Top 10 Preview: No. 5 Long Beach State to face two top-four squads
After spending the first three weeks of the season on the road, fifth-ranked Long Beach State finally returns to the Walter Pyramid to host No. 4 Southern California and No. 1 Pepperdine in its first home matches of the year.
The 49ers will tangle with USC on Wednesday before they entertain Pepperdine on Friday.
Long Beach State senior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has once again been the 49ers' most consistent performer as he has posted five consecutive double-figure kill matches to start the season. He recently notched his 17th career double-double with a season-best 22 kills and 10 digs in a five-set loss at No. 10 Hawaii.
Fourth-ranked USC (3-1, 2-1 MPSF) split its two matches last week, defeating then-No. 7 UC Irvine 3-2 before dropping a four-set decision to third-ranked Pepperdine. Lucas Yoder has paced the Trojans with 4.12 kills per set. Robert Feathers is also averaging 2.17 kills and 0.83 blocks per set, while hitting at a .489 clip.
Top-ranked Pepperdine (3-0, 3-0 MPSF) has gotten off to a strong start, defeating then-No. 3 UC Irvine, UC San Diego and then-No. 5 USC. Josh Taylor leads the Waves with 5.00 kills per set, while Parker Kalmbach is also averaging 3.73 kills, 2.00 digs and 1.64 blocks per set. Matt West has directed the offense to .348 hitting with 12.45 assists per set. West is also tops on the team with 3.00 digs per set.
Here is what the rest of the top 10 is up against this week.
No. 1 Pepperdine
|3-0||Wednesday vs. Cal State Northridge|
Friday vs. No. 5 Long Beach State
|The Waves have won all three of its games this season against ranked teams. Cal State Northridge will be the first non-ranked team Pepperdine plays this season, but not by much -- the Matadors are the first team under "others receiving votes."|
No. 2 Loyola Chicago
|4-1||Friday vs. Sacred Heart|
Saturday vs. Harvard
|Loyola Chicago will hit the road for the first time this season. The Ramblers are coming off two three-set sweeps of Erskine and Mount Olive last weekend.|
No. 3 UCLA
|6-1||Monday vs. No. T8 UC Irvine||The Bruins extended their win streak to six with a sweep of No. T8 UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday. They have not lost since a season-opening defeat to Stanford.|
No. 4 Southern California
|3-1||Wednesday vs. No. 5 Long Beach State|
Friday vs. Cal State Northridge
|Southern California will attempt to rebound from its first loss of the season, a four-set defeat to Pepperdine, as it goes on the road in conference play for the first time this season. Henry Cassiday had a career-high 21 digs for the Trojans in the loss.|
No. 5 Long Beach State
|3-2||Wednesday vs. No. 3 Southern California|
Friday vs. No. 1 Pepperdine
|Long Beach State has a challenging week ahead, with two teams in the top four coming in for the 49ers' first home games of the year. Last season, LBSU swept USC and split with Pepperdine.|
No. 6 Stanford
|3-2||Friday vs. No. 7 BYU|
Saturday vs. California Baptist
|The Cardinal took a tumble from the top spot in the rankings following two losses last week, both in five sets. They will stay on the road this week in MPSF play.|
No. 7 BYU
|4-2||Friday vs. No. 6 Stanford|
Saturday vs. Pacific
|In its win against UC San Diego last Saturday, BYU had a season-best .354 hitting percentage. The Cougars are on a four-game winning streak after losing their first two of the season.|
No. T8 UC Irvine
|4-4||Saturday vs. No. T8 UC Santa Barbara|
Monday vs. No. 3 UCLA
|Last week, UCI dropped two 3-2 losses to USC and BYU before picking up their its MPSF victory with a 3-0 sweep of California Baptist.|
No. T8 UC Santa Barbara
|3-1||Saturday vs. No. T8 UC Irvine||The Gauchos entered the top 10 this week following a win against then-No. 1 Stanford, but lost its first game of the season on Tuesday in a sweep at UCLA.|
No. 10 Hawaii
|3-2||Friday vs. UC San Diego|
Sunday vs. UC San Diego
|The Rainbow Warriors enter the weekend following a split of then-No. 4 LBSU last week in Honolulu. Junior opposite Brook Sedore led Hawaii by averaging 5.00 kills per set in the series.|