UC Irvine was not only projected to win the MPSF championship for upcoming season — it the choice by almost unanimous consensus.
The defending-NCAA champion Anteaters received all but two of the 13 first-place votes and 143 points to finish atop the MSPF preseason coaches poll released Tuesday afternoon.
Four starters return to UC Irvine for the 2013 season, including All-American outside attacker Kevin Tillie and All-MPSF outside attacker Jeremy Dejno. The biggest change for the Anteaters from last season comes on the sidelines as David Kniffin was hired to be UC Irvine’s head coach after John Speraw resigned to become the head coach at UCLA.
Speraw and UCLA finished fifth in the preseason poll earning 94 points.
BYU was the only other school to earn a first-place vote. The Cougars earned two first-place votes to finish in second place and nine points behind UC Irvine in the preseason poll.
Along with these schools, Pepperdine finished in third place with 113 points and Stanford came in fourth place with 110 votes to round-out the top five.
Cal Baptist, the newest member of the MPSF, was projected to finish in 10th place during its inaugural MPSF season. The Division II team finished ahead of Pacific, Hawai’i and UC San Diego in the preseason poll.
The MPSF season begins Jan. 4 and will last throughout the regular season. The top eight teams in the conference at the end of the regular season will advance to the MPSF Tournament beginning April 20.
MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll
1. UC Irvine — 143 (11) points
2. BYU — 134 (2) points
3. Pepperdine — 113 points
4. Stanford — 110 points
5. UCLA — 94 points
6. Long Beach State — 85 points
7. USC — 83 points
8. Cal State Northridge — 61 points
9. UC Santa Barbara — 55 points
10. Cal Baptist — 49 points
11. Pacific — 35 points
12. Hawai’i — 30 points
13. UC San Diego — 22 points