Top 5 men’s volleyball matches to follow tonight

It’s not often that MPSF schools travel outside the West Coast.

However, this weekend four MPSF schools have traveled to the Midwest and East Coast to play in non-conference matches against EIVA and MIVA teams. This is by far the best non-conference weekend of the season with matches ranging from three nationally ranked teams meeting up in University Park, Pa., to No. 4 Stanford playing Loyola in the dreadful Alumni Gym where numerous road teams have struggled in recent years.

Check out the top five men’s volleyball matches you need to follow tonight.
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Q&A with Penn State coach Mark Pavlik

For the first time in five years, the No. 7 Penn State men’s volleyball team will play a regular season home match against a team from the MPSF.

The Nittany Lions will play No. 8 UC Irvine at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Cal State Northridge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. In addition, No. 9 Ohio State will travel to University Park, Pa., this weekend to play these two West Coast teams at Rec Hall.

Penn State (6-1, 2-0 EIVA) traditionally travels to the West Coast twice per season to play top ranked MPSF schools. However, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge this weekend will become the first MPSF teams since Long Beach State in 2006 to play a regular season match at Penn State.

Off the Block conducted an interview with Penn State coach Mark Pavlik earlier this week to discuss the upcoming home matches this weekend.
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My men’s volleyball media poll ballot

There are some weeks when you wish your ballot was larger to include more teams, and than there are some weeks like this one when you just can’t seem to find 10 teams who deserve to be in the top 10.

The top teams in the nation have quickly emerged. USC is unanimously the best team in the country both on the court and in the media and coaches polls. In addition, Long Beach State, Stanford, BYU and UCLA have separated themselves as top tier teams in the MPSF, while Penn State remains the best team east of the Mississippi River.

Everyone else still has a lot left to prove to be considered an elite team this season.
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The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

It’s your top five men’s volleyball story list, but with a twist.

Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball season I will post the top five best men’s volleyball stories of the week from around the nation. The list, though, is based more on how well the reporter wrote and covered the story rather than just what happened on the court.
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Final 2 spots on my media poll ballot this week leaves room for debate

It’s about 1 a.m. Sunday and I’m sitting at my computer desk, shaking my head with all the match results now in for the weekend.

The top eight spots are set for my voting ballot this week in the ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Media Poll. It’s the final two spots that have me pondering late into the night as I get ready to go to sleep.

Parity doesn’t make it easy for a poll voter and I have about five teams who could move into my top 10 ballot this week.
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The top 5 matches to follow this weekend

The rivalry match in Los Angeles between No. 1 USC and No. 4 UCLA is by far the biggest match of the weekend. However, there are several other intriguing matches all around the country that have big implications on the conference standings and national rankings. Check out the top five matches you need to keep an eye on during the next few days before you start your weekend.
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My men’s volleyball media poll ballot

Well it took a bunch of hours going over box scores, game articles and videos, but I finally have my first ballot of the year for the ASICS/Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Media Poll.

The first few weeks are always a little bit difficult to rank because you are still balancing preseason expectations with how the team is actually playing and who it has beat. Some teams like USC and Stanford have lived up to the preseason hype setting themselves above everyone else. While other teams like UC Irvine and Hawai’i are beginning to play well after horrific starts.

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.
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My media poll voting philosophy

I received an e-mail earlier this week inviting me to vote this season’s ASICS/VBM Men’s Division I-II Media Poll.

The weekly poll is comprised of 11 voters, and this is my third season to get the opportunity to vote in this national poll. The men’s volleyball media poll is also a little more exclusive than other polls because it’s only a top 10. In comparison, the American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll is a top 15.

The top 10 media poll is released every Tuesday evening during the regular season. Once the media poll is made public, I plan every week to release how I voted on this blog.

As I am currently going over stat sheets and match results to create my first media poll ballot of the year, I thought I would explain my voting philosophy.

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And we’re back and better than ever

And it looks like  I couldn’t stay far away that long from the men’s volleyball scene after leaving The Ball State Daily News.

After four years of covering the sport, I developed an interest in the little know sport that has coupled with my passion for telling a story. I’m currently working an industry that doesn’t have a connection to volleyball so this blog is my outlet to keep involved in the sport — and to relieve my Twitter followers from the constant volleyball tweets.

The blog will primarily consist of my thoughts on the season about all teams, not just Ball State. In addition, I’ll post updates on my thesis/book that I am finishing up about the 1960-64 Ball State men’s volleyball teams.

There is no set schedule on when or how often I will update this blog. However, anytime I post an update I’ll make sure to tweet it on my Twitter account, @vinnielopes.