So far this season, there has been much change in the EIVA.
A main change is the make-up of the league, with Juniata, NYU, and Springfield (Ma.), all Division III schools, exiting the conference.
Eight Division I schools remain, making the competition tighter overall.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that Penn State is dominating the conference. By a long shot.
Penn State hasn’t lost a conference match since 2008, and this trend seems to be continuing as the Nittany Lions have swept their first four conference matches.
Penn State still stands tall atop the EIVA, with a large margin separating the Lions from the other top teams in the conference.
Below are the official standings for the EIVA conference, based on the conference record of each team.
As you might expect at this point in the year, this isn’t exactly a true depiction of the hierarchy of EIVA teams.
Many teams have yet to get into the thick of their EIVA schedule, meaning one loss could put them down way farther than they should be (George Mason for example.)
Conversely, a team such as Princeton is sitting in the top three according to the current standings. The Tigers are benefiting from playing two basement-level teams, and by the end of the year will most likely return to the bottom half of the league where they finished last year.
Thus I have compiled Power Rankings for the conference, based on how I believe the conference will truly align. These beliefs are based on how teams have done so far this season (in and out of conference) and could very well change by the end of the year.
But for now, this is the fairest way to settle it. By far.
You're gonna like the way they look, I guarantee it. (Okay maybe not, but still....).
WEEK 7 POWER RANKINGS
1. Penn State…..10-1 (EIVA 4-0)
As previously noted, the Nittany Lions are undefeated in conference play so far this year (4-0) and haven’t even dropped a set through these matches. The talent disparity between Penn State and its conference opponents so far has been extremely noticeable, as the team has played mostly lower-level EIVA teams. Penn State has also shown itself to be an EIVA powerhouse by winning matches against non-EIVA teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 (No. 4 Stanford and No. 8 Ohio State). George Mason will be the team’s first real conference test this weekend. However, once again, I strongly expect Penn State to go undefeated in EIVA play for the fourth straight year.
2. Saint Francis….. 6-7 (3-1)
The Red Flash are a team to look out for in the EIVA this year. Although Saint Francis is under .500 overall, it has challenged itself by playing talented schools across the country early on (including an impressive win over Ball State) and this will certainly pay off in the long run.
3. George Mason….. 4-8 (1-1)
Same story for George Mason, the Patriots have played higher-level schools in their non-conference schedule. This tough non-conference play has resulted in seven losses but also two impressive wins against Ball State and IPFW. Look out for the Patriots to rise the ranks of the standings as their EIVA schedule heats up. A match to watch for this weekend is George Mason vs. Saint Francis, which will certainly shed light onto who the second best team in the conference is.
4. Harvard….. 2-2 (7-2)
Opposed to the previous two teams, the Crimson haven’t had a difficult non-conference schedule whatsoever so far this season, leading to five non-conference wins (only one of which against a Divison I team - Cal Baptist). However, Harvard does have an impressive win against Saint Francis (a 3-0 sweep) which shows that teams 2-4 on these rankings are not far off each other at all.
5. Princeton….. 2-1 (3-3)
Though Princeton finds itself third in the official standings, this is merely due to two easy wins against the bottom two teams in the league. The Tigers were swept by Harvard and face Penn State this Friday (meaning another sweep may be on their horizon….).
Best of the Rest
6. NJIT………………… 6-7 (2-2)
7. Sacred Heart……… 4-10 (1-5)
8. Rutgers-Newark….. 6-6 (1-4)