The defending-EIVA champions Penn State was picked to win its 14th consecutive conference title in the upcoming season.
The Nittany Lions received all but one first-place vote and finished atop the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that the conference released Monday.
Penn State last season advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals and was No. 9 in the final national rankings. In addition, the team returns six starters — including two Off the Block Preseason All-Americans, setter Edgardo Goas and outside attacker Joe Sunder.
The Nittany Lions own the NCAA men’s volleyball record with 13 consecutive conference champions. It also has not lost a conference match since 2008 — the longest active streak in the nation.
Penn State is the only EIVA school to win a NCAA championship, winning the title in 1994 and 2008.
George Mason received the other first-place vote and was ranked second in the preseason poll. The Patriots last season finished the EIVA in second place — losing only to Penn State in the EIVA regular season — but were upset in the EIVA Tournament semifinals.
Sacred Heart, St. Francis and Princeton round-out the top five in the preseason poll.
The EIVA realigned its conference for the upcoming season after three schools left the conference earlier this year to compete for the inaugural NCAA Division III championship in 2012.
The conference eliminated its two-tier division structure that it used in previous years and all remaining eight teams will play in one division. In addition, the EIVA Tournament was reduced from seven teams to only the top four teams at the end of the regular season.
EIVA PRESEASON POLL
1. Penn State — 7(7) points
2. George Mason — 11(1) points
3. Sacred Heart — 21 points
4. St. Francis — 22 points
5. Princeton — 24 points
6. Harvard — 30 points
7. NJIT — 40 points
8. Rutgers-Newark — 41 points
*Parenthesis indicates first-place votes
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