full health.
3. ULCA (2-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Cal State Northridge and Ohio State, lost to UC Irvine
Big shocker: Hall of Fame coach Al Scates has a team that can contend for a national championship. The Bruins’ Wes Dunlap and Thomas Amberg looked to be the best middle attacker tandem in the nation at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. If UCLA’s outside attackers continue to develop, this team will be scary during the postseason.
4. Penn State (0-0, 0-0 EIVA)
Last week’s results: idle
A Penn State alumnus got a concussion attempting to block a Joe Sunder kill in the Nittany Lions’ annual alumni match last weekend. It’s an exhibition and Penn State was that amped up — imagine what the players will be like Saturday when they open their season against Ohio State.
5. Stanford (0-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: idle
If you can take anything away from Stanford’s two exhibition matches versus Thompson Rivers last week it was the play middle attacker Brian Cook. The sophomore had double-digit kills both matches, including a team-high 16 kills in the series opener.
6. Long Beach State (2-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Loyola and Ohio State, lost to UC Irvine
Coach Andy Read was very blunt in the preseason that his team believed it could win the national championship. The 49ers backed up that belief with their play at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational, defeating two top 10 ranked teams and almost upsetting UC Irvine in five games.
7. USC (1-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Cal Baptist
USC had a .359 attack percentage in its season-opening victory against Cal Baptist. Coach Bill Ferguson has the offense on this revamped Trojans team playing well as they enter conference play.
8. Lewis (1-1, 0-0 MIVA)
Last week’s results: split a two-match series with Pepperdine
Lewis may be the most fun MIVA team to watch on offense this year. Outside attacker Jay Petty had a match-high 21 kills in Lewis’ victory against Pepperdine, while his younger brother Greg Petty had five aces in the win.
9. Pepperdine (1-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Last week’s results: split a two-match series with Lewis
It took less than 48 hours into the season for Pepperdine’s freshmen class to make a statement. Freshman outside attacker had a match-high 26 kills in a victory against Lewis. The Waves are young and will improve throughout the year.
10. Ohio State (2-1, 0-0 MIVA)
Last week’s results: defeated UC Santa Barbara, lost to UCLA and Long Beach State
Outside attacker Shawn Sangrey had more than 45 kill attempts in two of Buckeyes’ three matches at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. Expect Sangrey to continue to carry a heavy offensive load as this team works to establish a consistent starting lineup.
On the bubble
UC San Diego — UC San Diego defeated Hawai’i in Honolulu for the first time in its program history. This team may pull off a few more upsets throughout the year.
Cal State Northridge — Give this team a little more time to gel and it will be on my top 10 ballot before the season is over.