Clarke Godbold (JohnoMoto Photo/LBSU Athletics)
Clarke Godbold (JohnoMoto Photo/LBSU Athletics)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 2, 2024) – For the third straight week, the college roundup has a new No. 1. Long Beach State earned 23 votes in the latest AVCA poll and is now top of the pack as one of the few remaining unbeaten teams in DI/II. In DIII, Wentworth remains atop the list for another week, while Cal Lutheran and Southern Virginia flip-flop at No. 3 and 4. The college roundup showcases some of the key matches of the week while also highlighting athletes who are part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program.

(rankings source: AVCA.org)

NCAA Division I/II

No. 1 Long Beach State

Long Beach State is your new No. 1 team in the rankings. The Beach is 7-0 and most recently posted a pair of sweeps against No. 10 Pepperdine and Concordia. LBSU is the No. 1 blocking team in DI/II with 3.729 blocks per set.

Match leaders vs. CUI:

  • Kills: Clarke Godbold (8) – No. 5 in the country in kills per set (4.10) and No. 4 in hitting percentage (.480)
  • Blocks: Lazar Bouchkov (8) – AVCA Player of the Week, No. 1 in the nation in blocks per set (1.83)

Next up: Long Beach State will return to the court on Friday night when they face King at home.

USA Volleyball National Team Development Program/LBSU Players

Mason Briggs, who had six digs vs. CUI, was on the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup Final Six team that won gold. He was also part of the 2022 U.S. Men’s National Team and was on the roster for the FIVB World Championship, where the team finished sixth. He is No. 10 in the country in digs per set (2.25).

Clarke Godbold had eight kills, three digs and five total blocks vs. CUI. Clarke was a member of the 2023 Collegiate National Team. He was also twice named to the U.S. Men’s U21 National Training Team and competed at the FIVB U19 World Championship in 2019. He was named Big West Offensive Player of the Week this week. Clarke is tied for No. 4 in the nation in blocks per set (1.5).

Sebastian Rodriguez, who had an ace vs. CUI, was a member of the 2023 Beach U23 National Team and the 2023 Beach Collegiate National Team.

Ben Braun was a member of the 2023 Beach Collegiate National Team.

Dane Hillis was a member of the 2023 U21 National Team that took silver at the Pan Am Cup and the 2022 U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan Am Cup.

Sebastiano Sani was on the 2023 U19 National Team that placed fourth at the 2023 U19 World Championships and took gold at the NORCECA U19 Pan Am Cup.

Chris Connelly was on the U21 National Team in 2023 and 2022 and the U19 National Team in 2021 and 2020.

Island Doty was a member of the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that competed at the FIVB World Championships.

Aiden Knipe had 30 assists and five digs vs. CUI. Aiden was a member of the 2019 Boys Youth National Training Team, as well as the 2018 Boys Youth National Team that earned silver at the NORCECA Continental Championship. He is No. 10 in the country in assists per set (9.71).

No. 2 Grand Canyon

The Lopes moved up to the No. 2 spot this week. CCU is now 7-0 to start the season, most recently defeating Merrimack on Wednesday 3-1 in advance of the Harvard Invitational this weekend.

Match leaders vs. Merrimack:

  • Kills: Jackson Hickman (15) – No. 8 in the country in hitting percentage (.398)
  • Digs: Nicholas Slight (15) – No. 5 in the country in assists per set (10)

Next up: Grand Canyon begins the Harvard Invitational on Friday with a match against The Crimson, followed by a Saturday afternoon match with Daemen. GCU is then off until Feb. 16 when they travel to face BYU.

USA Volleyball National Team Development Team Program/Grand Canyon players

Camden Gianni, who had six kills, three blocks and one dig vs. Merrimack, was on the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup Final Six team that won gold and the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup team that placed fifth. He is No. 4 in the country in aces per set (.750).

Jackson Hickman, who had 15 kills, three digs and one block vs. Merrimack, was on the 2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate National Team and the 2023 Men’s Collegiate National Team.

Rico Wardlow, who had six kills, one ace and two digs vs. Merrimack, was on the 2023 Men’s Collegiate National Team.

Nicholas Slight who had 32 assists, 15 digs and two aces vs. Merrimack, was on the 2023 Men’s Collegiate National Team.

No. 3 Hawaii

Hawaii moves up a slot to No. 3 in the rankings this week. The Rainbow Warriors are 6-1 after defeating Ball State on the road 3-1 last weekend.

Match leaders vs. Ball State:

  • Kills: Tinaishe Ndvazocheva (16)
  • Blocks: Will Patterson (9)

Next up: Hawaii is back home for a weekend matchup with Tusculum and a Wednesday night meeting with No. 4 Stanford.

USA Volleyball National Team Development Program/Hawaii Players

Tread Rosenthal, who had 38 assists, two aces and five digs vs. Ball State, was a member of the 2023 U19 National Team that placed fourth at the U19 World Championships and won gold at the NORCECA U19 Pan Am Cup. He was named MVP and Best Setter at the 2023 Pan Am Cup. It was his second year in a row claiming the Best Setter title after he competed with the U19 team in 2022 that also took home gold at the Pan Am Cup. He is No. 6 in the country in assists per set (9.96).

Chaz Galloway had 10 kills, four assists and four digs vs. Ball State. Chaz was a member of the 2023 Men’s Collegiate National Team.

Kai Rodriguez was on the 2023 Beach U19 National Team and won gold at the 2023 Caribbean Beach Championship with Jackson Herbert.

No. 4 Stanford  

Stanford celebrates (Stanford Athletics)
Stanford celebrates (Stanford Athletics)

Stanford has made its official entry into the top-5 in 2024. The Cardinal has been on a 6-0 tear to start the 2024 season, most recently defeating Ball State 3-1 on Jan. 20.

Match leaders vs. Ball State:

  • Kills: Will Rottman (22) – No. 7 in the country in kills per set (4.04)
  • Digs: Nathan Lietzke (10) – No. 8 in the country in digs per set (2.33)

Next up: Stanford will host CSUN for two matches on Friday and Saturday night before traveling to face No. 3 Hawaii on Feb. 7.

USA Volleyball National Team Development Team Program/Stanford players

Will Rottman, who had 22 kills, six digs and four aces, was a member of the 2021 Men’s National Team that placed fifth at the NORCECA Continental Championship. He was also on the 2020 Men’s Collegiate National Team. He is No. 9 in the country in kills per set (4.04).

Alex Rottman had seven kills, five digs and four blocks vs. Ball State. Alex was a member of the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that earned silver at the Pan Am Cup, as well as the U21 team that competed at the FIVB World Championships

Nathaniel Gates was on the 2023 Men’s Collegiate National Team. He was also on the 2021 Men’s U21 National Training Team and the 2020 Men’s Junior National Training Team.

Theo Snoey, who had two kills vs. Ball State, was a member of the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that competed at the FIVB World Championships.

No. 5 UCLA

After falling to UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25, UCLA has racked up two straight wins on the road against UC San Diego (3-0) and No. 7 UC Irvine (3-2).

Match leaders vs. UCI:

  • Kills: Cooper Robinson (22)
  • Blocks: Guy Genis (4)

Next up: The Bruins will see UCI again on Friday before taking a week off in between the following matches with No. 1 Long Beach State on Feb. 9-10.

USA Volleyball National Team Development Program/UCLA players:

Andrew Rowan had 47 assists, eight digs and one ace vs. UCI. He was a member of the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup Final Six team that won gold and the 2023 NORCECA Pan American Cup team that placed fifth. He was also on the 2022 U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan American Cup.

Ethan Champlin had 13 kills, nine digs and one ace vs. UCI. He was on the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup Final Six team that won gold and the 2023 NORCECA Pan American Cup team that placed fifth. Ethan was also a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team that took home bronze at the Pan American Cup Final Six.

Micah Wong Diallo was a member of the Men’s U21 National Team that took home silver at the 2023 U21 Pan American Cup.

Alex Knight was a member of the 2021 Men’s U21 National training team and the 2020 Men’s Junior National Training Team.

Merrick McHenry had six kills and two aces vs. UCI. Merrick was a member of the 2023 NORCECA Pan American Cup team that placed fifth. He was also on the 2022 NORCECA Pan Am Cup and Pan Am Cup Final Six teams that both earned bronze medals.

Zach Rama had three kills, one assist and two digs vs. UCI. Zach was on the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that took home silver at the 2023 U21 Pan American Cup.

NCAA Division III

No. 1 Wentworth

Wentworth remains No. 1 for the third week in a row with a 7-0 record and 23 votes in this week’s AVCA poll. Wentworth tallied four wins across two days in the Fenway volleyball classic, dropping only one set vs. No. 13 New Paltz on the way to defeating Endicott, New Paltz, Baruch and Nichols Jan. 27-28. Wentworth was then off until a home match with Dean on Thursday, which they won 3-0.

Match leaders vs. Dean:

  • Kills: Jeremy Macek (17)
  • Blocks: Nick Cebula (2)

Next up: Wentworth will head back to the Fenway area for a match with Emmanuel on Tuesday night.

No. 2 Stevens

The Ducks are 7-1 to start the season and holding steady at No. 2 after being ranked No. 1 for the first two AVCA polls of the year. Stevens went 2-0 at the Messiah Invitational with a 3-1 win over Juniata and a 3-0 win over Lancaster Bible.

Match leaders vs. LBC:

  • Kills: Alex Olcott (8)
  • Bocks: Tyler Hoke (4)

Next up: The Ducks will take part in the FrogJump Invitational this weekend with three matches on the docket against Carthage on Friday, then Mount Union and Juniata again on Saturday afternoon.

No. 3 Southern Virginia

The Knights are 6-0, jumping up a spot in this week’s list with wins over Illinois Institute of Technology and Liberty. Southern Virginia has not yet lost a set so far this season.

Match leaders vs. IIT:

  • Kills: Christian Sheaffer (18)
  • Bocks: Kyler Evans (4)

Next up: The Knights had an exhibition match with Liberty on Thursday in advance of two regular matches set to take place this Saturday vs. Averett and Virginia Wesleyan.

No. 4 Cal Lutheran

Cal Lutheran is 9-2 after losing the team’s first match since Jan. 16. An 3-0 loss to the Loras Duhawks drops them one spot in this week’s rankings, but CLU got right back on track with a 3-0 sweep vs. Messiah.

Match leaders vs. Messiah:

  • Kills: Jordan Cooper (14)
  • Digs: Logan Marks (5)

Next up: There is no rest for the Kingsmen in sight as the team continues its road trip in Pennsylvania. CLU has matches vs. Widener, Arcadia and Lancaster Bible all set for this weekend.

No. 5 St. John Fisher

SJF celebration (Hanife Gundogdu-SJFAthletics)
St John Fisher celebrates (Hanife Gundogdu/SJF Athletics)

SJF rounds keeps ahold of the No. 5 spot for the second straight week. The Cardinals are 8-0 after taking care of Penn State Behrend 3-0 on Jan. 27.

Match leaders vs. Penn State Behrend:

  • Kills: Jake Baker (9)
  • Digs: Trace La Robardiere (10)

Next up: The team will have four matches in Buffalo, N.Y., this weekend against Wells, UC Santa Cruz, Buffalo State and Hobart.

NTDP PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

  • Trent Moser – BYU

Trent was on the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that took silver at the Pan Am Cup and the 2022 Men’s U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan Am Cup.

1/27 vs. UCI (L 2-3) 2 digs

 

  •  Kupono Browne – BYU

Kupono was on the 2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate National Team

1/27 vs. UCI (L 2-3) 8 digs, 1 kill

 

  • Nyherowo Omene – Princeton

Nyherowo was on the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that took silver at the Pan Am Cup and the 2022 Men’s U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan Am Cup. Nyherowo was last week’s EIVA Player of the Week. He is No. 9 in the country in hitting percentage (.392).

1/31 vs UCSB (W 3-1) 20 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks

 

  • Ryan Merk – Penn State

Ryan was on the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team that took silver at the Pan Am Cup.

1/28 vs. Ohio State (W 3-2) 8 digs, 4 assists

 

  •  Toby Ezeonu – Penn State

Toby was a member of the 2022 Men’s National Team that earned bronze in the Pan American Cup. He is No. 1 in the country in hitting percentage (.531). Toby was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week this week .

1/28 vs. Ohio State (W 3-2) 10 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 3 blocks

 

  • Wesley Smith – USC

Wesley was a member of the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team. He was also on the 2022 Men’s U21 National Team that won gold at the Pan Am Cup where he was named Best Blocker.

1/31 vs. UC San Diego (L 2-3) 9 kills, 1 ace, 1 dig

 

  • Caleb Blanchette – USC

Caleb was a member of the 2022 and 2023 U19 Beach National Team. He was also on the 2022 Boys U19 Pan Am Cup team that won gold.

1/31 vs. UC San Diego (L 2-3) 40 assists, 7 digs, 3 blocks

 

  • Kyle Paulson – USC

Kyle was a member of the 2023 U23 Beach National Team. He competed at the NORCECA U23 Tour where he placed 4th with Sebastian Rodirguez (LBSU). Kyle was also a member of the 2023 Men’s Beach Collegiate National Team. Kyle is No. 7 in the nation in blocks per set (1.24).

1/31 vs. UC San Diego (L 2-3) 8 kills, 1 ace, 4 digs, 5 blocks

 

  • Dillon Klein – USC

Dillon was a member of the 2023 Men’s U21 National Team.

1/31 vs. UC San Diego (L 2-3) 15 kills, 3 blocks, 5 digs

 

  • Jacob Pasteur – Ohio State

Jacob Pasteur, who did not play vs. Penn State, was a member of the 2023 NORCECA Pan Am Cup team that finished fifth. He was also on the 2022 Pan Am Cup team that finished third and was on the 2022 week one VNL roster. Pasteur was selected as the 2024 MIVA Preseason Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season. He is No. 8 in the country in kills per set (4.03) and No. 10 in the country in aces per set. (.581)

1/28 vs. Penn State (L 2-3) 16 kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks