For a weekend with a smaller slate of matches there was still plenty newsworthy moments with three top-10 nationally ranked teams losing and a college men’s volleyball highlight making ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Check out the five things to take away from this weekend in college men’s volleyball.
1. UCLA wins Battle of LA — All-American outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga finished with a match-high 15 kills and two aces to lead No. 1 UCLA in a sweep of its cross-town rival No. 6 USC on Sunday. With this victory, the Bruins become the first 10-win MPSF team this season and move a half-match behind No. 3 BYU for first place in the conference.
2. UC Santa Barbara stuns Pepperdine — Outside attacker Weston Nielsen had a
career-high 18 kills as No. 8 UC Santa Barbara defeated No. 3 Pepperdine in five games on Saturday. The victory for the Gauchos also came days after the team suffered an emotional and controversial five-game loss to No. 6 USC because of a late-match red card.
3. Loyola poised to be new No. 1 — No. 2 Loyola has a chance to jump back to No. 1 when the new national coaches poll is released Monday because of losses to No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 Pepperdine last week. Loyola is on a seven-match winning streak following its non-conference sweep against McKendree on Saturday, which featured the Ramblers winning the second game by a 19-point margin.
4. Stanford bounces back — No. 7 Stanford extended its winning streak three matches as it swept UC San Diego and No. 9 UC Irvine during the weekend. After opening the MPSF season at 1-3, these victories move the Cardinal back to a .500 winning percentage in conference play and to eighth place in the MPSF.
5. IPFW, George Mason gain national exposure — IPFW defeated George Mason in four games on Saturday to go undefeated during its East Coast road trip. However, the highlight of the non-conference match was George Mason outside attacker Joe Heim’s diving dig attempt that turned into a kill. The player later that night was shown on ESPN as part of the SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays list.