[Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this post, UCLA setter Kyle Caldwell was cited as still suffering from an achilles tendon injury. UCLA coach Al Scates informed Off the Block on Wednesday that Caldwell’s injury is full healed. The story has been updated to reflect this changes.]
Servegate bumped BYU up in the national rankings.
BYU after winning the replay of a fifth game overtime against UCLA during the weekend moved up one spot to No. 3 in the new national media poll released Tuesday.
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. USC — 100 (10) points
2. UCLA — 87 points
3. BYU — 77 points
4. UC Irvine — 75 points
5. Stanford — 59 points
6. Penn State — 49 points
7. Pepperdine — 38 points
8. Ohio State — 30 points
9. Lewis — 22 points
10. Long Beach State — 10 points
Others receiving votes: Harvard
1. USC (20-4, 16-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated UC San Diego and UC Irvine
Regardless of how the season ends for USC, coach Bill Ferguson should be the unanimous choice for National Coach of the Year. The Trojans with four new starters from last year’s Final Four team are on a nation-best 15=match winning streak and two wins away from the MPSF regular season championship.
2. BYU (21-6, 17-5 MPSF)
Last week’s results: split a two-match series with UCLA
First headset-gate and now servegate. This season couldn’t get any crazier for BYU. The Cougars remain one of the top teams in the nation but it needs to sweep its upcoming series against Penn state to remain in contention for the at-large bid.
3. UCLA (21-6, 15-5 MPSF)
Last week’s results: split a two-match series with BYU
Setter Kyle Caldwell has fully recovered from his strained achilles tendon injury and is running the most balanced offense in the nation. Caldwell has been the best setter in the nation this year, and don’t be surprised if the senior gets serious consideration for National Player of the Year.
4. UC Irvine (20-5, 16-5 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Pepperdine, lost to USC
The good for UC Irvine outside attackers: Carson Clark had a team-high 41 combined kills in the team’s two matches last week. The bad for UC Irvine outside attackers: Kevin Tillie had three kills and a zero attack percentage on 17 attack attempts in a loss to USC. The Anteaters will need all their outside attackers clicking if they are to make a run in the MPSF Tournament.
5. Penn State (20-3, 13-0 EIVA)
Last week’s results: defeated Sacred Heart and Harvard
The Nittany Lions remain undefeated in conference play, but they are making things interesting. Penn State rallied from a two-game deficit to beat Harvard and win its 13th consecutive EIVA regular season championship. That the most dramatic way the Nittany Lions have ever clinched a conference regular season title.
6. Stanford (18-6, 15-5 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge.
Everyone forgot about Stanford because of their almost month-long hiatus in March. However, the Cardinal is on a three-match winning streak and can still win a share of the MPSF regular season title if wins its final two matches and get some help.
7. Lewis (21-6, 7-3 MIVA)
Last week’s results: defeated Quincy and Ball State
Lewis did everything right this season minus a five-day stretch in March that will likely cost the Flyers the MIVA regular season title. The Flyers can still make the NCAA Tournament, but they are likely going to have to win on the road to make the Final Four.
8. Ohio State (18-8, 8-3 MIVA)
Last week’s results: defeated Grand Canyon twice
Outside attacker Shawn Sangrey is leading the nation with a 4.86 kills per game average. In addition, Sangrey last week surpassed the 1,000 attack attempts milestone this season — the only player in the nation to achieve that feat so far. If a MIVA player ever deserved the National Player of the Year it’s Sangery this year.
9. Harvard (17-4, 9-3 EIVA)
Last week’s results: defeated St. Francis, lost to Penn State
Does anyone still want to question whether Harvard is a good team after almost upsetting Penn State. The Nittany Lions are still the clear favorites win the EIVA Tournament, but the Crimson could give them a serious challenge in the upcoming conference tournament championship match.
10. Pepperdine (14-12, 9-11 MPSF)
Last week’s results: defeated UC San Diego, lost to UC Irvine
Pepperdine continues to get closer and closer to knocking off a top-five nationally ranked team. This is a young team and don’t be shocked if that first massive upset comes in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.
ON THE BUBBLE
Long Beach State — Just when Long Beach State seems to be turning the corner it loses badly in three games to Stanford. This team remains the nation’s biggest mystery but could cause havoc to the MPSF standings if it beats USC on Thursday.