Loyola is favored over the defending NCAA champions Ohio State to win the MIVA this upcoming season.
Loyola received 45 votes, including four of seven first-place votes, to be ranked No. 1 in the MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Thursday.
The Ramblers earned three more votes than the Buckeyes in the preseason conference poll. Ohio State was ranked No. 2 in the poll and earned the other three first-place votes.
Loyola ended last season ranked in the top 15 coaches poll and lost to Ohio State in the MIVA championship for the second consecutive season. Coach Shane Davis has six starters returning, including Off the Block Preseason All-American outside attacker Mike Bunting.
Ohio State last season won its fifth MIVA regular season title and became the first Midwest team to legal win the NCAA championship. The Buckeyes, though, lost a majority of their starters from that championship team.
Despite being behind the Ramblers in the conference preseason poll, Ohio State was ranked ahead of Loyola in both the national coaches poll and national media poll that were released Wednesday.
Lewis was ranked No. 3 in the conference preseason poll with 39 votes. In addition, Ball State and Quincy finished tied for No. 4 with 21 votes to round-out the top five.
This is the first time in almost 10 years that Quincy has not been ranked in the bottom two of the MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll. Quincy in the postseason last year upset Ball State to advance to the MIVA Tournament semifinals for the first time in program history.
MIVA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Loyola — 45 (4) votes
2. Ohio State — 42 (3) votes
3. Lewis — 39 votes
T-4. Ball State — 21 votes
T-4. Quincy — 21 votes
6. IPFW — 20 votes
7. Grand Canyon — 8 votes
PRESEASON ALL-MIVA TEAM
Setter: Graham McIlvaine, Ball State
Middle attacker: Steven Battagli — Quincy
Middle attacker: Matt Gallik, Lewis
Outside attacker: Mik Berzin — Ohio State
Outside attacker: Mike Bunting, Loyola
Outside attacker: Ivan Matos, IPFW
Outside attacker: Jay Petty, Lewis
Outside attacker: Shawn Sangrey, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Joe Smalzer, Loyola
Libero: Trent Bruns, Grand Canyon
Libero: Roberto Torres-Davis, Lewis