College Volleyball Weekly: Presidents' Day Run-Down

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Each week during the NCAA Men’s Volleyball season a few of us die-hard collegiate men’s volleyball junkies break down the last week’s play around the nation on The Net Live with Kevin “Barney” Barnett and DJ Roueche (Jeremy Roueche).

My focus is mainly the Big West and MPSF Conferences, but I’ll dabble eastward when I have enough time to analyze the play! Joining me in CVW are George Mason Men’s Volleyball Head Coach, Jay Hosack, and Off-the-Block Blog Editor-in-Chief (and DJ Skrillex Clone), Vinnie Lopes. With today being President’s Day the show wasn’t on, but for the benefit of other Men’s Volleyball diehards I wanted to share some thoughts on Week 7 of D1-2 play.

Five-Set Frenzies

Wednesday, 2/13: #6 UCSB defeats #4 UCLA, 3-2; 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-12

One of the hottest arms in the nation goes to Gaucho Senior OH Corey Chavers. Throw him in a match with an injury-riddled UCLA roster, and a venue stuffed with Santa Barbara students and locals screaming their heads off— fans knew they were going to see something special. And that they did— Chavers lit up UCLA with 20K, hit .472, fired 3 aces and garnered 6 digs in this 5-set victory. In a post-match interview Coach McLaughlin credited the win to the fans in-house that pulled them over the top for the win.

A topic that came about initiated from legendary University of Hawaii Women’s Volleyball Head Coach (and UCSB Alumnus), Dave Shoji. In tweet he said:

It’s interesting to talk to coaches and survey the strategies being used in today’s game. Are you a “Grip and Rip” or “Float Serve Frenzy?”

Nonetheless, It was a big win in Goleta, for arguably one of the hottest teams in the nation, UCSB.

Thursday, 2/14: #2 UC Irvine defeats UCSD, 3-2; 25-19, 25-27, 23-25, 25-14, 16-14

The Anteaters survived 1-2 deficit by a fiery Triton team led by Collin Shannon and Wyat t Harrison, but in the end it was the consistent play by Frenchman, Aaron Koubi (17K, .469, 5 digs, 3BA, 18.5 points) and the insertion of RS-FR Opposite Hitter from Ontario, Canada, Alexandre Nsakanda (10K, 1 error, .750, 2 aces, BA) that nabbed the win for the ‘Eaters. The insertion of Nsakanda gave the ‘Eaters a different look— and an extreme flyer in the Canadian.

Thursday, 2/14: #9 Stanford defeats #14 USC, 3-2; 25-15, 26-28, 26-24, 23-25, 15-12

In an absolute slug-fest, SO Opposite Jaylen Jasper took control of the net swinging for 29K, hitting .305, while garnering 3 BAs and 6 digs. Jasper is a high flyer along with teammate Jordan Ewert so the Cardinal have an extremely lethal one-two combo.

Friday, 2/15: #5 Pepperdine defeats Grand Canyon, 3-2; 15-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12

Friday night in Phoenix proved to be a testing ground of the intestinal fortitude of the Pepperdine Waves. Their “Double-W” combo attack of Wexter/Wieczorek revealed their resolve as they fired off 19K (.325) with 4 aces, and 17K, 3 aces respectively to fight off an adrenaline-filled GCU team and venue.

Top Team in the Nation

#1 Long Beach St. showed the nation why they are the consensus #1 team with a 3-0 sweep of #4 UCLA, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19. Although there are teams that can match up with them physically, the X-factor that has continued to elevate their game to even higher levels is their team chemistry and trust in the system they run— along with being one of the toughest serving teams in the nation with minimal errors. This team is so good that they don’t have to rely on a extraordinary performance by All-American OH, TJ DeFalco. This team is playing with the utmost confidence that is growing more and more each match.

In the broadcast of their previous match at UCLA, legendary UCLA Coach, Al Scates was quoted as saying, “…this (Beach) team is better than last year’s.” The Beach goes into this week with a break from play then heads into Big West Conference play vs. CSUN March 1 & 2.

Matches to Watch for 2/18-2/24

It’s a light week in both the MPSF and Big West but the matches I’m keeping an eye on this week are…

  • Grand Canyon at #9 BYU - After seeing GCU take Pepperdine to 5 sets I think any coach in the MPSF cannot take this Lopes team lightly. BYU had a good win versus a potent USC team to cap off a 2-match winning streak on the week.

  • #14 USC at #6 UCLA - “The Battle for LA” is such a wildcard with injuries, inconsistent play, and uncertain lineups, however the historic rivalry between these two teams alone always adds an excitement and enthusiasm that goes unmatched in the City of Angels.

There’s my quick and dirty breakdown. Feel free to comment! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @robonthemic or on Facebook!