Three big wins on the road for #WarriorBall21 last weekend at then No. 3 UC Santa Barbara and UH is now 7-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big West. The number one team in the country, both in the AVCA Coaches and Off the Block Media Polls, UH now sits atop the Big West Conference and are just one of two undefeated teams left in men’s collegiate volleyball. For the Rainbow Warriors, the mantra this season is #UnfinishedBusiness. In this week three edition of “Quick Sets,” Tiff Wells will take a look at two storylines each week, either within the UH program or from around the nation. Year four of the Big West Conference season for men’s volleyball continues with its top team on a bye.
By Tiff Wells.
March 18, 2021 – Would I want to see #WarriorBall21 in action every weekend? You bet! But as a men’s volleyball fan, I do enjoy a weekend where UH has bye. Yes it gives a broadcaster a chance to rest a little and prepare for the next matches, but it also gives me more of a chance to watch and look at teams from outside the Big West Conference. There are four series this weekend that I will most definitely be paying attention to. Series that could shape the regular season standings and determine a conference’s regular season winner.
Over in the EIVA, 11th ranked NJIT (11-3 overall, 11-1 EIVA) hosts No. 9 Penn State (12-2, 9-1) tomorrow and Saturday in a battle of one versus two in the league. The Highlanders split with the Nittany Lions last month at Penn State. With both Harvard and Princeton sitting the season out due to health and safety concerns, NJIT looks to be the new kid on the block, trying to take down what has been the league standard for so many years in Penn State. These matches could be critical in determining the league champ and which team gets to host the semifinals AND finals of the conference tournament.
In the MIVA, eighth ranked McKendree (8-1, 7-1) travels to Loyola-Chicago (9-3, 5-3) in a one versus three match-up today and tomorrow. The Bearcats play four of their final six regular season matches on the road.
Heading to the MPSF, No. 2 BYU (10-2, 10-2) heads to fourth-ranked Pepperdine (8-3, 8-3) for a Friday and Saturday series. Pepperdine sits third in league and could make a run at a conference title as they are in the near beginnings of a seven-match homestand. The league-leading Cougars play four straight and six of their final eight on the road, but do hold the wildcard of hosting the conference tournament. Also of note, the MPSF standings and tournament seeds are determined by conference wins.
For the Big West Conference, we finally get to see tenth-ranked Long Beach State and CSUN in action. The Beach and Matadors were cleared for practice just last month due to county health and safety orders. CSUN has a Saturday and Sunday home and home with No. 12 UC Irvine (1-5, 1-1), while The Beach also has a Saturday and Sunday home and home with third-ranked UC Santa Barbara (4-3, 0-2). With No. 1 Hawai`i (7-0, 2-0) atop the standings, league wins are very crucial for teams wanting to keep pace with the Rainbow Warriors.