The defending Conference Carolinas champions will officially open the season as the favorites to repeat.
Pfeiffer was the only school to receive multiple first-place votes as it atop the Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball preseason coaches poll that was released Wednesday.
The Falcons finished last season 17-1 in conference play and won the Conference Carolinas Tournament to earn the program’s first bid to the NCAA Tournament. The team also returns several starters from last year’s championship team, including all-conference outside attacker Sonny Hirini and all-conference middle attacker Fabio Diniz.
Pfeiffer received six first-place votes to earn the top ranking in the conference poll with 77 points — beating second-place Erskine by nine points.
Erskine, Limestone and Barton were the only other schools to receive a first-place vote. Limestone finished the poll in fourth place, while Barton came in at sixth place.
Despite not receiving a first-place voting, both Mount Olive and King were ranked in the poll’s top five.
The Conference Carolinas season begins in January and concludes with the eight-team conference tournament in April.
2016 Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Pfeiffer — 77 (6) points
2. Erskine — 68 (1) points
3. Mount Olive — 65 points
4. Limestone — 55 (1) points
5. King — 54 points
6. Barton — 49 (1) points
7. Belmont Abbey — 44 points
8. North Greenville — 31 points
9. Lees-McRae — 25 points
*Emmanuel note included in this conference poll. The Lions are not eligible for the postseason as the school continues its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II membership.