Loyola will begin its attempt at a three-peat as the preseason favorite to win its conference championship.
The two-time defending NCAA champions Loyola gained a majority of first-place votes to finish atop the MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Thursday.
The Ramblers enter the upcoming season with a nation-best three Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American selections — setter Peter Hutz and middle attackers Jeff Jendryk and Nicholas Olson. In addition, Jendryk was voted the 2016 MIVA Preseason Player of the Year on Thursday.
Loyola earned five first-place votes to finish one-point ahead of second-place Ohio State in the annual preseason poll. The Buckeyes received three first-place votes, while Lewis finished in third place and was the only other team to pick-up a first-place vote.
Lewis, Loyola and Ohio State also were among the only schools to have multiple players make the preseason all-conference team.
Head coaches from each of the nine MIVA schools voted to determine the conference preseason rankings.
The MIVA season will begin in January and conclude with the eight-team conference tournament in January.
2016 MIVA Preseason Poll
1. Loyola — 74 (5) points
2. Ohio State — 73 (3) points
3. Lewis — 68 (1) points
4. Ball State — 52 points
5. Grand Canyon — 35 points
6. IPFW — 31 points
7. McKendree — 30 points
8. Lindenwood — 23 points
9. Quincy — 19 points
2016 MIVA Preseason Individual Awards
MIVA Preseason Player of the Year: Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
MIVA Preseason Libero of the Year Luis Bertran, IPFW
2016 Preseason All-MIVA Team
Setter: Scott Fifer, Lewis
Setter: Peter Hutz, Loyola
Opposite: Jack Gamache, Quincy
Opposite: Andrew Sellan, IPFW
Outside attacker: Miles Johnson, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Middle attacker: Bobby Walsh, Lewis
Middle attacker: Matt Walsh, Ball State
Libero: Luis Bertran, IPFW