Pepperdine will enter the upcoming season as an unprecedented overwhelming favorite to win its first MPSF championship since 2007.
The Waves in the MPSF preseason coaches poll released Thursday received all but one first-place vote and set the conference record for largest point margin between the top two teams.
Pepperdine finished the conference poll 23 points ahead of second-place UC Santa Barbara — beating the previous MPSF preseason poll record for largest gap between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams by 11 points.
Pepperdine was the only school in the nation to have multiple players earn Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. First-Team Preseason All-American honors. In addition, the Waves return a majority of its starters after winning a share of the MPSF regular season championship last season and narrowly missing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
This is also the second consecutive day that Pepperdine has finished atop a preseason poll. Pepperdine beat out the defending NCAA champions Loyola for the No. 1 ranking in the AVCA preseason coaches poll released Wednesday.
UCLA was the only team besides Pepperdine to receive a first-place vote and finished at No. 4 in the poll. In addition, USC was ranked No. 3 and UC Irvine came in at No. 5 to round-out the top five.
The two-time defending MPSF champions BYU were ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll. The Cougars this season will be replacing outside attacker Taylor Sander, a four-time All-American and 2014 National Player of the Year who graduated last season.
The MPSF regular season begins in January and concludes with the eight-team MPSF Tournament in April.
MPSF PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Pepperdine — 121 (11) points
2. UC Santa Barbara — 98 points
3. USC — 92 points
4. UCLA — 86 (1) points
5. UC Irvine — 83 points
6. BYU — 77 points
7. Hawai’i — 63 points
8. Cal State Northridge — 50 points
9. Stanford — 46 points
10. Long Beach State — 44 points
11. Cal Baptist — 19 points
12. UC San Diego — 13 points