Week 4 College Beach Power Rankings: All Southern California on Top
After all the shuffling and the flipping spots, the early-season upsets, the trips teams have taken West and East and South, not much has changed when it comes to the status quo in the beach volleyball world.
Southern California still rules the roost.
Only two teams emerged from this weekend’s East Meets West without a loss. Those would be, surprise surprise, USC and UCLA, both of whom logged a number of impressive victories this week. While the Southern Cal powers that be established themselves as the tops in the nation, the remaining top-12 or so continue to shuffle and shift.
1. UCLA (14-0, previously #1)
The undefeated season keeps on rolling for the Bruins, one of just two teams to remain unscathed after this weekend’s East Meets West brawl. Coach Stein Metzger has become an expert at shuffling his lineup, mixing up who’s on what court with what new – or old – partner.
Thus far, no team on any coast has been able to take down the Bruins.
2. USC (10-1, previously #3)
One subtle shift, a swap on courts four and five, seemed to do just the trick for the Trojans, who beat Florida State twice this week and fended off upset-minded LSU and Florida International at this weekend’s East Meets West.
Now the Trojans are headed East, to Georgia, where they will see South Carolina and Georgia State, then down to Fort Lauderdale for matchups with Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
3. Florida State (11-4, previously #4)
Florida State’s week-long West Coast trip was a high-risk, high-reward one, and though the Seminoles left with three losses on the ledger, it was, all in all, a successful trip. Two of those losses came to No. 2 USC in two excellent matches, both of which finished 3-2, while the first took every court, including exhibition court six, to three sets. Meanwhile, a pair of wins over the West’s Pepperdine and Hawai’i solidified their spot, alongside LSU, as one of the best two programs in the East.
4. LSU (8-4, previously #7)
Similar to Florida State, LSU traveled West with something to prove, and the Tigers did just that, toppling Pepperdine and Hawai’i. Barring any upsets, the Tigers should run through their next few weeks before meeting UCLA again on March 29, when the Bruins travel to Florida International’s Surf and Turf Invitational.
5. Pepperdine (8-4, previously #2)
Tough weekend for the Waves, absorbing losses to LSU and Florida State, though they rebounded with wins over Florida International and TCU. Another big week looms ahead, with LMU, Cal Poly and UCLA on the schedule.
6. Hawai’i (4-4, previously #5)
Hawai’i is dancing on the edge of being ranked because of talent and traditional success, and being unranked because it hasn’t quite managed to put everything together just yet. The Bows should, at some point, be the team they’re capable of being, but they’ve struggled to land a marquee win. More opportunities will come this weekend as they host Nebraska, Boise State, and Cal Berkeley at the Heineken Invitational.
7. Cal Berkeley (7-1, previously #8)
The Bears keep chugging along, winning when they’re supposed to. Their only loss of the season is to No. 1 UCLA, but, like a few others on this list, they have yet to prove their mettle with a big win. This weekend’s matchup with Hawai’i will be a fair barometer to see where the Bears stand.
8. Florida Atlantic (6-2, previously unranked)
Some might disagree with Florida Atlantic being in over, say, Florida International. But while FIU has a number of narrow, quality losses, and is clearly capable to beat most any team, FAU has one thing FIU does not: A quality win. The Owls topped South Carolina earlier in the year, and they’ve only been felled by #3 Florida State and #4 LSU.
First Four Out
Florida International (5-4)
Long Beach State (5-3)
Cal Poly (3-3)
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