Match of the Week
Third-ranked UCLA is hosted by fourth-ranked Stanford this week. Both teams, 8-2 in MPSF play, are tied with Long Beach, who plays UC San Diego and UC Irvine this week, for control of the the MPSF. While this match takes place on Sunday at 7:00pm Pacific Time, UCLA plays at Pepperdine and Stanford hosts UC Santa Barbara earlier in the week. This match could determine who will be the leader of the MPSF going into week 7.
A more visual comparison of each team’s fundamentals can be seen in the image to the right. Both teams have had similar schedules so far, playing many of the same teams. Stanford’s only losses came on the road to Long Beach and BYU, snapping BYU’s 36 home game win streak while splitting two five-set matches. UCLA’s losses came on the road in Hawaii while splitting matches and at home against UC Irvine in 5. Both teams have played well against other quality teams, so this should be a fun match to watch.
When comparing these teams to the VolleyMetrics Rating Index, their high ratings are very strongly supported. Stanford, No. 4 in the Coaches Poll, finds itself in the top spot in the VMRI. UCLA is third in both the VMRI and AVCA Coaches Poll. While UCLA has the advantage in serving, Stanford a slight edge in every other skill. With home court advantage, Stanford is predicted to win with an expected win percentage of 69% leaving a 31% expected win percentage for UCLA. With both teams playing well and looking to claim the top spot in the MPSF, this match could have large ramifications for both the standings in the MPSF and the AVCA Coaches Poll.
Rally of the Week
This week’s video comes from the match between Long Beach and USC. When looking at the top ten longest rallies, this match had the top three, so all three are featured in the video below.