It’s really easy to figure out trends the first week since you are working with basically one data point. Things start to get weird with the second weekend of matches. Just when you think you’ve got teams figured out they go out and surprise someone or drop a match they shouldn’t. With that said, there were some intriguing results this weekend that will have significant impacts to the rankings. As a reminder, I will release my rankings tomorrow with the AVCA rankings coming out Tuesday.
Starting with the ASC, we saw a huge upset on Saturday when UTT were swept by TLU. I’ll get into the ramifications more on the rankings post tomorrow but this is a big red flag to the previously unbeaten UTT team that I had placed 6th in the West Region last week. Both UTD and UMHB had a perfect weekend beating a couple of the top teams from the South Region in Birmingham-Southern and Hendrix. On the flip side, Hardin-Simmons couldn’t win a match this weekend and have really hurt their chances moving forward.
Linfield and Pacific both had good weekends but neither really beat any top teams and neither are on my radar at the moment. Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth both headed to the SCIAC for the weekend and came away with slightly different outcomes. Whitworth could only beat Pomona-Pitzer and coupled with their poor first weekend, they really have lost any chance they would have had for a Pool C bid. Pacific Lutheran started off poorly losing to CMS and getting swept by Whittier but came back strong on Saturday with sweeps over Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Lutheran. After a strong first weekend, Pac Lutheran is in position for a Pool C spot assuming they don’t win the Northwest Conference. Frankly, the only team in the Northwest that has a shot at a Pool C bid will be Pacific Lutheran as that league now focuses exclusively on conference play. Puget Sound was the only other team that may have been able to make some noise but they headed to Southwestern and lost to the host team as well as Chris Newport (only able to beat a poor ETBU team in 5-sets).
The top teams in the SCAC continued to march along with minimal problems. Colorado College hosted another tournament and swept three teams easily. CC just doesn’t lose at home and their first real test will come next weekend at the Elmhurst Invitational. Trinity headed to SCIAC country and had some really interesting matches. They took care of Pomona-Pitzer easily and then beat my #1 West Region team in Claremont Mudd-Scripps in 4 sets. In this match CMS won the first set and then after losing the 2nd, had a 24-19 lead in set 3 only to lose and then a 24-21 lead in set 4 only to drop that set and the match. Trinity then lost to the surprise team in the West Region (Whittier) in 5 sets before sweeping Cal Lutheran. Southwestern moved to 7-0 this weekend as they hosted a tournament with ETBU, Chris Newport and Puget Sound. The Chris Newport match went 5 sets (21-19 in the fifth) and ended on a controversial touch call. Austin College moved to 7-1 this weekend winning their matches but they really haven’t played anyone of note.
La Verne headed to the east coast this weekend and came so close to staying undefeated but dropped a 5-set match to MIT. La Verne was down 9-14 in the fifth before losing 13-15. That’s an important win for MIT if they don’t win the NEWMAC and La Verne continues to play well. Horrible weekend for Cal Lu as they drop matches to Trinity and Pac Lu and I might just have to drop them out of the West Region rankings tomorrow. CMS took care of the Northwest teams (struggling against Pac Lu) but lost to Trinity in 4-sets. Chapman went to Emory and lost to the host team but did beat Millsaps. The surprise team in the West Region is Whittier as they moved to 6-2 on the season with wins against Pac Lu, Trinity and Whitworth. The SCIAC is going to be really interesting this season and we’re going to see more upsets then in past years.
As for me, I only got to see one match this weekend as my sister was inducted into the Cal Berkeley Hall of Fame for Volleyball. I’m quite proud but it sure impacted my volleyball weekend.