Men's Volleyball Boasts Four Teams In Top 10
2018 Men's Volleyball Release No. 2
The Big West posted an impressive 16-1 record in the inaugural week of men's volleyball. Four squads are ranked in the AVCA top 10 – Long Beach State (No. 2), Hawai‘i (No. 4), UC Irvine (No. 5) and CSUN (No. 8).
Big West Impresses In Debut
The Big West sent a strong signal to the rest of the men’s volleyball world that it will be a force in 2018 and years to come. The six members posted a cumulative record of 16-1, including a 4-0 mark against teams ranked in the AVCA Division I-II preseason poll. Long Beach State is undefeated at 4-0, including three victories at the UCSB Asics Invitational. Unbeaten squads also include CSUN (3-0), Hawai‘i (3-0), UC Irvine (2-0) and UC San Diego (2-0). UC Santa Barbara is 2-1, with a win over then-No. 8 Stanford punctuating its opening week of play.
The National Rankings
Four Big West teams reside in the top 10 of this week’s AVCA poll – No. 2 Long Beach State, No. 4 Hawai‘i, No. 5 UC Irvine and No. 8 CSUN. The Beach remained No. 2, the Rainbow Warriors moved up one spot, the Anteaters rose two spots, and the Matadors jumped three slots. UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego continue to receive votes. VolleyMob.com installed LBSU as its choice for the No. 1 team in the country this week.
Syftestad Named National Player Of The Week
UC San Diego senior opposite hitter Tanner Syftestad added Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Week recognition to his awards haul after being named the Big West’s inaugural Player of the Week on Monday. Syftestad averaged 5.44 kills with 49 total kills in wins over McKendree and King (Tenn.). He had 27 putaways against McKendree.
Loaded Schedule For Big West
Formidable tests dot this week’s men’s volleyball schedule as the Big West seeks to continue its perch among the nation’s best teams. UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara play at No. 3 UCLA, while the Anteaters also have a home date with No. 12 USC and a road tilt at No. 10 Pepperdine. The Gauchos also travel to USC. Long Beach State faces a tough road trip against No. 11 Lewis and No. 7 Loyola-Chicago. Hawai‘i treks across the country to Nashville, Tenn., participating in the Grow The Game Challenge. The Rainbow Warriors finish that tournament against No. 13 Grand Canyon.
DeFalco Reaches Career Milestone
Long Beach State junior TJ DeFalco accumulated 43 kills over four matches last week to become the 21st player in program history to break the 1,000 kill milestone. DeFalco now has 1,006 career kills. He and teammate Josh Tuaniga were named to the UCSB Asics All-Tournament Team for their efforts. His 43 kills led the high powered Beach offense.
Big West Tournament On The Horizon
The first annual Big West Men’s Volleyball Tournament will be held April 19-21 at Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid. All six teams will compete for the tourney title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Hawai‘i (2020) and UC Irvine (2021) are the next hosts.