KEEP AN EYE ON THESE GUYS

Carson Clark
UC Irvine
Senior
OH

Key Notes:
• Second team All-American and first team All-MPSF honoree
• Averaged 4.54 kills and 5.21 points per set in 2011
• Ranked third in the nation in kills per set and seventh in aces during 2011

Futi Tavana
BYU
Senior
MB

Key Notes:
• AVCA All-America First Team selection in 2011
• Played in 105 sets and started all 28 games for the Cougars last season.
• Tallied 234 kills, 23 assists, 44 digs and an NCAA-high 160 blocks in 2011 

Weston Dunlap
UCLA
Senior
QH

Key Notes:
• Named Second-Team All-MPSF after leading the nation in kill percentage (.446)
• Hit .300 or better in 24 of 31 matches in 2011
• Recorded 16 double-digit kill matches and scored 337.5 points

Brad Lawson
Stanford
Senior
OH

Key Notes:
• Named an AVCA first-team All-American last year, becoming just the sixth player in school history to win multiple such honors
• Led the team with 455 kills and 26 aces in 2011
• Posted seven double-doubles.

Tony Ciarelli
USC
Senior
OH

Key Notes:
• Garnered 350 kills and 36 aces in 2011
• Spent this past summer competing
internationally (at the Pan American Games
with the U.S. Men’s National Team) and on
the beach (at the World University Games).

KEEP AN EYE ON THESE SQUADS

UC Irvine Anteaters

Noting UC Irvine: The Anteaters, who were 2007 and 2009 national champions, were MPSF semifinalists a year ago and return All-American Carson Clark as well as seniors Austin D' Amore, Dan McDonnell and Kevin Carroll.  UCI was 19-12 overall last year and ranked fourth in the final national poll. So far this season, UC Irvine is 4-0 so far this season including a victory in the UCSB Invitational. The Anteaters are ranked first in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll.

BYU Cougars

Noting BYU: After finishing the 2011 season with a No. 5 final national ranking and a final 20-8 record, BYU returns three All-Americans in Taylor Sander, Futi Tavana and Robb Stowell, and six starters to what appears to be a pretty stacked roster. The Cougars are 2-1 in their first three matches this season. The only blemish came in its season opener against current No. 1 UC Irvine.

UCLA Bruins

Noting UCLA: The Bruins are coming off of a 16-15 campaign  in 2011 but return 11 letterwinners from last year's squad, including the nation's leading hitter Weston Dunlap and the team's kill leader from last year, Gonzalo Quiroga. Head Coach Al Scates will begin his 50th and final season in 2012 after winning 19 NCAA titles and more than 1,200 matches -- more than any Division I men's volleyball coach in the country.

TOP CONTESTS TO FOLLOW
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Jan. 13 & 14 -- 10 p.m. ET: No. 2 BYU Cougars at No. 1 UC Irvine Anteaters

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Jan. 20 – 10 p.m. ET: No. 4 Stanford Cardinal at No. 3 UCLA Bruins

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Jan. 20 -- 9 p.m. ET: No. 6 USC Trojans at No. 2 BYU Cougars

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Feb. 23 – 8 p.m. ET: No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 9 Lewis Flyers

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March 3 – 7 p.m. ET: No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions

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March 31 – 10 p.m. ET: No. 3 UCLA Bruins at No. 1 UC Irvine Anteaters

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April 6 – 10 p.m.: No. 2 BYU Cougars at No. 3 UCLA Bruins

All photos courtesy of respective school athletic departments.