My men’s volleyball media poll ballot

There is a new No. 1 in the national media poll.

Stanford for the first time this season was ranked No. 1 in the new national media poll that was released Tuesday. The Cardinal jumped up two spots to replace UCLA from atop the rankings.

Check out this week’s top 10 men’s volleyball media poll and my ballot with explanations on why I 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. Stanford — 94 (6) points
2. UCLA 92 (3) points
3. UC Irvine — 77 (1) points
4. BYU — 70 points
5. Penn State — 65 points
6. USC — 49 points
7. Lewis — 39 points
8. Ohio State — 29 points
9. Pepperdine — 16 points
10. Long Beach State — 13 points
Others receiving votes: Loyola, Pacific

My Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll ballot
1. UCLA (14-2, 9-1 MPSF)

Last week’s results:
defeated Hawai’i twice, lost to Long Beach State
The Bruins’ loss to the 49ers snapped their nation-best 10-match winning streak. However, UCLA recovered with two impressive sweeps on the road against Hawai’i. In addition, the Bruins get my No. 1 vote instead of Stanford because the Bruins hold the head-to-head advantage — sweeping the Cardinal in January.


2. Penn State (10-1, 4-0 EIVA)
Last week’s results:
defeated Harvard and Sacred Heart
Penn State is on a nation-best eight match winning streak and has yet to lose a set in conference play. The Nittany Lions are not playing the tougest teams in the nation, but it has signature victories against Stanford and Ohio State. The true test for the Nittany Lions will come in a few weeks when they travel to the West Coast.

3. Stanford (11-2, 8-1 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated UC Irvine and UC San Diego
The Cardinal should never return to Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford went 8-2 during its season-long 10-match road trip, including victories against Ohio State and UC Irvine. Its two losses of the season to UCLA and Penn State, though, prevented it from being ranked ahead of UCLA and Penn State.

4. BYU (10-3, 6-2 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated Cal Baptist twice
The saga of life without All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander continues for the Cougars. BYU is still beating the teams its suppose to beat but it’s become a whole lot more interesting — as evident when it rallied from a two-game deficit to beat Cal Baptist on Friday.

5. UC Irvine (10-3, 6-3 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated Pacific, lost to Stanford
The three-game loss on its home court to Stanford was about as bad as it could get for UC Irvine. The Anteaters’ three All-American caliber outside attackers were each held to less than a .300 attack percentage and had 24 combined kills. However, this team will still around at the end of the season battling for a spot in the Final Four.

6. Lewis (10-3, 2-1 MIVA)
Last week’s results:
defeated NJIT and George Mason
Lewis survived an upset scare against George Mason to complete its East Coast road trip undefeated. The Flyers’ now have a chance to take a commanding lead in the MIVA if they can beat the Buckeyes at home on Friday.

7. USC (7-4, 5-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated Hope International
All the talk about USC freshman setter Micah Christenson has overshadowed the play of freshman middle attacker Rober Feathers. Feathers is leading the nation with a 1.77 blocks per game average and is a contender for the Off the Block Blocker of the Year award.

8. Ohio State (11-4, 2-0 MIVA)
Last week’s results:
defeated Ball State and Carthage
Perhaps the best thing for Ohio State happened in its match against Ball State: outside attacker Shawn Sangrey had an off night and the Buckeyes still won. Sangrey leads the nation with a 4.83 kills per game average and now the team knows it can win if Sangrey isn’t at his best.

9. Pepperdine (7-5, 5-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated Cal Baptist
Pepperdine rallying to defeat Cal Baptist in five games snapped a three-match losing streak and prevented the Waves from going into a complete downward spiral. Pepperdine now moves into the tough portion of its schedule with matches against Stanford, BYU, Penn State and USC in the next three weeks.

10. Long Beach State (7-6, 3-5 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated UCLA and UC Santa Barbara
The roller coaster of a season continued for 49ers with an upset win against the Bruins. In addition, coach Andy Read’s revamped lineup has put Long Beach State back on track to reach the MPSF Tournament.

Loyola —
The Ramblers have won five of their last six matches. However, Loyola will need to beat IPFW and Ohio State at home this weekend to have a chance to move into the top 10.

Pfeiffer — Pfeiffer since losing its season opener to Ball State is on a seven-match winning streak. The only problem with Pfeiffer is it has zero chance for a signature victory because it does not play another team with a winning record from the MIVA, EIVA or MPSF. If it can run the table, maybe Pfeiffer will get consideration at the end of the year.