BYU for the first time in four years will open the season atop the national rankings.
The Cougars received 13 of 20 first-place votes to be ranked No. 1 in the AVCA preseason national coaches poll that was released Tuesday.
BYU enters the upcoming season returning a majority of starters after advancing to the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals last season. In addition, former All-American opposite Ben Patch returns to the team after missing the last two seasons to participate in a church mission.
BYU finished 10 points ahead of No. 2 UC Irvine in the top 15 coaches poll. Despite receiving no first-place votes, the defending MPSF champions UC Irvine edged out the two-time reigning NCAA champions Loyola, which earned six first-place votes and the No. 3 ranking.
Along with these schools, Long Beach State and UCLA following an off-season when both teams added several of the nation’s top incoming recruits round-out the preseason top five.
The 2015 NCAA finalists Lewis was the only other team earn a first-place vote as it finished at No. 8.
The college men’s volleyball season will begin the first week of January and will conclude with the NCAA Tournament in May. Each week during the regular season the AVCA will unveil a new national coaches poll.
2016 PRESEASON AVCA COACHES POLL
1. BYU — 268 (13) points
2. UC Irvine — 258 points
3. Loyola — 236 (6) points
4. Long Beach State — 213 points
5. UCLA — 193 points
6. Ohio State — 182 points
7. Hawai’i — 168 points
8. Lewis — 158 (1) points
9. UC Santa Barbara — 153 points
10. Penn State — 145 points
11. Pepperdine — 126 points
12. USC — 95 points
13. Stanford — 91 points
T-14. Ball State — 35 points
T-14. George Mason — 35 points
Other teams receiving votes: CSUN 19; Pfeiffer 12; IPFW 4