Week 6 College Beach Volleyball Power Rankings: All’s Quiet Before FIU’s Big Weekend
This week was a bit of a snoozer in the world of beach volleyball. In UCLA’s case, it probably was a literal snoozer, as the Bruins were all likely in desperate need of naps during the always-brutal finals week (congratulations to all survivors).
As for the beach world outside of Westwood, every school took care of business. The teams who won were supposed to. The teams that lost were the underdogs. No ground gained. No ground lost.
That, however, is set to change this week, as FIU’s Surf and Turf Invitational is a loaded affair, bringing in the best team in the nation in UCLA along with the tops in the East with LSU, Florida State, Stetson, FIU, GCU and Tulane. There is no easy day in Miami this weekend.
1. UCLA (15-0, previously #1)
The biggest win this week came for UCLA’s seniors, who are no longer seniors but graduates from the University of California, Los Angeles. So a congratulations is in order to Sarah Sponcil, Zana Muno, Nicole and Megan McNamara and Izzy Carey both for graduating and for now only having one job left: Winning a national championship.
2. USC (16-2, previously #2)
You could say it’s been an above average recovery for the Trojans after suffering an upset to South Carolina two weeks ago. Since, USC has won six straight, including another two big victories over West Coast rivals Pepperdine and Hawai’i as well as East Region contenders in Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Georgia State.
3. Florida State (14-4, previously #3)
The Seminoles’ week off proved to be a valuable one, as they came back with a 3-0 run this weekend, beating Arizona, Austin Peay and the recently hot Stetson Hatters. A big weekend looms ahead, with Grand Canyon, Tulane, UCLA and Florida International on the schedule for the FIU Surf and Turf Invitational.
4. LSU (13-4, previously #4)
What a week for the LSU Tigers. First, they opened up their long-anticipated beach volleyball stadium, then they signed a deal with Cox Sports to televise matches in said stadium, then they ran the table in the opening tournament in the stadium, winning all four matches this weekend’s Tiger Beach Challenge.
All four matches this week will be against teams ranked in the top 16, with UCLA, Stetson, FIU, Grand Canyon and Florida Atlantic on tap.
5. Pepperdine (13-6, previously #5)
Pepperdine did exactly what it needed to this past week. Nothing more. Nothing less. It swept Long Beach at Long Beach for the first time in school history and held its West Region advantage over Hawai’i with a 3-2 win and another victory over Arizona State. The Waves missed an opportunity to upset USC, dropping 2-3 in Tempe, Arizona, but it was a win they didn’t necessarily need, either.
This week, the Waves have Stanford — which will be streamed on p1440.com — and another crack at the Trojans on Saturday.
6. Hawai’i (13-6, previously #6)
The Bows’ hot stretch came to a close with a 3-2 loss to Pepperdine at Arizona State on Friday, and they suffered another at the hands of USC the following day. But their West Coast adventure continues with the Big West Challenge this upcoming weekend, where they will see Northridge, Bakersfield, UC Davis, Long Beach State, Sacramento State, and Cal Poly.
Long Beach State and Poly will present the opportunity for quality wins to help shore up a West Region bid for Gulf Shores in May.
7. Stetson (14-4, previously #7)
Last season, the Hatters had a shiny record but little substance to it, a 30-8 season — let’s all pause for a second and admire the fact that they played 38 matches in two months — but one that didn’t include any marquee wins. This year has been a different story, as coach Kristina Hernandez has put together a far more difficult schedule, one that will test the Hatters this weekend at FIU’s Surf and Turf Invitational.
Stetson will get a shot at a number of its East Region rivals, including Florida International, LSU, UCLA, TCU and Tulane.
8. FIU (8-5, previously #8)
The Panthers may be over the proverbial hill coach Rita Buck-Crockett spoke of when they traveled to Manhattan Beach for East Meets West. After a tough stretch in which FIU lost five of six matches — three of which were 2-3 losses — the Panthers have gone 2-0.
Hosting the Surf and Turf Challenge will be the true barometer to see if they’ve figured out what the difference was in losing 2-3 and winning 3-2 instead.
First Four Out
South Carolina (11-6)
Cal Berkeley (12-3)
Cal Poly (10-5)Long Beach State (10-4)
- Sarah Sponcil Still Has Homework to do
- Long Beach State only looking for inches — and a Big West title
- Lindsey Knudsen: Following the call for something bigger than volleyball
- FIU the place to be this week in college beach volleyball
- Pepperdine’s Brook Bauer, Heidi Dyer thriving in last-second partnership
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